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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Resilience & Wellness

Laurel School Upper School Resilience and Wellness


In their classes, girls are encouraged to employ a growth mindset as they work toward mastery; they encounter opportunities to develop and practice creativity daily; and they work with faculty and advisors to discover passions and cultivate purpose. These relationships, along with the ones they develop with their peers, lower stress levels and contribute to higher achievement. The coursework below allows girls to practice daily self-care and wellness.

In their Lifeskills class, students develop the skills necessary for overall well-being, demonstrating their growth in these skills through class discussion, written responses to topics and oral presentations. Students identify and define their own personal values, and they use goal-setting and planning to create strategies that will serve them as they make decisions, solve problems, evaluate information and deal with media and peer pressure. Students learn practical skills and think critically about topics including nutrition, relationships, decision-making, psychological and physical well-being, personal safety and contributing to their communities. Lifeskills also includes the first of three speech curricular modules through which students develop proficiency, efficacy, and experience with public speaking, readying them to give their Senior Speech. Students’ success in the course results in a growing ability to build, protect and advocate for their own resilience and well-being and to make positive contributions to their communities. This course satisfies the Health requirement standards for graduation in the state of Ohio and meets the National Sexuality Education Standards.

Sophomore Guidance
Sophomore Guidance students continue their work with health and wellness skills and knowledge developed in the Lifeskills class while gaining certification in First Aid, CPR and AED. In this year-long course, students expand their efficacy and experience with public speaking as they complete the second curricular module for speech. Students also formally begin their work with the College Guidance Office in this course, meeting with the College Counselors and completing standardized test preparation sessions.

Junior Guidance
Junior Guidance is a year-long overview of the college application process. Topics include interviewing skills and practice, campus visits, what colleges are looking for, essay writing, financial aid and scholarships, and the college search and application timeline. Students learn to use Naviance, a college search and application database; work on establishing their personal priorities with regard to where they will apply; consider how to best present themselves in all phases of the application process; and work on the skills necessary to write an effective college essay. Each student and her family meet with a college counselor during the second semester to discuss the steps in the search and application process, and together they create a tentative list of colleges to consider. Later in the spring, the college counselors work with each student to determine which teachers will write their recommendations. The class meets once per week and is graded on a Pass/Fail basis.

Senior Guidance
In the fall, Senior Guidance focuses on the nuts and bolts of the college application process, with a focus on finalizing the college list, meeting deadlines, essay writing, how to appropriately demonstrate interest and the effective presentation of extracurricular activities. Second semester topics include money management, residence hall life, relationships, college campus safety, making appropriate choices as a college student and other issues that are commonly part of the transition to college. Outside speakers include a financial planning expert, Residence Advisors from a local college and an expert on personal health and safety for college women. The class meets once per week and is graded on a Pass/Fail basis.

Protégé Internship Program
Protégé is Laurel’s internship and research assistantship program for students in the Upper School. We work with each student in the program to determine her areas of interest then build a Protégé Project around/in that area of interest. Students are placed in one of two types of positions: 1) internships which provide opportunities to learn about a specific field by undertaking actual supervised projects in the workplace; or 2) research assistantships which provide opportunities to work on actual research projects in science, medical and social science research labs (STEM options). These out-of-school learning experiences may occur during the school year or during the summer. Protégé Projects are graded on a Pass/Fail basis and are recognized on the Laurel transcript.

Speech, Principles of Speech

Laurel students must complete one half credit in Speech. Rising Juniors must complete "Principles of Speech" prior to Senior year or through alternate credit earned by participation in Speech and Debate. All other students complete Speech through the modules now taught in Lifeskills and Seminars. The Speech curriculum prepares each student to complete her Senior Speech, which is delivered in her Senior year and is a graduation requirement.

Principles of Speech (offered both semesters) (.5 credit)
Principles of Speech is intended to develop effective oral communication capabilities and to enhance the students’ abilities in analysis and critical thinking. To successfully complete the course, students present information to large or small groups in a well-organized, interesting manner with poise and confidence. Students learn to speak clearly and effectively, with precise diction, engaging vocal variety and appropriate gestures and physical bearing that enhance the spoken presentation. Students also analyze oral communication, distinguishing claim from argument and evaluating validity through the use of appropriate support. Principles of Speech will be entirely incorporated into the Lifeskills and Seminar curriculum after the 2015-2016 academic year.

Physical Education

Two credits of Physical Education and/or interscholastic athletics are required. A student will not receive graduation credit for more than two semesters of Physical Education and/or two interscholastic athletics in a calendar year, although students are in no way prohibited from taking a Physical Education class and/or participating on an interscholastic team. Students can also opt for Alternate Physical Activity credit. 

