Drew Charter School Awarded the 2020 Academic

Charter School of the Year for Academic Excellence

Above (left to right): GCSA Representative, GCSA President and CEO, Tony Roberts, SA Principal, Mr. Kendrick Myers, EA Principal, Ms. Monishae O'Neill, Head of School, Mr. Peter McKnight, Board President, Dr. Cynthia Kuhlman, Dean of Academics, Dr. Keisha Hancock, and JA Principal, Mr. Greg Leaphart, pose for the camera after winning the GCSA Charter School of the Year Academic Excellence Award.

Amid Drew Charter School diligently preparing our students for virtual learning and closing due to the Coronavirus, Drew is pleased to share a bit of extremely positive news about our school.  On Friday, March 13, 2020, the Georgia Charter Schools Association (GCSA) awarded Drew Charter School with the Academic Charter School of the Year Award for Academic Excellence along with $25,000.  The funds will be spent on curriculum development grants and professional learning. This award honors the amazing work that our staff, students and families do each day, the strong governance of our Board of Directors and the impressive student growth and achievement that have resulted! Kudos to our students, staff and school community for this awesome accomplishment!

2020-2021 Achievements

  • Thanks to the generosity of 265 donors, the Drew Opportunity Fund raised over $100,000! These flexible funds allowed us to respond to a wide range of needs including 325 family support requests (including food security, rent and utilities assistance), mental health counseling, and in-person virtual support/childcare.  View our Impact report here.
  • Created Project Connect to create and maintain meaningful connections with students, parents and staff during virtual and hybrid instruction. The project consisted of weekly calls to all Drew families, extensive counseling check-ins, mental health resources, parent focus groups, virtual family and staff fun nights, and partner programming.  
  • Provided weekly Wellness Wednesday programming for students and staff that included enrichment and club offerings, guest speakers, as well as mental health activities and resources. 
  • Distributed over 2,000 weekly meals to families with the support of APS Nutrition.
  • Awarded funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (March 2020) and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRSSA) Act (December 2020) to ensure the safe operation and implementation of services to address schooling during the COVID-19 pandemic.

2019-2020 Achievements

  • Drew's Class of 2019 had a 96.6% graduation rate, the second highest in the District.
  • The Class of 2019 earned more than $12 million in college scholarships, including 12 Eva Davis Scholars, 10 Cousins Scholars through the East Lake Foundation, a Five Strong Scholar, a Questbridge Scholar, a Coca Cola Scholar, and a Jackie Robinson Scholar.
  • Based on the 2019 College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI), Drew’s Elementary Academy scored in the top 3 percent in the state.
  • Drew Elementary Academy earned the second highest CCRPI score in the Atlanta Public Schools District.  The Junior Academy earned the second highest proficiency score in the District for 7th grade math.
  • Drew Senior Academy earned the 4th highest CCRPI single score among Georgia’s Charter High Schools.
  • Drew's Elementary, Junior and Senior Academies, respectively, continue to rank in the top five (5) elementary, middle and high schools in the Atlanta Public Schools District.
  • Drew's Elementary Academy and Drew Junior and Senior Academies have both been recognized by the State School Superintendent as Title I Distinguished Schools – the highest performing Title I Schools in the State (Top 5%).
  • Drew’s elementary black students scored in the 99th percentile in the state on the math achievement indicator score on the CCRPI.
  • On the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessment in the spring of 2019, all grade levels (K-10) averaged above the national norm.
  • Peter McKnight, Drew’s head of school, was named recipient of the 2019 Shoot for the Moon (Georgia Charter School Leader of the Year) Award
  •  Jasmine Dennard,  Elementary Academy teacher, was named recipient of the 2019 Reach for the Stars (Georgia Charter School Teacher of the Year) Award
  • Drew Senior Niara Botchwey earned 4th place in the Biomedical Engineering category out of more than 100 entries from around the world at the International Science and Engineering Fair.
  • Drew Elementary Academy students won the Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl District Champions for the first time.
  • Three Drew Teams won first place at the Georgia Elementary State Science Fair, including the Best Overall Award for a third grade project.
  • Two Drew Elementary students represented Drew at the National Invention Convention in Dearborn, Michigan, after winning second place at the K-12 InVenture Challenge innovation competition at Georgia Tech.
  • The Boys Varsity Golf team became the first all-African-American and first Atlanta Public Schools team to win a State Championship in golf in Georgia.
  • The Varsity Girls Volleyball Team made school history by advancing to the Area Finals and the first round of The State Tournament.
  • Drew’s Debate Team won the Atlanta Urban Debate League State Championship.

Notable Academic Achievements

  • In 2018, all academies received the Beating the Odds designation from the state, which demonstrates better than predicted academic performance.
  • The Elementary and Junior Academies have been awarded STEAM Certification by the Georgia Department of Education, making Drew the first K-8 STEAM certified school in Georgia.
  • 100% of the Class of 2017 graduated and were accepted to college and offered more than $5 million in scholarships.
  • 97.6% of the Class of 2018 graduated. They were accepted to more than 100 schools and were offered more than $9 million in college scholarships.
  • In 2017, the Senior Academy Reading Bowl Team placed first in the district-wide competition.
  • In 2017, Drew’s Engineering and Design class was a finalist for the InvenTeam grant through MIT, which awards $10,000 to a class to invent technological solutions to real world problems.

Notable Arts Achievements

  • In 2018, the Senior Academy Chorus earned all SUPERIOR ratings at Large Group Performance Evaluation (LGPE), including a superior rating in sight-reading, arguably the most challenging area.
  • More than 70 students participated in the Urban Youth Harp Ensemble.
  • The Senior Academy One Act Drama Team won several awards at the Regional Competition and competed at the Georgia High School Association State One Act competition.  
  • Drew’s Performing Arts Program, which consists of four bands, five choruses, two dance troupes, an orchestra, and a unique and celebrated harp program, held many performances throughout the state and nation.

Notable Athletics Achievements

  • The Boys Cross Country team won the 2015 Class A Public Division State Championship.
  • The Girls Tennis Team won the 2017 Class A Public Division State Championship.
  • The Boys Junior Academy Baseball team won the Middle School Championship for two years in a row.
  • The Boys Junior Academy won the 2017 - 2018 Middle School Basketball Championship.

Notable Faculty Achievements

  • Claudia Fitzwater, Elementary Academy Spanish teacher, won the Governor’s Office for Student Achievement Innovation in Teaching Competition, one of only 36 teachers in the state of Georgia.
  • Emily Isbell, Senior Academy math teacher, spent the spring 2018 semester in Singapore as a Fulbright Scholar.
  • Beth White, Senior Academy engineering teacher, won the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement Innovation Award for her class’s tiny house project.
  • Three Drew Engineering and Technology teachers were awarded the Allen Distinguished Educators Award for their innovative STEAM curriculum.
  • Jennifer Button, a Drew Kindergarten teacher, won the Atlanta Families’ Award for Excellence in Education.
  • Angelica Hairston, Urban Youth Harp Ensemble teacher for the Junior/Senior Academies, received a 2019 Governor's Award for Arts and Humanities by Governor Brian Kemp.
  • The Elementary, Junior, and Senior Academies were awarded Green Ribbon School status by the US Department of Education, which recognizes schools that reduce their environmental impact and educate students about sustainability.