Founded over 35 years ago by Neal Wrightson and Leni Jacksen, Children’s Community School is still committed to its core value: education for democracy.
Neal and Leni initially rented rooms behind a small church in Van Nuys; they began with a kindergarten and first grade. Shortly thereafter, they were joined by teacher Neal Hemmelstein. The three of them invited a new class of kindergartners each year, their first graduating class of seven matriculated in 1987. We are, happily, still in touch with these students and Neal (who lives on the East Coast and is still a CCS supporter).
Having made an indelible mark on our School, Leni retired in 1996. [Leni passed away in December 2016 at the age of 98 – Remembering Leni]
As the School grew, CCS acquired an adjacent property, razed the dilapidated house on it and transformed the corner of Sylvan and Erwin into a grass field for the CCS students to play on. In 2000, the CCS Board of Directors began to plan a major addition to the campus and in 2006 (on Valentine’s Day!), we broke ground on the largest construction project in the history of the School. With the enthusiastic support of CCS parents, alumni parents, the Board of Directors, the Staff and three major Foundations, the CCS community raised $1.8 million to fund the building of three new classrooms, a new auditorium and a beautiful new playspace. In June 2007, the first CCS community event (the Graduation of the Class of 2007) was held in our new auditorium. It was a powerful moment for this small school community.
Over the course of 35 years, CCS has accumulated over 400 alumni who have added their individual creativity to our School and taken away a strong sense of being a part of a community committed to “education for democracy”.