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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Science & Engineering


Laurel’s Upper School science curriculum is designed to challenge each girl and encourage her individual growth. Thus the department offers an array of academic opportunities ranging from laboratory techniques in modern biology to theoretical methods in physics; from general-interest electives to AP preparation in four different disciplines. Laurel Upper School students are required to complete three years of science, including courses in biology (usually taken in Ninth Grade) and chemistry (usually taken in Tenth Grade); four years are recommended.

Core course offerings are divided between two parallel tracks: college preparatory and honors. The college preparatory track offers comprehensive foundational preparation for success in college-level biology, chemistry and physics. Honors courses offer college-level study; these courses generally proceed at a faster rate, require greater mathematical dexterity and are more open-ended than their college prep counterparts. All courses in the science curriculum require students to work independently on problem-solving assessments and collaboratively on lab reports.

AP courses are designed to model as closely as possible the corresponding educational experiences at the university level, both in content and in organizational expectations. Thus they are offered as a second year experience. AP courses in Chemistry and Physics are offered every year.

From recent discoveries in the area of human evolution to the geometric growth of understanding at the molecular level, it is impossible to keep up with all the advances in life sciences today. The Biology course provides a framework -- using the concepts of evolution by natural selection and thermodynamics -- that allows each student to identify patterns and make predictions about events in the natural world. An important component of the course is a comprehensive study of evolutionary theory at all levels. Laboratory experiences range from field studies of local ecology on the Butler Campus to restriction enzyme digests for DNA fingerprinting and other applications of biotechnology.

Honors Biology
The Honors Biology course uses critical thinking, quantitative reasoning, analytical discussion, collaboration and inquiry to support students’ exploration of the living world. Evolution and the flow of matter and energy in living systems provide a framework that students use to understand course concepts. Girls investigate how and why life changes over time, interactions in ecosystems, the roles of biological molecules in organisms, the nature of the cell, ways that organisms obtain and use energy, genetics, biotechnology and human physiology. Inquiry takes many forms in the classroom, including developing questions to investigate in the laboratory, collecting and sharing field data at our Butler Campus, analyzing accounts of scientific research, discussing case studies, dissecting organisms and hosting classroom debates about bioethics and genetic engineering. Assessments give girls the opportunity to apply their understanding both qualitatively and quantitatively.
Prerequisite: completion of Algebra I and recommendation of the department or successful completion of a placement test

AP Biology
AP Biology is a challenging course, equivalent to a two-semester college introductory biology course. Throughout the year, girls focus on four core ideas that are central to biology and the enduring, conceptual understandings and content that supports them. Girls spend less time on factual recall and more time on inquiry-based learning of essential concepts, which helps them to develop the reasoning skills necessary to engage in the practices of science explored in the course. With more than 25% of class time devoted to hands-on laboratory work, girls develop advanced inquiry and reasoning skills, like designing a plan for collecting data, analyzing data, applying mathematical routines and connecting concepts in and across domains. Students are expected to sit for the AP Biology examination.
Prerequisite: completion of a course in Chemistry and recommendation of the department
*NOTE: this course will only run with sufficient enrollment. If this course does not run, students who signed up for it will be encouraged to take another advanced science course or AP Environmental Science

This focused introduction to the behavior of atoms, molecules and ions allows students to gain a broad understanding of the principles governing chemical interactions. Students are encouraged to connect and apply the microscopic subject matter to their own macroscopic world. Subjects explored include the breadth of chemistry including stoichiometry, atomic structure, periodicity, thermochemistry and chemical interactions. Both in the classroom and in the laboratory students explore the ways in which chemistry can impact and affect their daily lives. Students gain the ability to safely work with a variety of chemicals and conduct quantitative analysis including titration and gravimetric methods.
Prerequisite: completion of a biology course and Algebra I

Honors Chemistry
This accelerated course for highly motivated students covers the topics of the Chemistry course in a comprehensive manner and with greater depth and breadth. Concepts such as the quantum-mechanical model, bonding, thermodynamics and equilibrium are covered in significant detail. Students perform extensive laboratory work with the emphasis on experiential learning, collaboration and the application of chemistry to the modern world. Each unit of study also incorporates specific content and skills that pertain to real world applications. Outstanding personal initiative and organizational skill are expected from students enrolling in Honors Chemistry.
Prerequisite: completion of a biology course and concurrent or prior enrollment in Algebra II and recommendation of the department

AP Chemistry
AP Chemistry is structured around the six big ideas articulated in the AP Chemistry curriculum framework provided by the College Board, with special emphasis on the seven science practices, which capture important aspects of the work in which scientists engage. Learning objectives combine content with experiential learning and critical thinking skills. The primary approach employed is Guided Inquiry, through which students are encouraged to formulate their own scientific questions and to develop and test potential solutions, resulting in deep and enduring understanding of chemical principles.
Prerequisite: completion of a chemistry course and recommendation of the department

