LAUREL SCHOOL is an independent day school for girls, kindergarten through grade twelve, with a coeducational early childhood center. A private school for girls, Laurel School was established by Jennie Warren Prentiss with an enrollment of seven students in 1896. Originally known as Miss Prentiss' School, it was located in her home at 95 Streator Avenue (East 100th Street). Three years later, the school was incorporated and renamed the Wade Park Home School for Girls, a name which Miss Prentiss soon changed in 1899 to Laurel Institute. Growth was stimulated, in part, by the closing of MISS MITTLEBERGER'S SCHOOL in 1908 and the subsequent transfer of many of its students to Laurel. In 1909, Laurel expanded into a larger building on East 97th Street near EUCLID AVE, where it remained for nineteen years. Its English department was invited to become a charter member of the School and College Conference on English, one of only eight girls' schools in the country accorded that honor.
Under Principal Sarah E. Lyman (1904-1930), Laurel accepted an opportunity to move to a site at Lyman Circle in SHAKER HTS.. Part of O. P. and M. J. VAN SWERINGEN's plan to recruit the leading schools for location in their planned suburb, the new building opened in September 1928. A chapter of Cum Laude, a national honor society for high school students, was established in 1932. As demand for residential facilities declined, Laurel closed its dormitory in the early 1970s - the last of the four Cleveland independent schools to do so. The space was remodeled into wings for science classes and the middle school. New construction provided a gymnasium and wings for the primary and pre-school divisions.
In the 1970s and 1980s, teachers' salaries increased dramatically, and the Hazel Hostetler Chair for Excellence in teaching was established, the first endowed faculty chair in an independent girls' day school in the nation. During the 1990s and 2000s, the school expanded its Lyman Circle campus and in 1998 purchased 140 acres for an outdoor campus located at 7420 Fairmount Road in Russell, Ohio. In recent years, the school has pursued several building projects on the new Fairmount Campus, including fifteen acres of athletic fields, the 3,200 square foot Conway Pavilion, and the Magic Tree House, based on the children's book series written by Mary Pope Osborne. In 2007, Laurel had an enrollment of 624 students, and the Head of School was Ann V. Klotz.
Andrews, Ethel. Roots and Branches (1971).
Murphy, Hope Ford. Educating the Independent Mind: The First Hundred Years of Laurel School (1998).