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Spalding County Collaborative Authority for Families and Children

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Collaborative hears about Dinoff School

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The Dinoff School hosted this month’s meeting of the Spalding Collaborative Authority, with Headmaster Leslie Dinoff talking about the school.

“There are so many hidden treasures in Griffin, so many good things going on here, people need to know,” said Collaborative Director Regina Abbott.

“We look forward to having you as a stakeholder in the Collaborative,” she told Dinoff.

The school, Dinoff said, is one of only two in the country accredited for profoundly gifted students.

“My goal in opening the school,” she said, “was not to throw it in the face of education in Griffin, but to open a gifted school.”

The other gifted school is Davidson Academy, a public school, Dinoff said, “that is my goal. We’d like for it to be paid for by the state for anyone who qualifies.”

The definition of gifted, is the one used by the American Psychiatric Association — IQ of 120 or above, Dinoff said.

“The child has to want to learn, to do that work,” she said.

“The hardest part about growing the school,” she said, “is that this school is hard.”

Students say it is challenging; they are pushed to do better. They, (the instructors) see potential and push you to reach that potential.

The children are in classes by study level, not by age. There are currently about 40 students with a maximum of 10 to a classroom.

The faculty and staff have graduate and doctorate level degrees.

“The reason I hire doctors and lawyers,” Dinoff said, “is I am trying to encourage doctors and lawyers. It takes someone who’s been there, who knows what it takes. To reach that level, the students need mentors who’ve been there. This is Program Challenge everyday.”

There are parents who come from out-of-county, as far away as Madison, to bring their children to the school. Dinoff said, but for the first time in the seven years the school has been open, most of the students are from Spalding County.

“People from a harsh environment need this school,” Dinoff said. “It is not the rich snotty school, we are all the same, here to learn.”

She said about 90 percent of the students are on some sort of tuition assistance.

“You can apply for financial aid to come here,” she said. “We have a lot of unidentified talent here. We try to identify it.“

Jun 18, 2017