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The Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School opened its doors in September 1998. It is named after Founder Linda Moore’s mother Elsie Whitlow Stokes who was an elementary school teacher in Arkansas for 36 years.


Elsie Whitlow Stokes applied three basic principles that helped her lay the foundation for the successful educational development of over 1,000 students:

  • Every student can succeed academically and become a responsible citizen

  • Every student needs a solid foundation in reading, mathematics, social studies, science, and the arts

  • Every student can contribute to the community through service activities that prepare that student to become a caring neighbor and responsible citizen.


With these principles in mind, Stokes School was created. Located at the time in the basement of St. Stephen and the Incarnation Episcopal Church in Northwest Washington, DC, Stokes School served 35 kindergarten and first grade students and their families in its first year. After adding a grade level each year, by the fall of 2002 Stokes had outgrown its original location, and moved to a new building at the corner of 16th and Park Road, NW. Six years later, Stokes purchased its very own building in the Brookland neighborhood of Northeast DC. This move allowed enrollment to expand from 250 students to 350. The new building includes a music and art room, a library, a turf field, two playgrounds, and a garden. In 2018, Stokes School expanded again, adding the East End campus, which enrolled 140 pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students that year.  It will eventually enroll 400 students.


The Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School prepares culturally diverse pre-school and elementary school students in the District of Columbia to be leaders, scholars and responsible citizens who are committed to social justice. We teach children to think, speak, read, write and learn in two languages: English and French or English and Spanish. With a dual focus on academic excellence and community service, the Stokes School accomplishes its mission by creating an environment of achievement, respect and non-violence.

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DC Public Charter School Board Profiles

Stokes School’s core values include:

  • Integrity

  • Diversity

  • Creativity

  • Service

  • Community

  • Respect

  • Enthusiasm for Learning

  • Compassionate Leadership


The Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School’s vision is to be recognized, respected, and emulated as a premier model of urban education in the United States. 

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