Laurel students are active learners with a high level of commitment to their studies and the ability to apply their best efforts within the classroom and beyond. The school is committed to supporting each student’s academic growth and healthy social development.
Laurel teachers recognize that students vary in their learning profiles, interests and readiness. In order to reach all learners, our teachers instruct using multiple modalities and adjust how and what they teach so that each student thrives. At all grade levels, opportunities for support and enrichment occur each day. Morning meetings, advisories, assemblies, class discussions, and individual and small-group instruction help students to develop metacognitive skills and self-confidence. In order to stretch each student’s learning, teachers and learning specialists provide accommodations, interventions and enrichment when needed.
The Learning Enhancement Team includes learning specialists, psychologists, teachers and administrators. Learning Enhancement team members support students in a variety of ways. Learning specialists and teachers work with individual students and small groups outside of the classroom, and also help students within the classroom setting. The Learning Enhancement team collaborates with content-area and specialist teachers and parents so that skills can be practiced and reinforced across settings.
The Learning Enhancement Team meets regularly with grade-level teachers. When concerns are raised about a child’s academic progress, a Learning Enhancement team member contacts teachers and parents to exchange information and determine next steps. Often, additional data is gathered through classroom observations, parent and teacher questionnaires, and/or academic screening measures. Team members share information with parents and discuss recommendations, which might include short-term interventions provided by the classroom teacher and/or learning specialist, progress-monitoring screenings, and/or further testing or consultation with community professionals.
It is assumed that every student who is enrolled at Laurel School is able to meet the school's academic expectations. Therefore, we will make reasonable accommodations, but do not change the academic standards for girls on learning or behavior plans.
The psychologists offer the following services to support the academic and personal growth of Laurel students:
- Brief individual counseling, with the consent of the parent or guardian, to assist with school adjustment or to support the efforts of an outside therapist
- Emergency intervention with an individual or group of students as the need arises
- Small-group or classroom work to support healthy personal growth and development
- Interpretation of outside evaluations for implementation within the school
- Observation of specific students, with the consent of the parent or guardian
- Maintenance of confidential individual testing records
- Communication with outside professionals to support the progress of students within the school
- Consultation and resource sharing with faculty, staff and parents to support the growth and development of the students
Standardized testing takes place at various times throughout a student’s career. If a student has a documented disability and an accommodation plan at Laurel, then the learning specialist or in-house psychologist will discuss testing accommodations with parents.
The psychologists administer limited, individual testing, with the written consent of the parent or guardian, when specific information will assist with academic planning. Tests are selected in accordance with the needs of the individual student.
An outside referral will be recommended if a more extensive assessment is warranted. Individual psychological/educational assessments can be arranged through the Shaker Heights City School District or through a psychologist in private practice. To avoid conflicts of interest, Laurel School psychologists do not evaluate students for diagnostic purposes; therefore, full evaluations must be conducted by an outside specialist.
When a student requires academic support beyond that which Laurel provides, a Learning Enhancement Team member may suggest that the family hire a tutor to work with their daughter. This financial arrangement is between the parents and the tutor, but if the student has time during the school day to meet with her tutor, this can be arranged after the tutor has passed a personnel screening.
If parents wish to hire a Laurel teacher to tutor their daughter, faculty guidelines state that Laurel classroom teachers are not permitted to tutor for financial compensation any student currently in their classes or, during the summer, any student in the class she/he has just finished teaching.