Students learn physics in the manner that Newton and Galileo learned physics: through observation and modeling. Modeling is a framework for teaching physics that encourages students to question their understanding of the nature of motion and to build new models of understanding. Students are required to develop their own experiments, with guidance, to come to a definition of the nature of physical motion phenomena. Students develop models for motion, forces, energy and momentum in addition to developing proficiency in problem solving and graphical and analytical techniques.
Prerequisites: completion of a courses in chemistry and Algebra II and concurrent enrollment in a subsequent math course

Honors Physics
This accelerated first-year course in physics is intended for students considering scientific studies in college. Students develop graphical and mathematical models for motion, forces, energy, electricity and optics in the same manner as their scientific forebearers. The class works collaboratively while actively taking part in the scientific process, and students are responsible for presenting and defending their findings to one another. Through this experience, students learn to design experiments, to account for and minimize uncertainty and to interpret data. Outstanding personal initiative and organizational skill are expected from students enrolling in Honors Physics.
Prerequisite: completion of a course in chemistry, prior or concurrent enrollment in Honors Precalculus or College Preparatory Calculus, and recommendation of the department

AP Physics C (Mechanics)
AP Physics is the equivalent of a college-level preparation in calculus-based Newtonian mechanics. As a second-year course in physics, this class builds upon students’ experimental and critical thinking skills while greatly expanding their exposure to the mathematical analysis of physical phenomena. The laboratory experience requires students to develop and design experimental procedures to investigate the natural world. Additional topics in modern physics (special relativity, particle physics and/or quantum physics) are examined as time allows.
Prerequisite: completion of a physics course, prior or concurrent enrollment in AP Calculus, and recommendation of the department

Computer Science and Technology
The ubiquity of computers and technology cannot be overstated. Apps schedule our appointments, manage our finances and connect us with friends. Electronics have been integrated into our cars, our phones and, soon, our clothing. Students will gain an introduction to these two fields by exploring both software and hardware. Students will learn the fundamentals of programming via Python and introductory electronics through hands-on work. Projects explore codes and ciphers, sound-sensing circuits, interactive fiction and data analysis. This year-long course is intended for students interested in using computer programming and electronics in their further studies in engineering, science or mathematics.

Principles of Engineering
Engineers are designers of the modern world; the technological works they create drive society forward. In this class, students learn and practice the engineering design process used by professional engineers. Through active problem solving in the context of specific case studies, this year-long course addresses concepts and skills relevant to a career in engineering. Students experience the key phases of engineering design and learn to view design as an iterative process. Students receive an orientation to the various disciplines within engineering and practice problem-solving skills. Specific case study topics include structural integrity and bridge building, 3D modeling and cost analysis.
Topics for the second semester of study include engineering ethics, heat transfer and home heating, energy transmission and alternative energy research with specific case studies where students build solar cars and DC motors. A culminating capstone project asks students to apply much of what they have learned in the course.

Earth Science and Field Studies (first semester, .5 credit)
Ancient oceans and massive glaciers carved the land we live and learn on, and the resources these events yielded are an economic boon to our region. Students will study the deep history of the northeast Ohio region and the geologic forces that shaped it. We will investigate the formation of the Marcellus Shale, sources of ground water, the coasts of Lake Erie, the rivers of the region and the environmental impacts our use of resources has. Students will engage in first hand observations in the field to understand much of these impacts. Therefore, the class has a significant field studies requirement that will take students away from school, including at least one multi-day trip. Students registering for this course are obligating themselves to the field studies component.

Astronomy (second semester, .5 credit)
Astronomy challenges girls to use their senses, their brains and a few instruments to learn about the universe and their place within it. Girls study astronomy’s rich history and its impact on various cultures, examining the ways technological advances have impacted our understanding of the solar system, the birth and fate of stars and the formation and evolution of the universe. Students interpret data and images from NASA missions and do their own investigation: modeling the motions of celestial objects, exploring the nature of light and atoms and examining the impact of meteorites. Students research how new telescopes and instruments help us to answer fundamental questions about the universe, including star types and life cycles, neutron stars, pulsars, quasars, dark matter, black hole formation and theories of the origin of the universe.
Prerequisites: completion of courses in biology and chemistry

AP Environmental Science
Environmental Science provides girls with the scientific principles, concepts and methods to understand the interrelationships of the natural world and to identify, analyze and potentially solve or prevent environmental problems. Interdisciplinary and with an emphasis on quantitative reasoning and data interpretation, this course challenges girls to develop their understanding of the process of science, the energy conversions that underlie ecological processes, the interconnectedness of Earth’s systems, mankind’s role in altering the environment, the socio-cultural context of environmental problems and the importance of developing sustainable practices.
Prerequisite: completion of a course in biology and a course in chemistry and recommendation of the department
*NOTE: this course will only run at Laurel School with sufficient enrollment. If sufficient enrollment is not met, students will be able to take the OSH AP Environmental Science course

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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