Socialization is an Important Factor for Student Success
At Laurel Springs School, our College Prep courses, dynamic learning opportunities, and one-to-one connections with teachers cater to the interests of the students within our academic community. Found at the heart of our virtual campus is a vibrant, 21st century social community composed of social and academic clubs, virtual field trips, and a private social network.
Laurel Springs offers more than 30 clubs for students to explore and discover their passions. Our clubs offer a relaxed, enjoyable experience led by a faculty or staff member who shares the students’ passion for the topic. Shared interests coupled with respectful, engaging social opportunities deepen relationships and provide students with the opportunity to collaborate. At monthly meetings and smaller group gatherings, students use virtual classrooms that promote media and technology literacy allowing for collaboration via presentation, vocal, and visual communication using microphones and webcams, as well as video and other media.
Animal and pet lovers come together each month for their shared passion of caring for, supporting, and uplifting animals. Students share information and images about members’ pets, their habits, or their funny antics. In addition, members recognize, discuss, and relate to the needs of animals around the world. Guest speakers are invited to enhance the understanding and needs of all animals and pets to create the best life possible for our four-legged, furry creature friends. This club is open to students in grades K-8.
Monet, Matisse, Picasso, and contemporary artists are revealed and explored by members in the Art Club. Students gain inspiration from artists across the globe and varying eras. Members also share their own artistic expressions and endeavors culminating in a virtual art club portfolio distributed school wide. Art Club advisors share their passion of art and creative expression while students lead the meetings and share their artistic expressions. This club is open to students in grades 7-12.
Club Members discuss space-related news, photography, and insights about astronomy including solar systems, planets, stars, galaxies, space travel, astrophysics, and more. Laurel Springs Upper School science teachers and the Academic Department Chair lead student discussions focused on their common interest in astronomy and may conduct simple hands-on activities and experiments related to astronomy and physics. This club is open to students in grades 7-12.
Book club advisors strive to create a warm and student-centered experience where participants can both enjoy and be challenged by their peers as they consider literature through discussion, critical thinking, and reflection. Each fall, students help craft a yearly book list, then a rotation of student led meetings fosters leadership and speaking skills. Objective and expressive thoughts and discussions are encouraged and acknowledged as important contributions building analytical skills. Book Club truly honors the Laurel Springs School mission by supporting students’ innate enthusiasm for learning. This club is open to students in grades 6-12.
The Creative Computing Club explores the merging of creativity and technology. Members engage in meaningful and critical discussions about the world of computing. From coding to the Maker Movement; from Google’s CS-First to the digital worlds of Minecraft, this club will explore how computers play a vital and vibrant part of everyday life in preparation for college, career and beyond in the 21st century. This club is open to students in grades 5-12.
Students discover and engage in real world publishing experiences as members of the Creative Writing and Photography Club. Students are considered staff writers, photographers and editors with the culmination of the annual publication of the Laurel Springs Vision and Voices Magazine published at the end of each year. This club is for students who enjoy writing and reading poetry, fiction and non-fiction, and submitting photography to be published. Members improve, enhance, and build on their talent for creativity through peer editing and teacher guidance. Student editors lead a lively monthly meeting to share their creative passions. This club is open to students in grades 7-12.
There is nothing more lively at Laurel Springs than the Debate Club. Members learn what it means to cultivate and maintain your own individual voice, as the opinions of members can be heard echoing down the virtual halls of Laurel Springs School. Using contemporary topics introduced by the advisor, club members then vote, choose, briefly research, take a pro or con position, gather their arguments, and debate the topic until consensus and resolution is reached. Proper debate techniques are used, as well as expanding into the unique opportunities available in a virtual setting as students explore civic literacy, global awareness, and individual liberties through the utilization of critical, creative, and innovative thinking. This club meets in a supervised setting with feedback and guidance from an advisor who is a seasoned member of the debate community. This club is open to students in grades 9-12.
