Model Monday: Marva Collins

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Marva Collins is a hero for her influence and activism in education. Collins was born in Alabama in 1936.  She eventually worked as a substitute teacher in Chicago where the deficiencies in the public education system spurred her to start her own school. She founded Westside Preparatory School with just six student.

She began to take in children with learning disabilities and those labeled as “problems.” One such student went on to graduate her college Summa Cum Laude. Her students graduated from schools such as Harvard, Yale, and Stanford, becoming physicians, lawyers, engineers, and educators.

Her fight for a better education system and her faith in students everywhere sets her apart from the rest. She has said that “I have discovered few learning disabled students in my three decades of teaching. I have, however, discovered many, many victims of teaching inabilities.”

Her students are pushed with abstract concepts, such as defining justice through Plato’s book The Republic.

Since turning over her school to her daughter, Cynthia Collins, Marva has begun teaching other educators about her methodology and technique.

Marva has been acknowledged with a multitude of awards including:

– The Jefferson Award for Benefiting the Disadvantaged

– The Humanitarian Award for Excellence

– Legendary Women of the World Award

We thank her for her legendary contributions to education.

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