Learning at Drew

Learning is Understanding

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.

"The Why"

Each academic department at Drew has been engaged in the process of reorienting learning around our mission and learning outcomes by answering the essential question of “Why?”

If you can Google it, it probably needn’t be  memorized. But more importantly, if you don’t understand why you need to know it or how you’re going to apply it in real life, then you’re  not really learning.

At Drew, you’ll always be asked to think about the “why” when considering the impact your newfound knowledge has on you, your life, your community, and the world.

So what does this all mean for your classroom experience at Drew? 

It means more discussions, more problem solving, more opportunities to apply your new understanding to the real world and more projects. It means that your work will be relevant, impactful, and even energizing; most certainly not dry, passive and disjointed. 

With a 9:1 ratio of students to full time faculty, and an average class size of 14, the Drew classroom is an engaging learning environment designed to channel your curiosity and creativity into  purposeful excellence.

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.

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 8:50 a.m. 

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.

Academically Challenging and Innovative Courses

At Drew, we believe learning should be both challenging and fun. If you’re really going to learn something, simply memorizing and repeat-ing information won’t cut it.

Our curriculum is designed to help you develop an understanding of the world around you and your place in it. We recognize that this can be hard work.  However, if what you are learning really matters, the hard work is worth it. 

Drew’s teachers specialize in this kind of rich, meaningful learning. We want to teach you how to think on your own. We want you to speak with conviction about what you under-stand and believe. And we want you to listen and collaborate to evolve your thinking. To do that, we provide classrooms and  contexts where teachers present engaging materi-als and set you loose to tackle great projects. You have room to fail a bit, too: to get up from those tumbles, to learn from them, and to keep moving forward. That’s the kind of resilience that carries you far in life.

Our curriculum is full of amazing opportunities to learn in this way across all four years of high school. You will build a solid foundation in your first few years before exploring a rich array of academic electives that allow you to carve your own path. We encourage you to explore our course catalog below. 

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 2 years** Two consecutive years of American Sign Language, French, Mandarin, or Spanish
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.
**Although the graduation requirement is two consecutive years in one language, students are strongly encouraged to take at least three consecutive years, if not four, in order to deepen their academic experience and position themselves well for college.

Experience What High School Should Be

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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