San Francisco History

Drew School


Drew School Aims at individual Attention to Pupil's Needs

The Drew School, now in its nineteenth year, has from its very inception taken for its leading motive the careful study of each individual pupil and the adaptation of the instruction so that each boy or girl might progress in his studies at a rate most compatible with his or her particular requirements and mental endowment.

While public educators have been endeavoring to conform the school curriculum and methods of class teaching to the needs of the child, this institution, under the able guidance of its founder and head, John S. Drew, has gone ahead quietly and steadily for about two score years applying a practical system of individual teaching which has produced such striking results that the school may be said to stand in a class by itself. Indeed, an inspector for the Federal Government has declared that it is "without any doubt the best school of its kind in California."


The dominating principle employed is the elimination of the size of classes to groups ranging in size from three or four up to ten or twelve pupils. In certain studies the classes progress as a whole, maintaining an even rate of advancement for all. But within these small groups the teacher can easily preserve individual contact with each student so that no one is either retarded or unduly accelerated to keep pace with the speed of the group. In other subjects, notably mathematics, drawing and languages, each student of a group is taught separately, being required at all times to make the maximum progress of which he is capable without undue crowding.

This scheme of things is a cure for two kinds of evils which are prone to arise in the public schools, with their large, overcrowded classes and "wholesale" teaching. The first is discouragement of the slow-minded through inability to keep the median pace of the class, or through encountering difficulties which they cannot overcome unaided. The second, which affects the quick-minded students, is the absence of incentive for putting forth their best efforts, because the median pace is too slow to demand exertion on their part. The ideal condition is that which keeps each student in a healthy state of sustained endeavor, and which imparts a feeling of confidence and satisfaction, the outgrowth of a realization of steady gain in knowledge and mental grasp.


The practical attainment of this ideal with the vast majority of its position which the Drew School holds in the educational world. Not only in San Francisco and in California at large, but up and down the Pacific Coast and quite widely throughout the Middle West and the East, the name Drew stands for thorough teaching, sound scholarship, rapid and effective preparation for higher institutions of learning and lasting results, reflected in the success of its graduates in their college work.

Visitors to the Drew School are impressed with the atmosphere of businesslike application to work which characterizes it. In the simple, well-lighted study hall the students who are not attending recitations are found quietly preparing their lessons under the supervision of a versatile teacher, who is ever ready to give help as difficulties arise.


The cheerful, lightsome recitation rooms, laboratories and drawing rooms are just the right size for the small instruction groups which occupy them. By the individual attention and close follow-up growing out of this arrangement, with the all-year session available for those desiring it, the high school course leading to college matriculation is completed in the brief space of two years. Frequently this time is further reduced by increasing the number of studies taken at one time. A like reduction of time prevails in the elementary department of the school, which is accredited to all public and private high schools.

Annapolis, West Point and Coast Guard cadets, to the number of 150 have passed through this school into the service of their country. Besides, a large number of young men have obtained commissions in the army, the navy and the marine corps after pursuing the special courses given in the school for that purpose. In seven recent examinations for these various services, 100 per cent of the candidates of the school were successful.


A finely organized night department, under the management of George Drew [sic], with courses paralleling those of the day department, provides opportunity for many working young men and women to complete the high school course and obtain a diploma of graduation leading to college admission for those who so elect.

'Tis Learned Who Succeed in This Land

{Picture of school, students, and John S. Drew}

One of the largest and most successful schools in San Francisco is the Drew School, which boasts day and night classes in various interesting and invaluable subjects. The inset presents John S. Drew, principal and head master.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle, 8 August 1926, page 4SC.


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