As members of a global community, there is nothing more important to many of Laurel Springs students than the environment. Laurel Springs is proud to have been the recipient of the United Nations Global Environmental 500 Award. This club is for those who love nature, Earth, and seek to find a closer connection with Earth, explore environmental literacy and environs; individually and as a community. This club is open to students in grades 7-12.
This club is for students that have a love for horses and/or riding, from beginners to experienced riders. There are no requirements except for the shared love of horses. Students participate in discussions, exhibit their performances, and participate in group projects. Members enjoy a place to share their passion for horses, meet, collaborate, and celebrate a love for all things equine. Students run each meeting, while learning about different training techniques, horse care, and disciplines from other club members. This club is open to students in grades 7-12.
The Fashion Club takes a closer look at the ever-changing fashion industry and combines the creative and productive aspects that are part of contemporary culture. Members share original designs, reveal and review current fashion trends, designs from fashion week, and explore red carpet fashion. Between meetings members work independently creating original designs which they share at each meeting. They challenge themselves and each other by creating inspiration boards resulting in feedback, support, and encouragement from fellow fashionistas. This club is open to students in grades 7-12.
Members of the Screenwriting and Film Production Club will explore elements of the filmmaking process including writing, directing, producing, cinematography, and editing. In the film industry, the screenplay is referred to as the “master document.” Without a script, no other position in the industry would exist. It is in story development and the creation of the three-act screenplay that this club will focus time throughout the school year. The development of writing skills will serve students, regardless of their future interests or career paths. Club members will utilize the teachings of Robert McKee and the late Syd Field; referencing Robert McKee’s “Ten Screenwriting Commandments,” his book “Story,” as well as Field’s screenplay outline. This club is for students in grades 7-12.
Bonjour! French Club members revel in the immersion into French culture, cuisine, and even the French countryside as members have the opportunity to speak French during all meetings. Members hone skills already acquired in French World Language courses and embark on a journey of France and the French speaking world including its landscapes and all aspects of its culture. Viva la France! This club is open to students in grades 7-12.
Unlike other clubs, this is a drop in weekly club! No invitations will be sent. It is a place to start your school week right each Monday. The club advisor will lead students in the STOP meditation technique: Stop, take a breath, Observe what is going on inside and around us, then Proceed. This is a place to down-regulate; a place to learn inner skillsets to increase attention, relaxation, awareness, insight. New processes will also be introduced during these drop in sessions. This club is for students in grades 9-12.
Imagine preparing for the global experience as a member of the United Nations who strives for peace and balance among cultures around the world. This club engages in an authentic simulation of the United Nations (UN) by learning about the UN system, skills of debate, compromise, conflict resolution, and negotiation. Model UN team members meet twice a month to explore and reveal the workings of world diplomacy through the lens of current events. Real world experience culminates in two ways for members—1. All members participate in a virtual Model UN Conference in April each school year, and 2. Interested members attend the international Model UN Conference in New York City in May where they visit the Model UN building. Members participate in authentic debate as Model UN delegates assigned to research and present solutions based on an actual country and an authentic global issue.
Have you heard of a didgeridoo? It is a unique musical instrument used by the aboriginal people of Australia. Members of the music club are lovers of music. A veteran teacher and talented musician leads students who love, create, or live for music on an interactive, creative, and musical journey. Members will celebrate, educate, support, inspire, create, listen to, and express their love for the spirit of music. This club is open to students in grades K-12.
Members in the Photography Club have a unique and creative eye capturing images around them. Members submit their varied images of landscapes, people, abstracts, and then share with other members. Some topics are driven by a specific theme or period of time. The shared interest is a love for documenting our amazing world through photography. Members also hone their craft by exploring topics like framing the photos; cropping, filters, creativity, well-known photographers and so much more. This club open to students in grades K-8.
Members in the Read, Write, and Share Club experience the best of the three worlds. Reading unique and enjoyable books; sharing these books with peers; discuss individual passions; and, for those who desire, writing to another student via the Pen Pal program. Members can be Pen Pals only, or join the monthly meetings for connection, collaboration, and fun getting to know other Laurel Springs students This club is open to students in grades K-8.
