Classical Christian Education the Marva Collins Way

Pernicia Smith

As the youngest daughter of 5, growing up in the inner-city of Chicago, Pernicia determined early on she would not be a statistic. After having a candid conversation with her mother, she knew that she wanted to work with children. Pernicia is the founder of Cambridge Classical Academy in Chicago. Her first introduction to classical education was at Marva Collins Preparatory School in 1999. There she learned the role the heart plays in educating children. Pernicia is a graduate of Jackson State University’s School of Education, an HBCU located in Jackson, Mississippi. By passion, Pernicia loves to teach. She enjoys traveling, reading, attending concerts, and spending time with her family and friends.

Drawing from Black Intellectual Tradition in Our Classical Curricula

Many urban classical schools serve a culturally and racially diverse student body. As students study great writing and great ideas, it is important for them to see that people from many different backgrounds have deeply appreciated and carefully studied these writers in ways that have often been transformative. It is especially important for African American students to know that writings from the Western tradition that are often perceived as belonging only or mainly to those of European descent have been embraced by black intellectuals of the past who went on to create their own classic writings. In this workshop we learn more about key writers of the black intellectual tradition and how their writings engage with the great conversation. We conclude with practical suggestions for enriching classical school curricula at both lower and upper school levels with contributions from black writers.

Angel Parham

Dr. Angel Adams Parham is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Nyansa Classical Community. Nyansa provides after-school programming and curricula designed to connect with and draw students of color into the beauty of classical literature and the great conversation. She is also Associate Professor of Sociology at Loyola University-New Orleans. Dr. Parham's sociological training provides an in-depth understanding of the social and economic challenges facing many low-income communities of color, while her Christian faith emphasizes the importance of combining this sociological knowledge with a commitment to students’ spiritual formation and the cultivation of their moral imagination. She is also a wife and mother of two beautiful girls who are homeschooled according to classical Christian principles and pedagogies.

Planting an Urban Classical Christian School

The education of at-risk youth is the civil rights movement of our day. Public and charter approaches can’t get to the heart of the crisis. Come learn about the story and distinctives of Hope Academy and its “start small, dream big and grow slow” strategy. Participants will walk through an overview of the school’s model for parent engagement and its development cycle for events. Time for discussion and Q&A will be allowed.

Russ Gregg

Russ Gregg has served as Head of School at Hope Academy in Minneapolis, Minnesota, since its founding in 2000. He has been a resident of the Phillips neighborhood in Minneapolis since 1994. In 1999, he was a school administrator in one of the wealthiest suburbs of Minneapolis before quitting his job to help lay the groundwork for a Christian school for his urban neighbors. Russ and his wife, Phyllis, who teaches 3rd Grade at Hope Academy, live four blocks away from the school. They have three grown children. Russ has a bachelor’s degree in global studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and serves on the Board of Directors of the Society for Classical Learning.