Upper School Calendar
  • January 2019
    • SatJan26 Upper School Dance 8:00 PM to 11:00 PMLyman
  • February 2019
    • ThuFeb07 Upper School Parent/Advisor Conferences 3:30 PM to 7:00 PM
    • FriFeb08 Onee Bergfeld Lowe '82 Chapel 10:20 AMLyman

The 2019 winners of the Scholastic Art & Writing Competition have recently been named by the Cleveland Institute of Art and 14 Laurel students received 16 honors in the visual arts and writing categories. Each year, the Alliance partners with more than 100 visual arts and literary arts organizations across the country to bring the Scholastic Awards to local communities. Open to students in Grades 7-12, applicants can submit in 29 different categories of art and writing.

Students submitted more than 350,000 works of art and writing in this year’s competition. Award-winning work best exemplifies originality, technical skill, and the emergence of a personal voice or vision. Students receiving Gold Keys, Silver Keys, Honorable Mentions, or American Visions & Voices Nominations are celebrated within their communities through local exhibitions and ceremonies. Congratulations to the following Laurel students who were recognized:


Gold Keys:

  • Celeste Bohan '19, Photography
  • Jordyn Goldstein '20, Painting
  • Linzy Malcolm '20, Photography (pictured, above left)

Silver Keys:

  • Caroline Abbey '19, Photography
  • Victoria Hagen '20, Photography (pictured, above right)

Honorable Mentions:

  • Caroline Abbey '19, Photography
  • Rachel Estafanous '19, Photography
  • Mei Hashimoto '20, Mixed Media
  • Erin Thomas ’22, Painting 


Gold Keys:

  • Melanie Nance '19, Poetry
  • Jacqueline Marshall '21, Poetry

Silver Key:

  • Olivia Savona '19, Critical Essay
  • Nadia Ibrahim '21 (awarded two Silver Keys), Poetry

Honorable Mention:

  • Emi Cummings '20, Personal Essay/Memoir
  • Nadia Ibrahim '21, Flash Fiction
  • Barbara Yang '21, Critical Essay 
Ria Desai '19 was recently featured as an unsung hero in the Chagrin Valley Times for her local volunteer work and bone density research, which she presented at a recent American College of Rheumatology conference. In the article Ria explains that when a serious car accident sidelined her tennis season, she "Started working more with an organization called The Up Side of Downs that offers Buddy Up Tennis clinics to children with Down Syndrome in Northeast Ohio. She also increased her hours volunteering with Inner City Tennis Clinics, a summer camp for Cleveland children that incorporates tennis, literacy, wellness, poetry and fitness." 
In addition, Ria launched a STEM-based research project utilizing her Dream. Dare. Do. (D3) period time that looked at the relationship between physical exertion and bone density in girls. She states that, "It came from my mom always telling me to drink milk because of bone issues and a lack of calcium. And then, though I wasn’t playing at the time, I was still an athlete, so I combined those two ideas and developed the project." Ria is now working on turning the project into a manuscript and hopes that it gets accepted into a journal and paper. She also hopes to expand the study to include more ages as well as boys. Click here to read the full story.
On October 10, several members of the Laurel community, including 12 alumnae, spent the afternoon with students in Grades K-8 leading activities focused on financial literacy and entrepreneurship. The goal was to empower and spark entrepreneurial spirit in the students. Activities were designed by VentureLab and incorporated using the girls' resourcefulness, problem-solving skills and curiosity. Many of the activities focused on idea generation, creating a business model, design thinking and pitching. The Sun Press and Sun Messenger included a recap of this fun and engaging afternoon on their front pages.
Primary School teachers Shannon Lukz and Emily Felderman were both featured, along with several Grade Four students, in a recent Girls in STEM segment that aired on WKYC Channel 3. Shannon and Emily have been instrumental in designing and leading a month-long immersion learning unit at Laurel's Butler Campus called "Power & Purpose," which focuses heavily on science, math and the many components of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) learning. Throughout the unit students surveyed the land and created topography maps, tested the water quality of Griswald Creek, and learned all about the mechanics of a bike, which they used as their main mode of transportation for the month. WKYC visited Butler on the final day of the unit to capture the work of the students, who designed and built the "Adventure Rivulet Bridge," which is now in use at Butler. Click here to watch the full story.