Sign language is simply fascinating, beautiful, unique, and expressive. Not only is sign language helpful to for communication, it is also a fun and interesting to learn! Knowing sing language has many benefits. Did you know that it is the 4th most studied language at colleges and universities in the US and sign language is the 3rd or 4th most used language in the US after English and Spanish, with over 2 million people who speak American Sign Language. Bilingualism enriches and enhances your cognitive process, and signing can enhance your creative thinking and more as members explore, discover, share and unlock the wonderment of this beautifully visual language. This club is for students in grades 7-12.
Do you want to combine your musical talent and your desire to perform? Then this club is for you! Members will go on an exploration of what it takes to perform, record, and share their music. Passionate about all things musical, club members will enjoy the musical talents of each participant and offer constructive feedback when it is invited. Students will learn techniques associated with recording, performance, voice, lyricism, and instrument arrangement. Moreover, members will uncover the varying ideas of sound, song, genres of music, and collaborate to create pieces of music together. This club is open to students in grades 5-12.
The Sports Club unites student athletes and sports fans alike to openly discuss topics on sports nutrition, current events, sport psychology, favorite professional athletes and sports teams, and much more! Students are encouraged to share and discuss their current sports as well as collaborate on ideas for balancing academics and training, providing effective strategies used in their sport and life, and get to learn the unique backgrounds of our large and diverse sports community!
Real world leadership experience is the focus of the Laurel Springs Student Government team. Members are comprised of three elected officers and confirmed representatives from each grade level, grades 7-12. An election convention is held each year as candidates campaign and gain understanding in a respectful, objective setting—including rechanneling defeat and demonstrating resiliency to become an active, involved, voting members of a decision making body. Officers, representatives, and members actively participate and learn about civic literacy, amend by-laws as needed in an ever evolving student campus, and execute projects that are both community and global oriented. This club is open to students in grades 7-12.
Travel Club is not only fun, it’s educational, life enhancing, and develops global awareness and compassion. This club is about both culture and travel as members share their experiences using photos, presentations, and unique perspectives. Engaging activities also explore cultural norms, and possibly absurdities, while identifying food, clothing, architecture, and rituals unique to the culture, country or continent. This club is open to students in grades 7-12.
Collecting student memories from around the world, the Yearbook Club members create the Laurel Springs Yearbook, a yearly publication comprised of students, activities, clubs, and events from the current school year. Members collaborate with teachers, club advisors, and fellow students to design pages, make graphic art decisions, and learn what it takes to publish a school yearbook—bringing our virtual campus alive for all to share and see. This club meets from January to May and is open to students in grades 9-12.
Virtual Field Trips
Led by our faculty, students in our global community are able to embark on virtual field trips right from their own corner of the world. Students are broken out into small groups based on grade level and engage in thoughtful, topic related discussions as they tour the chosen location. Our virtual field trips have included locations such as Yellowstone National Park, where students were able to learn about topics such as animal conservation and topography, and The Smithsonian Institute, where students explored the National Zoo, Space and Art Museum, and many of the art galleries.
My favorite part of the virtual field trip was the video telling us about how park rangers predict Ol’ Faithful. That was quite amazing especially because we could see the geysers streaming live!”
Private Social Network
Beginning in 7th grade, Laurel Springs offers its students and families the opportunity to collaborate and make friends within a secure social network environment. Within this private social network, students may:
- Participate in online clubs and find new friends
- Pair up with study buddies
- Post blog updates regarding their portfolio coursework and share their creative expressions
This private social network is a wonderful way for students to form lasting friendships based on mutual interests and respect that spans state and national boundaries. Students share their thoughts, feelings, and creativity through blogs, forums, and discussion threads. The social network is a valuable tool that creates empathy, compassion, and understanding, as well as promotes academic collaboration.