A Pioneer in education, Marva Collins gained wide acclaim for her novel approach to teaching at a West Side school she started.
Mrs. Collins, 78, who founded Westside Preparatory School in Garfield Park in 1975 and whose life became the focus of a made-for-TV movie, died of natural causes on Wednesday, June 24, while in hospice care in Beaufort County, S.C., according to her son Patrick Collins.
“She gave it her professional all, her very best,” said Patrick Collins.Born Marva Knight in Alabama, Mrs. Collins graduated from Clark College, now Clark Atlanta University.
She moved to Chicago after graduation and took a position as a medical secretary. She later became a teacher in Chicago Public Schools, teaching second grade at Delano Elementary School on the Near West Side, her son said.
She became frustrated with the classroom approach at the public school, her son said.
“It was more playtime, less learning,” he said. “So she cashed in her $5,000 teacher pension, moved her tenants out and taught out of the second floor of her own home. That was her vision