FOCUS supports the diverse set of public charter schools in DC by advocating for and strengthening autonomy, equity, and quality.
Quality public school choices for every DC student.
Advocacy and Communications
As the principal advocate for DC’s public charter schools, FOCUS is a constant presence at city hall, educating elected officials and policy makers about the strength of public charter schools and advocating for their most important needs: equitable public funding, access to facilities, and protecting their autonomy.
FOCUS is one of the few organizations in the District that collects, analyzes, and reports annual performance information on all public schools—charter and traditional. Our online data center is a unique and valuable resource for everyone concerned with school quality, from the public and the media to policy makers and public charter school leaders.
FOCUS offers an array of school services, from its startup program—which provides aspiring public charter school leaders with the tools and guidance necessary for creating successful charter school applications and opening outstanding schools—to its consulting and training programs that highlight best practices for strengthening school performance in areas such as curriculum development, labor law, and data utilization.
Since 1996, when the District’s first charter schools opened, FOCUS has been the primary advocate for public charter schools in Washington, DC. From helping write the law that created public charter schools in DC, to developing the facilities allowance that enables schools to access appropriate buildings, to protecting public charter schools from illegal intrusions into their autonomy, FOCUS’s work has ensured that public charter schools have the necessary freedom and funding to create the current quality school options for DC families. In addition, FOCUS has played a substantial role in ensuring the health of DC’s public charter schools through its comprehensive start-up program as well as a wide variety of technical assistance programs for schools. Today, there are 118 public charter schools in the District serving more than 41,000 students, affording students and families the power of choice in their education.