Maggie Hilkert '19 was featured in Currents Magazine highlighting her love for finance, which she discovered through her participation in Laurel's Capstone Experience. In her Sophomore year, Maggie traveled to San Francisco and after meeting a Laurel alumna who is a venture capitalist, stated that, "She had the coolest job I ever saw. I loved talking to her. I was fascinated with her job and that helped me narrow that aspect of my project." As Maggie progressed with her Capstone Experience, she "interviewed venture capitalists around the country, shadowed Cleveland-area business owners, interned at an equity research firm, and decided to start an Investment Committee at Laurel." The article goes on to say that, "Earlier this month, Maggie moderated a panel of women in finance as part of Laurel's Day of the Girl celebration which, this year, had a theme of financial literacy." 

Click here to read the full story.

The Cleveland Jewish News has named Jami Morris '21 as its Player of the Week. Jami earned the honors after finishing in a tie for first place at the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division II state girls golf tournament October 12-13 at The Ohio State University Golf Club’s Gray Course in Columbus. She shot a 73-74 for a total of 147, plus-7, tying for lowest score. In the article, Jami said she wasn’t surprised she performed so well in the tournament. "I think I worked extremely hard this past summer. I feel that all paid off and I hope to continue next year, and the year after, and hopefully in college. Except on the first day, I didn’t even think I was playing in the state tournament. Walking off the 18th green, I thought, 'I’m happy with how I played, I could have played better, but there’s always next year.'" 

Laurel golf coach Marti Hardy said she was impressed with Morris’s performance, but she wasn’t surprised. "I’ve watched her all along work hard to get where she has. I think the harder thing is, when you play at states, you’re not necessarily playing with the players that are scoring what you’ve been scoring the last day or so. It’s an unknown, they’re out there somewhere on the course playing. Maybe it’s a good thing that you don’t know, but I watched Jami just keep it all together really well and not doubt herself. I saw her hit two phenomenal shots that two golf pros who were near me said, 'she’s the real deal, she really knows how to play this game,' and it’s true."

Click here to read the full story.



Congratulations to these seven members of Laurel's class of 2019 who have received Letters of Commendation in recognition of their outstanding academic promise, based on their Preliminary Scholastic Achievement Test scores. More than 1.6 million juniors took the PSAT in 2017. Catherine Amaddio, Grace Cousens, Ria Desai, Meredith Hilkert, Cameron Kaye, Simran Surtani, and Daania Tahir all scored in the top 50,000 of those participants.

Early childhood education is just as rewarding for educators as it is for students. This was the theme in a recent Cleveland Jewish News article that featured interview excerpts from Laurel Prekindergarten teacher Kathryn Marshall. In the story Kathryn states that, "Children keep me in the moment and help me rediscover the joy of being in the moment. I get to have the same awe with children right there with them." She goes on to explain that she is "Always trying to find new, innovative ways to teach children. The sense of joy and wonder of living in the moment also translates into my life." Click here to read the full story, including the sage advice Kathryn would give her younger self.
Jami Morris '21, who competed in the Drive, Chip & Putt National Finals in Augusta earlier this year, recently conducted a Q&A with Cleveland Magazine where she talked golf, fashion, the perfect miniature golf hole design and her hobbies off the golf course. Her story was featured in the magazine's Private School Special Section. When asked what her favorite golf attire is she replied "I have these crazy bright pink shorts. If I had 20 pairs, I would wear them every day. They brighten my game and encourage me to be the best golfer I can be." She also touched on equality in her interview, stating that "Women should be able to play with the men, on the same courses and with the same yardages. That would be a big step up for women's golf, and we will rise to the challenge." 

