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.
Charles R. Drew Charter School serves as a key component of the cradle-to-college pipeline within the holistic East Lake neighborhood revitalization. Drew was founded for the purpose of providing an excellent education to the children living in the Villages of East Lake. Drew Charter School will continue to center its work around serving students from the Villages of East Lake and students from economically disadvantaged families in a mixed-income setting. Drew is committed to ensuring that each child reaches his or her full potential and paving a pathway for each student’s long-term health, growth, and success in life.
Drew Charter School students will possess the knowledge, skills, passion and intellectual inquiry to successfully navigate and create positive change in the world.
Drew Charter School educates, nurtures and empowers all students to achieve their full potential as part of an exemplary, innovative, and equity-centered community.
Drew Charter School’s approach is based on our commitment to equity, particularly the belief that every child has gifts and talents that must be explored and nurtured. We believe in encouraging all students to reach their full potential. A Drew education 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.