Learning At Drew

Learning at Drew is all about understanding; not just the memorization of information for the sake of passing an exam. It is our belief that information delivered to a student that doesn’t seem to have relevance in the life of that student becomes quickly forgotten.

True understanding is long lasting and therefore far more useful than simply knowing. Understanding something means you can explain it, teach it, and make someone else understand it. 

While ‘knowing’ can be temporary, understanding is yours to keep. It is active and can be applied or used in multiple contexts, built upon, related, extrapolated, and thought about critically. 

Understanding is also liberating. It allows you to engage deeply, to approach solutions creatively, often leading you to discover your voice, your purpose, and your passions. Understanding is also empowering as it will instill in you a sense of agency in your ability to translate what you learn into meaningful action.
We want you to be able to apply the understandings and skills developed during your four years at Drew in a variety of situations and conditions that you will be exposed to; even those none of us cannot anticipate at this time. It is this concept of understanding that is at the heart of a Drew education.

As you review our course catalog, learning outcomes, bell schedule, and more below, we trust you will find evidence of our commitment to constructivist teaching, deep understanding, and real-world application.  

Curricular Review

What is a curricular review?

At Drew, it's a multi-year, community-wide process aimed at defining an educational philosophy and aligning every aspect of the classroom experience with that philosophy across disciplines and grade levels. The aim is to ensure what a Drew student learns is building toward mission fulfillment.


List of 3 items.

  • Our Learning Outcomes

    Our students will navigate and shape a world dramatically different than the one their teachers entered.

    With the world changing quickly, education must also adapt so that our graduates are well-prepared to thrive in a future we cannot anticipate.

    During the 2017-2018 school year, a committee of Drew faculty and staff spent significant time thinking through the skills and mindsets we believe will prepare our students to carve their own paths through a changing world.
    Intellectual Engagement: A Drew graduate actively engages in the pursuit of knowledge in order to fulfill a deep commitment to learning about the world, themself, and their place within it.

    Creative and Critical Thinking: A Drew graduate explores, questions assumptions, applies an investigative lens, and utilizes a rich imagination in order to envision and express innovative approaches to challenges.

    A Drew graduate cultivates effective written, spoken, and visual expression, and understands the power of quiet and listening, in order to engage in open and substantive exchange with those around them.

    Global Perspective: 
    A Drew graduate demonstrates curiosity about the diversity of the human experience in order to pursue an egalitarian, multicultural perspective that values interconnectedness, justice, and peace.

    A Drew graduate displays honesty and compassion for fellow humans in order to approach each encounter with self-knowledge, kindness, and empathy.

    A Drew graduate practices mental, physical, social, and emotional wellness in order to maintain a productive and fulfilling life of learning, growth, and meaning.
  • Our Process

    The curriculum review process at Drew is rooted in eight working teams:
    • English
    • Social Studies
    • Science
    • Mathematics
    • World Languages
    • Visual Arts
    • Performing Arts
    • Socio-Emotional Learning

    The chair of each team collaborates closely with our Academic Dean,  as they drive toward the conviction that students need deep understandings for their knowledge to belong to them, to be alive for them, long after they graduate.
  • Our Consultant: Understanding By Design

    Good learning requires good coaching. As we engage in this process of curriculum review, we’re working with the experts at Understanding By Design (UBD), foremost experts on curriculum review who coach schools worldwide.  Read more about the Understanding By Design team and their work here.

    Drew is partnering with Sandy Kleinman of the UBD team, who is guiding us through this process of reflection through campus visits and close collaboration with Drew's Deans.

    It is important to note is that the UBD team does not tell a school what to teach; instead, the UBD team provides a lens through which a school brings into focus what it wants to teach. UBD will not shape Drew’s curriculum or encourage us to teach students any particular thing. As our coach Sandy Kleinman tells Drew’s teachers, her team’s goal is only “understanding, by design”. Entirely up to Drew is what exactly Drew's students will understand.

Bell Schedule

Drew’s unique schedule is carefully designed to maximize your learning. An overwhelming amount of research has emerged that decisively shows how more sleep in the morning benefits teenage health and performance in school. That’s why at Drew, the school day begins at 8:50AM. 

The bell schedule follows Periods 1-7, then repeats. Each week, the schedule will appear different, though the 1-7 rotation will remain the same. Each class meets for 75 minutes and meets every other day. 

At Drew, you’ll be enrolled in six classes each semester with one class period free as a prep period. Drew students like to use that prep period to stay on top of their schoolwork, socialize, or meet with teachers. or project preparation. You are allowed off campus during lunch to explore and take advantage of Drew’s Pacific Heights location.

Graduation Requirements

Department Requirement Courses & Notes
English 4 years English 1, English 2, English 3, and English 4
Social Studies 3 years World History, U.S. History, 1 Elective Class
Mathematics 3 years* Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2 or Data Analysis
Science 3 years* Biology, Chemistry, and Physics
World Languages 3 years Three years of language, at least two of which are consecutive and in the same language.
Visual and Performing Arts 2 years Two of any full-year Visual or Performing Arts courses
Academic Electives 7 courses Seven additional courses from any of the above disciplines

* Although the graduation requirement is three years, students are strongly encouraged to take four years in order to deepen their academic experience and position themselves well for college.
Drew knows and believes in teenagers. We engage each student in a process of intellectual discovery to develop an individual voice, the confidence to express it, and the empathy to understand its impact.
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