by Patch Staff
The Georgia Governor’s Office of Student Achievement awarded a $750,000 Race to the Top Innovation Grant to Drew Charter School in East Lake.
The grant will be used to support expansion plans, including next year's planned opening of the high school, Drew Senior Academy.
“We were delighted to learn of this generous grant,” Cynthia Kuhlman, chairwoman of Drew Charter School's board of directors, said in a statement.
“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.”
Seperately, Drew was awarded a $50,000 grant from the Coca-Cola Foundation for being named the 2012 Georgia Charter School of the Year. That announcement was made today at the 10th Anniversary Georgia Charter Schools Association Charter Schools Conference at the Georgia World Congress Center.
The award was established to honor excellence in education throughout the public charter sector in Georgia. This is the second year of this partnership initiative between The Coca-Cola Foundation and the Georgia Charter Schools Association.
Drew was selected from a field of 12 public charter schools across Georgia. The three finalists included Brighten Academy in Douglasville; KIPP South Fulton Academy in Fulton County; and the International Community School in DeKalb County.
Drew will use the Race to the Top grant 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.
The program is being developed by Drew and the Drew Charter School Partnership for Expansion, which includes Drew Charter School, the Georgia Tech Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics and Computing, Georgia State University’s School of Music, the Westminster Schools’ Center for Teaching and New Tech Network.
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 10 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 Innovation Fund is a $19.4 million fund created under Georgia’s 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, businesses and non-profit organizations to advance the applied learning and academic achievement of Georgia’s K-12 students.