Park Century School began in 1968 when our founder, Sheila Cohn, was unable to find an educational program that could support her sons’ learning differences. At that time, there were no options for bright students who learned differently. Her son’s public school could not offer individualized support for students who didn’t fit the typical learner’s profile, and there were few private or specialized schools for these students.
Ms. Cohn took action to support her son by pulling him out of mainstream school, working with his tutor to design a tailored program that could best meet his needs, and opening a specialized “school” in the living room of a Century City apartment. Leading a long line of successful Park Century graduates who were able to recognize their own learning profiles and apply strategies retained long after transitioning out of Park Century, our first student went on to a fulfilling and successful career in city planning.
The “Century” in our name is an homage to that first Century City classroom. Prior to living in California, Ms. Cohn’s children attended a school in England called Putney Park, and she added the “Park” to our name to invoke the warmth of that familiar educational setting.
Park Century’s unique program coupled with Ms. Cohn’s efforts to raise awareness created a buzz in the local parent community, and even those whose children were not affected by learning differences lent their support early on because they believed so much in the project and the need for change in education to encompass all types of learners. After enrollment grew to ten students, Park Century moved to an office suite in Santa Monica, which was converted to a school by making individual rooms painted different colors with couches and therapeutic spaces for kids to do their lessons.
Today, we have outgrown our former locations and now reside in a state-of-the art educational building specially designed to accommodate our unique student population, but we uphold the tenets of the first iteration of our school by providing education that incorporates academic, clinical, and social aspects based on each learner’s individual needs.
Park Century exists because of one determined mother who saw her son’s potential, and though we now teach 110 uncommonly bright students, our mission remains steadfast in support of its original purpose - to educate bright students with learning differences and prepare them with the proper tool set and the confidence to effectively advocate for their own.