model of care
Kolburne School, Inc. traces its roots back to 1904, when pioneering
educator May Jean Robins established a school in New York State
for students with psychiatric, educational, and social challenges.
In 1912, she was joined by Luma L. Kolburne (subsequently, a Columbia
University-educated psychologist), who similarly believed that special
needs students were entitled to the finest treatment services available.
Luma’s contribution in the field of special education was
later thoroughly documented in Effective Education for the Mentally
In 1947, Luma and his wife Stella (May Jean’s
niece, who was an industrial arts teacher) and their daughter Jeane
(and later, her husband Sydney L. Weinstein) founded The Kolburne
School in Norwalk, Connecticut. In an era of entrenched racial prejudice,
Kolburne admitted students, regardless of their race or religion,
and employed a racially diverse professional staff. Kolburne’s
safe, structured, and caring environment provided an ideal alternative
to past failures.
By the 1960's, ever-increasing student enrollment
and the need for a more comprehensive physical plant led Kolburne
to relocate. A state-of-the-art treatment center was built in Berkshire
County, Massachusetts, on eight hundred acres of meadows, forests,
and streams. Parents, funding sources, and regulatory agencies were
equally supportive of Kolburne’s move and the later acquisition
of community-based group homes designed
to further promote positive student growth.
Like May Jean Robins’s school which opened
its doors one hundred years ago, Kolburne remains dedicated to helping
challenged students best develop the skills and character necessary
to achieve their highest potential and to rejoin their communities