Ep. 189: The Private School Option for Kids with Learning Differences with Collette Bowers Zinn

Jun 11, 2024 | 0 comments

Welcome to today's episode, where we are navigating the complex landscape of public and private school options for children with learning differences. While many families have had great experiences in both settings, others face challenges that necessitate exploring alternative educational environments. Today, we're diving into the independent school option for those with learning differences, with the expertise of our guest, Collette Bowers Zinn.

Collette Bowers Zinn brings over 20 years of dedication to connecting children with the educational environment that is best for them. As a litigator, fourth-generation educator, and founder of multiple educational initiatives, Collette's unique background equips her with insights into the educational system. She founded Private School Axis and Zinn Education Management aiming to bridge the gap between families and schools while promoting diversity, equity, inclusion, and accountability.

In this episode, we’ll discuss why some parents are turning to independent schools, particularly when public schools fall short, especially for kids of color. Collette shares her personal journey with her children's education and provides her advice on finding the right match for your child's needs. We'll also address the misconceptions about private school affordability and accessibility, along with financial aid options. Collette emphasizes the importance of family and school partnerships, transparency, and thorough research to ensure the best educational fit for your child.

Show Notes:

  • [2:47] – The primary reason many parents are seeking independent school enrollment is because public schools have failed some of our kids, especially kids of color.
  • [3:38] – There are a lot of things to consider – class size, case load for teachers, state testing, and government regulations.
  • [5:15] – Private schools are more accessible and affordable than most people think.
  • [6:46] – There are some cons that people need to consider about private education as well. No system is perfect.
  • [8:23] – With current circumstances, Collette’s children attend an independent school. You have to find the right match for your child.
  • [9:32] – To properly support a child in their learning journey, the family has to be in partnership with whatever educational institution they choose.
  • [10:52] – It is equally as important to interview the institution as it is for the institution to interview you. Ask all the questions needed to make a decision.
  • [14:18] – The only way to develop a thriving partnership is through transparency.
  • [15:38] – It is important to remember that independent schools are businesses. Do your research to find what is the right match for you.
  • [18:12] – At the end of the day, the end goal for you, your child, and the institution is the same: finding the best place for your child.
  • [20:17] – You can’t be connected and in partnership without showing up.
  • [21:10] – Collette discusses financial aid options for private school tuition.
  • [24:32] – How do children navigate the socioeconomic differences between students in private schools?
  • [28:12] – Prioritize gratitude over focusing on socioeconomic status.
  • [29:56] – No matter what, everyone should be able to access a learning environment that will lead them to a lifetime of amazing experiences.
  • [30:55] – Diversity within a learning environment leads to better outcomes for all learners.
  • [32:19] – Collette has started a non-profit called Private School Axis to aid students in accessing the educational route that is best for them.
  • [36:07] – Dream big and learn what you wish was different. Take that list and formulate the must-haves for your child’s learning environment and start the research.

About Our Guest:

For more than 20 years, Collette Bowers Zinn has been dedicated to bringing impact and humanity to the work of connecting children with high caliber education. Her unique professional experiences, both as a litigator and fourth-generation educator, have deeply informed her mission to serve and guide students, families, teachers, and school leadership.

Through her own innovative work as a school administrator and a diversity, equity, inclusion and accountability (DEIA) practitioner, Collette recognized the dynamic daily challenges within education and identified how the needs of students and classrooms could be most effectively met. She created Private School Axis, Zinn Education Management, and The Onyx Movement to connect families and schools across the nation with the counsel they need. With each of these endeavors, Collette is designing ways to help students reach their full potential while elevating the culture of independent schools towards meaningful diversity, equity, inclusion, and accountability. Collette holds an M.Ed. from Pepperdine University, a J.D. from the University of Southern California, and a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. 

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The Diverse Thinking Different Learning podcast is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical or legal advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Additionally, the views and opinions expressed by the host and guests are not considered treatment and do not necessarily reflect those of ChildNEXUS, Inc or the host, Dr. Karen Wilson.