Drew Charter School, Turning the Impossible into the I’m Possible

Education is the best chance a child has to break the cycle of poverty.

Worldwide studies have shown each additional year of school increases a person’s salary by 10 percent. It’s not just about attending school, it’s about quality education, giving students the tools to learn and succeed.

In May, the Charles R. Drew Charter School graduated its first senior class. These students were the first group to fulfill the cradle-to-college pipeline within the community. Drew Charter opened in 2000, but did not offer a high school track until the new Senior Academy opened its doors in 2014, giving children in the community full access to educational resources.

The class of 2017 had 82 students, 16 of whom had gone to school together since the first grade at Drew Charter. 100 percent of the class of 2017 graduated and was accepted to college, earning more than $1.6 million in scholarships.

Now, this group of 82 is off to college, 40 percent of them the first in their family to do so. From schools like Georgia Tech to Cornell and University of Georgia to Yale, Drew alumni are prepared to take on the challenge of university studies.

According to Drew graduate Tyler Sturdivant, Drew has her well prepared her for her coursework at Cornell. “We use the same classroom technology, so I’m familiar with how it works. I also learned to take different kinds of notes which makes studying easier.”

More importantly, Tyler feels ready for a career after Cornell. Drew Charter’s College and Career Readiness team not only assisted Tyler with college applications and SAT prep, but they were integral in helping her network with event planners, a career she hopes to pursue. “If anyone in the hospitality industry was giving a presentation at Drew, counselors always made me aware. I wouldn’t have had great internships if it wasn’t for Drew. I don’t think you’d find that hands-on help at bigger high schools.”

For the East Lake community, cradle-to-college education starts as early as six weeks old, through partnerships with Sheltering Arms East Lake and the East Lake Early Learning Academy. Now that education pipeline continues through high school.  Drew’s first senior class has set the bar high. Future classes will be pushed to fly even higher.