|Address:||312 W. Oregon
Urbana, IL 61801
|School Hours:||8:15 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.|
We want Leal to be the best place for you and your child. Your involvement helps us to reach that goal. Please feel free to contact your child’s teacher when you have a concern, idea, or comment. You are your child’s best advocate!
The learning climate at Leal School will be characterized by the following:
Learning is an interactive process. Active learning engages minds and nurtures curiosity. The learning environment at Leal School is characterized by exploration and hands-on experiences.
Learning is an ongoing process with people acquiring knowledge in different ways and at different times. Individuals learn best when expectations are high and experiences are meaningful and varied.
Learning is a basic right and responsibility of all people. Learning is accomplished most effectively when it builds upon previous knowledge and applies to life experiences.
The History of Leal School
Thomas R. Leal was an orphan boy who attended school in New York with fellow orphan Jay Gould. While Gould grew up to pursue money, Leal dedicated his life to teaching children. This former school teacher and the area’s first county superintendent of schools is known as the father of education in Champaign County.
Leal, who lived from 1829-1904, came to Urbana in 1852 as a teacher. Five years later, as county superintendent of schools, he began a push to install blackboards in all the schools — an expense some school boards balked at — and he organized the first teachers’ institutes in the region.
Under Dr. Leal’s leadership the number of school houses grew from 46 in 1857 to over 200 schools in 1873, serving an area roughly one thousand square miles. Leal School in Urbana is named for him.
The original site of the present school building housed the Urbana Male and Female Seminary built in 1855 by the Methodist Church. In 1857 the building was sold to the city for $5,000. Thomas R. Leal, at that time a county commissioner, was instrumental in securing this transfer which marked the beginning of the Urbana Public School system.
In 1872, this site was the Oregon Street School which was later changed to “Leal School.” This building housed the Urbana Schools until 1892 when the Thornburn High School was built. In 1935 Leal School was razed and replaced by the present building at a cost of $212,700.