Recognizing a quality school is the key to a healthy, revitalized neighborhood, the East Lake Foundation, in partnership with the Atlanta Board of Education and parents in the community of East Lake, opened Charles R. Drew Charter School — the city of Atlanta’s first charter school– in August, 2000. Drew Charter School started with 240 children in grades K-5 and now serves approximately 1,700 students in grades Pre-K-12.
The school is named for Dr. Charles Richard Drew (1904 -1948), an African-American physician who is largely responsible for developing techniques used today for storing and transfusing blood and plasma.
Drew Charter expanded to include a high school program beginning in the 2013-2014 school year. This expansion culminated in the graduation of the first Legacy Class in May 2017.
Drew Charter School serves as a key component of the cradle-to-college pipeline within the holistic East Lake neighborhood revitalization. Appreciating our unique status as a mixed-income school, Drew Charter School’s primary purpose is to provide an excellent education to all children living in the Villages of East Lake so that each student reaches his or her full potential and is launched on a pathway to health, impact and prosperity.
Drew students are equipped with the knowledge, skills and passion to create positive change in the world.
Drew is an exemplary, innovative education community that empowers all students to achieve their full potential.
Drew’s approach, based on the belief that every child has gifts and talents that must be discovered and nurtured. All students are consistently encouraged to strive to do their best so they may reach their highest potential. A Drew education is one that supports strong intellectual, physical, social, and emotional growth.
Made up of small, flexible, schools within schools, Drew is organized into academies where students are taught by a team of teachers. The Elementary Academy serves students in grades Pre-K-5; the Junior Academy serves students in grades 6-8 and the Senior Academy serves students in grades 9-12 (9th – 11th grade during the 2015-2016 school year).
Drew works with several partners (i.e., Rollins Center at the Atlanta Speech School, Westminster Center for Teaching, Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia State School of Music) that are focused on raising student achievement. These partnerships also help promote our STEAM theme, which integrates Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics with each other and with the Humanities. Our instructional approach is Project-Based Learning (PBL), which provides students with a meaningful and authentic approach to learning the content and skills necessary to be successful in college, career and civic life.
Drew’s mission of high academic achievement is supported by an extended day (8 a.m. – 4 p.m.) and school year. Many students take advantage of the school’s before and after school programs – one of the most comprehensive in the city – including the Drew After School Program, athletic teams and extracurricular clubs.
Drew Charter School’s Primary and Elementary Academies operate in Drew’s original building that is attached to the East Lake Family YMCA. The Junior and Senior Academies are housed in a new state of the art facility across the street at the Yates Upper Campus. In addition, the school is surrounded by the Charlie Yates public golf course and the Villages of East Lake apartment home community. The East Lake Community Foundation provides funding for golf professionals, who work with our students on a daily basis during their physical education classes and in the after school First Tee® of East Lake Program.