Leaders of Charles R. Drew Charter School, Atlanta Public Schools’ first charter school, today announced a $750,000 Race to the Top Innovation Grant has been awarded to the school by the Georgia Governor’s Office of Student Achievement. This award will be used to support the expansion of Drew Charter School, including the opening of Drew Senior Academy (grades 9 through 12) in 2013.
“We were delighted to learn of this generous grant,” said Dr. Cynthia Kuhlman, Chair of the Drew Charter School Board of Directors. “An investment in Drew Charter School’s expansion will reap benefits for many years to come in the revitalized East Lake community. Drew’s recent academic successes can now be extended through the high school years, completing vision to provide students with a cradle-to-college education.”
The Drew Charter School Partnership for Expansion (DCSPE), which includes Drew Charter School, the Georgia Tech Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics and Computing (CEISMC), Georgia State University’s School of Music, the Westminster Schools’ Center for Teaching and New Tech Network, will work together over the next two years to develop a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) curriculum for the Drew Senior Academy, supported by Project-Based Learning teaching strategies. Drew and DCSPE will serve over 1,500 students by year two of the grant and over 2,100 students by the time the Senior Academy is at full capacity in ten years.
The Drew Charter School STEAM-based curriculum prepares students to excel in college and careers with a solid foundation in critical thinking and problem solving, collaboration, communication, creativity and innovation. Since opening in 2000, Drew Charter School has proven its specialized approach to education works. The school has consistently shown strong academic, financial and organizational growth. Ranked as the worst elementary school 12 years ago, Drew is now among the city’s top five schools. Based on state standardized test scores, Drew Charter School ranks number one in serving low-income and minority children in the state.
The State of Georgia’s Race to the Top (RT3) Innovation Fund is a $19.4 million fund created under Georgia’s RT3 plan that provides competitive grants to support the establishment and deepening of partnerships between Georgia local education authorities (LEAs) or charter schools, institutions of higher education (IHEs), businesses and non-profit organizations to advance the applied learning and academic achievement of Georgia’s K-12 students.