Click here to read her full interview.  

Jackson to work together with Ann V. Klotz and Board members to maintain the Laurel School Mission

SHAKER HEIGHTS, OH – (August 22, 2018) Laurel School is pleased to announce Lynnette Jackson ’93 as the new Chair of the Board of Trustees. Jackson, a Relationship Manager and Vice President at Key Private Bank, has been on the Board since 2012, most recently serving as Vice Chair. Prior to joining the Board of Trustees, Jackson held the role of Laurel Alumnae Board President from 2009-2012.

“It is both an honor and a privilege to serve in this role as Board Chair,” said Lynnette Jackson. “It is an opportunity to give back to my alma mater who, through academic rigor, enriching experiences and leadership opportunities, has inspired me and my family to dream, dare and do. As Laurel embarks on its 125th Birthday, the work of this Board will certainly shape the next 25-50 years of the school.”

In her Relationship Manager role at Key Private Bank, Jackson delivers integrated strategies and forward-thinking, objective advice to her clients. These skills will continue to serve her well in her new role as Board Chair where Jackson will work closely with Laurel Headmistress Ann V. Klotz and other Board members to continue to set and maintain a vision and strategy for the school. Together, they will ensure sound financial management, appropriate stewardship of resources, and accountability towards goals.

“I am so pleased to be working hand-in-hand with Lynnette and the entire Board of Trustees to continue living Laurel’s mission and building on our long-term vision,” said Ann V. Klotz, Laurel Headmistress. “The Board has been instrumental in the development of our Strategic Roadmap and it is an exciting time for us as we embark on our next goal. I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish together.”

Other updates to the Board include Kristine Swails Bryan ’80, who has been named Vice Chair. Bryan is an Equity Research Consultant with Private Harbour Investment Management, LLC, and has been a member of the Board since 2015, most recently serving as Chair of the Investment Committee. Megan Lum Mehalko ’83, Chaundra King Monday ’95, and Suzanne Schulze Taylor ’81, have all been newly elected to the Board with three-year terms commencing June 2018.


Founded in 1896, Laurel School is a nationally recognized school for girls in Kindergarten through Grade 12, with a coeducational Pre-Primary School. Its mission is “to inspire each girl to fulfill her promise and to better the world.”


SARAH MILLER, PR MANAGER, 713.578.0281, sMiller@LaurelSchool.org

KATE FLOYD, DIRECTOR OF MARKETING, 216.455.0152, kFloyd@LaurelSchool.org

  • January 2019
    • MonJan21 Martin Luther King Jr. Day: NO CLASSES - OFFICES CLOSED
    • FriJan25 Middle School CTP-4 (ERB) Meeting 8:15 AM to 9:00 AM
    • SatJan26 Upper School Dance 8:00 PM to 11:00 PMLyman
    • MonJan28 Parenting Your Adolescent Daughter (for MS Parents) 7:00 PMLyman
    • TueJan29 Middle School CTP-4 (ERBs)
    • WedJan30 Middle School CTP-4 (ERBs)
    • ThuJan31 Middle School CTP-4 (ERBs)
  • February 2019
    • SatFeb02 Groundhog Day
    • TueFeb05 Chinese New Year
    • WedFeb06 Global School Play Day
    • ThuFeb07 Upper School Parent/Advisor Conferences 3:30 PM to 7:00 PM
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Students are required to take three years of History; they must take World History in Ninth Grade and U.S. History or AP U.S. History in Tenth Grade. For the Eleventh and Twelfth Grade history studies, they may choose any combination of semester courses or a full-year course to meet the graduation requirement.

Modern World History
This course surveys major events in world history from the Industrial Revolution to the present. Using essential questions to guide them, students hone critical thinking and analytical skills as they assess the impact of historical events and ideas, while making significant connections to contemporary society. Classes vary from day to day and include cooperative activities, primary source analysis, current event discussions, debates, presentations, documentary clips, art history, PowerPoints, and literary analysis. Emphasis is placed on helping students develop sound research skills.

