Classical Christian education is growing around the world and the influx of new students comes with a range of distinct learning styles and even learning abilities. Dyslexia, it turns out, impacts more than 20% of students and more than 30 million adults. Yet this different way of processing words and sounds impacts students’ experiences throughout our schools, especially in the liberal arts. There are ways to work through these challenges. Sometimes those who are dyslexic are actually better thinkers and contributors to classrooms and society with notable examples like Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci and over half of NASA’s employees. So how do we help welcome these students and add to the richness of our classical Christian Schools? Leslie Collins is back to help us sort through these questions on this episode of BCL.
Leslie Collins and her husband, Dave have been working together in the disability community since 1987 when they married. Their focus was providing relief for exhausted parents through childcare and friendship. When she graduated in 1991, she focused on starting programs of inclusion in her classroom and in the local church. In 1995, Leslie became the founding headmistress of Rockbridge Academy in Millersville, Maryland where she was also an inclusive Kindergarten teacher for a student with communication and physical impairments. She was privileged to briefly serve in Kailua, Hawaii as Trinity Christian School transitioned to a classical model.
In both CCE schools Leslie taught students with autism in the typical CCE classroom, either as the support teacher or the inclusive teacher. She is currently the Head of School at Covenant Academy in northwest Houston. Covenant has a Student Support program (unadvertised) because it is a school value that every student be brought to the apex of their ability in partnership with parents. Leslie and Dave have four children, one grandchild, and two more grandbabies on the way! Leslie holds a Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling from The Master’s University and a Bachelor of Science in Special Education from the University of Maryland. When she’s not working at school, she loves reading, cooking, walking, and gardening.