Our History

Making Waves

The Cove School was the nation’s first school founded exclusively for the education of children with learning disabilities. To this day, it remains the premier school in the field.

The school was founded in 1947 by Dr. Alfred A. Strauss, a child psychiatrist-neurologist, and his research assistant, Dr. Laura Lehtinen Rogan, a teacher and educational psychologist. Together, they opened a residential facility for children between the ages of six and twelve. The school’s name comes from its original location on the sleepy cove of Lake Michigan in Racine, Wisconsin, on property owned by the DeKoven Foundation, an Episcopalian religious group.

In 1950, while Dr. Strauss and his wife Marie maintained the Racine facility,

Dr. Lehtinen Rogan opened the first Cove day school in Evanston, Illinois. After a couple of local moves, the school’s Board of Trustees purchased an historic mansion at 1100 Forest Avenue using funds donated by parents and benefactors. In 1973, after extensive remodeling, the mansion became the new home of The Cove School in Illinois.

Both the residential and the day schools remained operational until the residential facility in Racine was closed permanently in 1968. Eventually, as enrollment grew, a high school program was added and by the early 1980s, it became clear that the school required more space. In July of 1986, The Cove School moved to the historic Skokie School building, a former public school at 520 Glendale Avenue in Winnetka, Illinois, where it remained for the next 10 years. Finally, on July 15, 1996, The Cove School moved to its current location at 350 Lee Road, Northbrook, Illinois, completing a major property renovation in the fall of 2006.