United States History
This course surveys American history from the pre-Revolutionary era to the current day and focuses on overarching themes, essential questions and historical analysis. Students develop important skills in historical thinking and research and consider essential questions such as “What is the meaning of the American Dream?” Students complete several projects during the year. For their National History Day projects, students create exhibits, documentaries and performances around a theme such as “Leadership and Legacy.” Students hone their research skills by writing a short research paper on an historical figure from the Civil War era. In the Roundtable assignment, students assume the persona of an early twentieth century historical figure and debate issues such as the proper role of government in a democratic society.

AP U.S. History
APUSH is a yearlong survey of U.S. History from its indigenous roots in Native American culture and their encounter with peoples from Europe and Africa to its multicultural present in the 21st century. The course focuses on two foundational essential questions: “Who counts as an American and what has that meant to generations of Americans?” and “What is the place of freedom in the American scheme of values and how have those understandings shaped the course of American history?” Based on a close reading of many voices through primary documents and a careful study of a demanding college textbook, students will master the core content and develop a deeper understanding of the contested scholarly interpretations of the meaning and significance of the major issues in American history. This course places especially heavy emphasis in developing the students’ skills of critical reading and analytical writing at the college level.

AP Art History
In this course, students study works of architecture, sculpture, and painting from Prehistory through the 21st century and consider the function and power of art in a variety of societies and religions from around the world. Students acquire the tools to examine a work of art, the vocabulary and analytic methods with which to discuss it, and the historical context in which it was created. Students also learn about the artistic process, and consider the role of medium and the artist in stylistic development. Assessments throughout the year include weekly quizzes, unit exams, essays, research projects on individual works of art, and a multi-modal Thematic Museum project.

KAP European History
The KAP European History course is a rigorous, college-level course for students who want to explore European history in depth. The course begins with a close look at Machiavelli’s, The Prince, which sets the stage for an examination of the uses and abuses of power in the modern world, especially the 20th century. This is a reading-intensive course that also emphasizes essay writing, culminating in a major research essay in the spring. This is a newly revised course for the 2017-18 academic year that will focus on close reading of texts and will not be geared towards preparation for the AP Exam.
Prerequisite: departmental recommendation and acceptance of the student’s KAP application by the US Office and Kenyon College

American Government and Policy
With the election of 2016, politics and government in America took a surprising new direction. Donald Trump--one of the unlikeliest candidates ever to run for president--was elected. What new policies will Trump pursue? What effect will this have on our futures? To answer questions like these, we need to understand the structure, meaning, and purpose of government. We need to become knowledgeable about the institutions, branches, powers, and procedures of the government. This course will provide you with a roadmap by which to follow and comprehend the challenges and realities facing our society. In addition, we will explore some of the key issues that divide our country. This is the policy part of the course. Some of the domestic and foreign policy issues we will examine will include: inequality in America and the persistence of poverty in the wealthiest nation in the world; the fairness of the criminal justice system, including policing and incarceration; the effects of the decades old “war on drugs” and the recent shift in popular views; the extent of the government’s power to fight terrorism and the tension with our right to privacy; is there a right to health care and who should provide it? Is immigration, on balance good for America, and how should we approach the issue of undocumented residents? What role should the U.S. have in the world? How should we act toward other countries, especially China, Russia, Europe, and the Mideast? How serious is the issue of global climate change and what should the U.S. do to deal with it? The course will examine these issues through a series of class discussions, debates, videos, and speakers. Work in the course will culminate with a formal research/position paper based on an issue selected by each student. Research will require interviews with experts on the student’s chosen topic.

The Roots of African American History (second semester, .5 credit)
This elective provides an introduction to African American History, focusing on the ways in which black Americans shaped culture, politics, and art between 1820 and the present. Prominent themes include the world African American made as enslaved people, the end of the Civil War and the beginning of Reconstruction, Jim Crow era policies and practices, African American urbanization and migration, the Civil Rights movement (1954-present), and the thought and leadership of Booker T. Washington, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, W.E.B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, Angela Davis, Malcolm X and bell hooks (among others).

