FOCUS and the DC Association of Chartered Public Schools are joining forces!

Friends of Choice in Urban Schools (FOCUS) is now the DC Charter School Alliance!

Please visit to learn about our new organization and to see the latest news and information related to DC charter schools.

The FOCUS DC website is online to see historic information, but is not actively updated.

Dear DC Charter School Leaders,

We are writing to share some exciting news: FOCUS and the DC Association of Chartered Public Schools are joining forces! We are delighted to announce that the boards of both organizations have unanimously voted to merge beginning in 2020.

For nearly 25 years, the public charter sector in the District of Columbia has developed into one of the largest, most diverse, most popular, and most accomplished in the nation. The vibrant charter community we are all part of today has developed through individual determination and collective action. FOCUS and the DC Association of Chartered Public Schools have supported the success of the sector since the movement's beginning.

What’s bringing the two organizations together at this moment for public education in the District of Columbia is the mission we share and the need for greater capacity. Both FOCUS and the Association are dedicated to protecting and advancing school quality and choice for DC families by ensuring the autonomy and strength of chartered public schools. By formally merging, we can dramatically increase the work we do on your behalf. The three pillars of this new organization’s work will be advocacy, influence, and school support.

We’ve decided to take this step after several months in conversation with school leaders and supporters of charter schools, almost all of whom expressed the view that the charter movement would be better served by having one strong organization. By teaming up to form a new organization, the DC Association of Chartered Public Schools and FOCUS will provide all DC charter schools with a strong and unified voice.

The Association and FOCUS’s boards have only just made the decision to merge. Over the next several months, our steps will be guided by a steering committee that includes Pat Brantley and Sekou Biddle, the chairs of the two organizations, along with Robert Cane, Alison Collier, Ramona Edelin, Donald Hense, Justin Rydstrom, and Jessica Wodatch. During the transition to the new entity, each organization will continue to operate under its current leadership, Ramona Edelin at the Association and Alison Collier and Anne Herr at FOCUS. One of the first actions of the steering committee will be to begin a search for an executive director to lead the new organization.

Now is the time for our sector to band together. We must continue to strengthen the quality of our schools. We must protect parents’ right to choose the best public school for their children. We must push for continued reforms. We must combat policies that threaten our ability to succeed with every student.

Please feel free to contact any of us with questions or concerns.  We look forward to working closely with all of you in the coming years to build a stronger and more vibrant charter school movement.

Together, we can show what we know is possible in public education.


The Boards of FOCUS and the Association

Maquita Alexander
Daniela Anello
Sekou Biddle
Patricia Brantley
Joe Bruno
Robert Cane
Marco Clark
Morrise Harbour
Ambia Harper
Donald Hense
Allison Kokkoros
Don McGovern
Linda Moore
Marcus Noel
Jennifer Ross
Justin Rydstrom
Joe Smith
Heather Wathington
Jessica Wodatch