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Our History

Our History

IMGschool-sm.jpgLeland Elementary School opened it’s doors on Sept. 11, 1922 to 57 students who actually spent most of their first year studying in an old army barrack building across the street from the current day building.  Enrollment at the school increased so rapidly that the two original teachers could not handle the large numbers of students alone and three more instructors were added almost immediately and a large army tent was set up at the site to use as an additional classroom.




1923  - The new building opened on 2120 Leland Street with 562 students and 13 teachers at a cost of $84,000. It was made of pressed brick (which was later stuccoed over) and housed 12 classrooms and a principal’s office. The first school newspaper was started, the Leland Locals available for 10 cents a copy. 


Leland Elementary is named after Leland Peck the son of George H. and Alma Peck. George Peck was pioneer to the city in 1882 and became a real estate developer and banker and who donated land for a number of parks including Pt. Fermin, and Peck Park. 


1924 – An 8 unit building was added on to the original school including the auditorium. 


1925 – More land was acquired for the school. By the end of the school year more than 700 students were attending Leland under 19 teachers. 


1926 – a duplex bungalow was added to the grounds for manual training for boys and cooking and sewing for girls. 


1928 – The school wins the school division of the Christmas Out-of-Doors tree contest sponsored by the Women’s Club of San Pedro and continues to win for the next 3 years. 


1930 – Members of the school orchestra combined with other elementary schools in the area for a grand spring concert in the Dana Middle School auditorium.


1933 – Damage from an earthquake required a number of modifications to the school including adding structural support and removing cement embellishments and fixtures. 


1934 – A thrift program sanctioned by the Board of Education and driven by the Depression was launched with each child being given a small bank so they could save a dollar, which would then be deposited in their own bank account. The school also had and managed their own garden.


1941-44 – The school was used as a rationing station for sugar and fuel during the war. It was also a designated blackout shelter.


1943 – Students participated in Quiz Kids at the Holiday Bowl in support of war bond and stamp purchases. 


1946 – The school reached a peak of 800 students this year, and the school put out a cookbook created by the students called Leland’s Gastronomical Surprises.


1954 – The 6th grade class raised chickens this year which provided the graduating class a nice dinner at the end of the school year. 


1959 – The rest of the block was purchased and the homes removed to extend the playground all the way to Alma Street and it was leveled.


1972 –A major earthquake that did minor damage to the school.


1973 – The school children voted on school colors and a mascot. They chose gold and green and a comical dragon. Nearly 700 students are enrolled at the school this year.


1967 – Artist and writer Leo Politi visited the school by invitation after the death of one of the teachers. He donated the paintings of children that hang in the library. 


1978 – The cafeteria building was added.


1980 – A plan for busing and the desegregation of Leland, Barton Hills, and South Shores elementaries was implemented to much opposition. 


1984 – The Leland Dragon Drill Team won first place in the LAUSD spring drill team competition.


1987 – Dr. Anna Lee Fisher who was a Leland student was the first mother sent into space. 


1995 – The 20’ x 50’ mural on the side of the cafeteria was painted over 6 weeks by the 5th and 6th graders under the direction of Terri Roese.


1997 – Family Game Night started at the school. 


2001 – LAUSD officially ranked Leland in the top 10% of the District for safety management.


2015 – The school commissioned a fun mural in the main office of the Leland dragon mascot and local scenery designed and painted by Sharon Wheeler. Leland also got a brand new computer lab and classroom sets of iPads for the students to use. 

Original Leland Classroom


Kindergarten Classroom


Leland Student Body Cookbook, 1946


Leland Student Body Cookbook, 1946


Painting "Cinco de Mayo" by Leo Politi, 1967

Leland Alumni Astronaut Anna Fisher, 1987

School Mural, 1995

Mascot office mural, 2015






Many thanks to: J. Nordin, J. McCoy Dunn, M. Kirton for researching and providing this information.