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The Dinoff School gets its permit

The last obstacle that stood between the dream of a school for gifted students and its realization was a special-use permit. The Griffin Board of Commissioners approved this permit at its last meeting, which made it official for The Dinoff School for Gifted Students.

The private school, in a former sewing mill on Broad Street, will open its doors in August and serve high school students only.

The school’s founder and designated headmaster, Lesley Dinoff, said that administration will initially accept 100 students for the 2010 school year, but will likely expand capacity over time.

Admission is based on whether students meet the definition of gifted on standardized testing or by an independent psychologist.

“Students have to meet the true definition of gifted as tested by an independent psychologist or in the public school setting,” she said.

This definition, in essence, includes a demonstration of a high degree of intellectual ability that requires special instructions.

Dinoff, a psychologist who has worked with gifted children and those with behavioral disorders and learning disabilities, said a lot of people seem to think that a school for gifted students is elitist when, in fact, it is really about tapping the full potential of a student’s abilities.

Academic abilities, that is.

“I started the school for many reasons,” Lesley Dinoff said, “but number one [was] because I have a gifted child that was not getting everything that she needed and deserved in either public or private schools.”

“I wanted a school that could teach my daughter on a gifted level in all classes,” Lesley Dinoff said. “In the public school system, they can only be serviced in gifted areas as much as public school funding will allow.”

“I think there is too much importance placed on sports and not enough placed on academics,” she said. “Academics are our number one thing.”

Scholarship opportunities do exist and, hopefully, more will be available in time.

For more information on The Dinoff School for Gifted Students, visit thedinoffschool.com.

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