Fundamentals of Fitness at Butler (.5 credit)
This class offers a basic understanding and development of personal fitness through weight training, aerobic and anaerobic conditioning drills, flexibility and plyometrics. Students learn how to improve or maintain their fitness levels, set goals and design a personal fitness program. As students progress through the course, they use their individually designed programs to reach their personal fitness goals. This is an after-school option only and students participating in this course will need to complete 25 workouts by the end of the semester to receive credit. Grading is Pass/Fail.

Alternate Physical Activity (.5 credit)
Students who participate in an Alternate Physical Activity may receive credit toward their P.E. requirement if they spend at least 2.5 hours a week engaged in this activity. To gain credit in this way, students must seek approval from the Physical Education Chair before the semester begins, and the physical activity must be supervised by a professional who will also document attendance and sign the required attendance sheet. Both the Physical Activity Waiver Form and the attendance form are located online or in the Upper School office. Credit is granted on a case-by-case basis. 

Modern Dance I (1st semester) (.5 credit)
Designed for students who are interested in solidifying their understanding of the fundamentals of dance, this course is perfect for beginners and suitable for experienced dancers looking to polish their technical skills. Over the course of the semester, students strengthen their understanding of dance, starting with basic modern technique, and expand their range of movement as they dance their way to greater levels of strength, flexibility and precision. Students engage with relevant videos, articles and written responses in order to deepen their understanding of modern dance and their awareness of themselves as modern dancers. This class may be taken to fulfill one semester of Physical Education OR one semester of Art credit.

Modern Dance II (2nd semester) (.5 credit)
Designed for students who have reached a higher level of dance proficiency, this class develops more complex modern technique, seeking to bring students to higher levels of performance and understanding of their dance work. Students engage in conversations and exercises that focus on the intention that drives dance. Through self- and peer observation, students reach higher levels of musicality and expressivity. Students are expected to work rigorously and imaginatively to expand in new directions. This class may be taken to fulfill one semester of Physical Education OR one semester of Art credit.

Improvisational Dance (1st semester) (.5 credit)
Improvisational dance is all about finding your own unique style of movement. This course draws on students’ ability to be spontaneous, to move creatively and to work together. Girls work to find their individual style while challenging themselves to do new, interesting things. Improvisational dance helps students to hone their awareness, flexibility, creativity and collaborative abilities. Through constant movement and with ever-changing objectives, students dance their way to a greater understanding of space, time, energy and musicality. Students are evaluated on their focus, creativity and growth; they deepen their understanding of improvisation with writing assignments, reading assignments from Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones and video-viewing assignments. Students complete the course with confidence in their own creative style and better responsiveness to whatever new situation comes their way. This class may be taken to fulfill one semester of Physical Education OR one semester of Art credit.

Dance Composition (2nd Semester) (.5 semester)
Dance Composition is a class for students who are interested in creating their own dance choreography. Students work individually and collaboratively to find inspiration and to build dance material. This course challenges students to think about how a dance is created, edited and presented. Students move from creating dances that focus on the fundamentals to dealing with props, music, expressivity and theme. Articles, videos, writing responses and discussions all challenge students to understand their creativity and inspiration through different lenses. This class may be taken to fulfill one semester of Physical Education OR one semester of Art credit. 

Voice and Movement (1st semester)(.5 credit)
Expand your range, increase your acting potential and acquire the tools needed to play the roles you want to play! This course provides young actors with a strong foundation in voice and movement technique specifically designed to increase vocal range as well as to increase your physical ability to perform a wide range of characterizations. Students will pursue a dynamic and physically demanding exploration of Laban’s principles of movement for the actor and Bogart’s Viewpoints, as well as unarmed hand-to-hand combat. These exercises are designed to connect the thought to the voice and to the body and to build skills that will elevate the student actor to the next level of her potential. This class may be taken to fulfill one semester of Physical Education OR one semester of Art credit. 

Fall Sports

  • Cross Country - Varsity
  • Field Hockey - Varsity and Junior Varsity
  • Golf - Varsity and Junior Varsity
  • Soccer - Varsity and Junior Varsity
  • Tennis - Varsity A and B and Junior Varsity
  • Volleyball - Varsity and Junior Varsity

Winter Sports

  • Basketball - Varsity and Junior Varsity
  • Swimming and Diving - Varsity
  • Fencing - Club

Spring Sports

  • Lacrosse - Varsity and Junior Varsity
  • Fast Pitch Softball - Varsity and Junior Varsity
  • Track - Varsity

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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