The original Our Lady of Peace church structure was built along Spanish lines and seated about 200 people. It was a little larger than a two-story stucco house. Over time, the church was moved into private homes where the Oblate Fathers of St. Ferdinand’s Church and the Sisters of the Sacred Heart taught catechism classes. The OLP Church as we know it today, was built in 1937 by Father Patrick Ryan. In 1944 the OLP Parish was officially established.
In 1951 Father Leheny was dedicated to building the school and held the first classes on site that year, taught by the Daughters of
Mary and Joseph. The school building was officially erected by 1954. Father Leheny was a “brick builder” and is accredited with the building’s strong foundation, which has remained stable through several earthquakes. Its modest beginning included just four classrooms and teachers.
By 1955, eight additional classrooms had been added and by 1956, four lay teachers were added to the staff.
In 1956, OLP was the largest elementary school in the Archdiocese of LA and remained so for two years, with a robust enrollment through 1966.
In 1967, school enrollment began to decline due, in part, to the relocation of large companies such as Lockheed, American Motors and Northrop. Such moves caused many young families within the community to migrate along with their companies.
In 1973, the Daughters of Mary and Joseph relinquished the administration of the school and it was assigned to the Sisters of Charity Leavenworth. Concurrently, due to lower enrollment, the school was cut back to one class per grade. Kindergarten was added in 1985. The school had approximately 301 students at that time.
From 2012 – 14, the neighborhood demographics had changed and there had been several years of gang reality activity in the streets surrounding the school. Enrollment continued to decline. By 2016, the school had an enrollment of approximately 184 students. By 2018, the enrollment had shrunk to just over 100 students. When the COVID pandemic hit in February of 2019, the principal left the school in March and a new principal was hired to run the school during the pandemic. Enrollment at that time was 96 students. Although the school remained open, the campus and church were shut down to comply with Public Health mandates, and all classes were conducted through a zoom platform at home.
The principal applied for a COVID waiver in March of 2020. It was approved and the campus gradually reopened on site, beginning in late March of 2020. The site has remained fully open since that time. Enrollment as of fall of 2021 was stabilized and grew to approximately 105 students with no drop in enrollment for the 2021-22 school year.