Marva Collins Diversity Award Winners
The Marva Collins Diversity Award honors a special education teacher who makes a significant impact in the education of children and youths with learning disabilities who come from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. The award consists of, (a) a $500 stipend, (b) up to $500 toward travel to a regional DLD or national CEC conference, and (c) a commemorative plaque. Nominations for this award are due 30 August of each year.
Rosalind Simpson was the first recipient of the Marva Collins Diversity Award in 2006. Ms. Simpson was a doctoral fellow for the Department of Learning and Instruction at the University of San Francisco. Before beginning her doctoral studies, she had been an elementary special education teacher in a special day class in the West Contra Costa School District in Richmond (CA, USA) since 2000. From 1998-2000, she was a Resource Specialist in the Oakland Unified School District in Oakland (CA). From 1984-2000 she was an academic therapist in private practice. She has an MA in Special Education with an emphasis in reading from Holy Names College in Oakland (CA) and is a lecturer at Saint Mary's College in Moraga (CA).
In her letter of nomination, Chair of DLD's Committee on Cultural and Linguistic Diversity and Professor at the University of San Francisco Yvonne Bui wrote this about Ms. Simpson:
Ms. Simpson is an extraordinary special education teacher. Her positive energy and enthusiasm for teaching are contagious. Ms. Simpson's teaching style is unique, and she incorporates culturally responsive pedagogy into all of her lessons. For example, she teaches phonics and vocabulary words through movement and rhythmic chants.
In addition to core instruction, Ms. Simpson believes in teaching to the "whole" student. She engages her students in daily community-building activities where they learn to work collaboratively and value themselves and each other. Ms. Simpson also has high and consistent expectations for students' behaviors, and she fosters a safe and positive learning environment for her students. As a result, the students with disabilities blossom under her tutelage.
Ms. Simpson also served DLD as a member of the Cultural and Linguistic Diversity Committee and helped represent DLD at CEC's "Multicultural Summit" in 2006.