South Africa: From Apartheid to Democracy (offered each semester, .5 credit)
This interdisciplinary course explores the complicated history and diverse culture of South Africa. Students deduce the causes and consequences of the institutionalized segregation of races that defined much of 20th-century South Africa, examining apartheid’s origin, its impact on both perpetrators and victims and the manner by which it was dismantled by anti-apartheid forces. A variety of sources, approaches and media—including film clips, contemporary music, works of art, guest speakers, debates and cooperative activities—foster student engagement and interest. Even as they grapple with the moral and ethical issues of the period, students also hone their writing and critical thinking skills. Presentations on the international response to apartheid and a podcast on a contemporary issue in South Africa offer opportunities for collaboration and authentic audience, while a document-based paper requires students to analyze primary sources and to develop an analytical thesis supported by effective evidence.

Themes in History: Money and Revolutions (first semester, .5 credit)
Using a wide variety of sources (historical sources, literature, art, music, popular culture), this course uses as focal points two prominent themes of human history: money and revolution. Students examine how money and revolution impact history and work to draw connections between the themes as they participate in class discussions, examine current events, contribute to group work and complete assessments and a research project. The themes drive this course, not a historical era; therefore, the coursework focuses on relevant, specific moments across the canvas of history. Combining the use of sources with contextual research, students work to understand how money and revolution shaped particular events as well as influenced the unfolding of history into the modern day.

Women in the World (first semester, .5 credit)
This elective explores gender (namely femininity) across cultures and nations, focusing on 1945 to the present. We will address feminism, womanism, and articulations of gender activism in the U.S. and throughout the world. Prominent themes include the body and autonomy/oppression, economic disparity, global capitalism and its effect on women, and women as agents of political resistance and power. Finally, students taking Women in the World will conduct primary and secondary source research on a notable woman who live(d/s) and work(ed/s) outside of the U.S.

The World’s Religions (second semester, .5 credit)
After offering a broad overview of the history of seven major religions or belief systems—Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Islam, Judaism and Christianity—this course encourages students to examine how religions (and the institutions, philosophies and expectations therein) impact societies and individuals throughout history. Using class discussions, research, analytical writing and personal reflection, this course emphasizes the comparative themes and differences that can be gleaned from a historical lens, the use of which can also give them greater insight into their own religious or spiritual backgrounds and practices. Students examine primary and secondary sources as well as current events to gain a greater understanding of how religions and belief systems shape the world.

An All-Girls’ Independent College Preparatory School for Grades K-12 and Coed Pre-Primary
Lyman Campus Butler Campus

Laurel's Mission Statement:

To inspire each girl to
fulfill her promise and
to better the world. 


Pre-Primary & Primary School
Open House

Saturday, January 12, 2019
9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Lyman Campus

More information


"Laurel transforms students into strong women through an exemplary education and an atmosphere built on growth." Caitlin Cronin '16

"During my time at Laurel, I developed the mental aspect of my tennis game -- staying focused and staying in every match. The support that I've gotten from my team and my coaches has really helped me to do that." Danielle Buchinsky '15

"Laurel encourages its girls to try things they think they can do, things they don't think they can do, and even things they never thought about doing." Jazlynn Baker '16

"Laurel is a place where almost every girl can find a home. The community here is extremely accepting and diverse, and every student has her own ideas and opinions that are valued by everyone."Rebecca Brichacek '16

"Confident, independent, open-minded, fearless. That's what comes to mind when I think of what Laurel has given to my daughters." Laurel Parent


“The greatest gift Laurel gave me was the gift of lifelong friendships with classmates, teachers and parents of classmates. We have a special bond based on our shared experiences.” 
Betsy Sweeney Backes ‘78

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