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Northeast high school considered one of best-kept secrets in D.C. Public Schools

Phelps ACE calls itself the first public high school in the nation to provide college prep and vocational education exclusively dedicated to design careers and construction trades. (Kellye Lynn/ABC7)

Phelps Architecture, Construction and Engineering High School in Northeast wants to be at the leading edge of high-tech education.

“It is a school that is focused on preparing students for college through engineering and through career and technical education,” assistant principal Desepe de Vargas said.

Phelps ACE calls itself the first public high school in the nation to provide college prep and vocational education exclusively dedicated to design careers and construction trades. The building is used as a form of instruction with exposed plumbing and floors laid by students.

"I came to this school because I have a very immense background in technology and they specialize in architecture and engineering,” 10th grader Karreone Goddard said.

The project-based learning is supported by core subjects like English, math, history and world languages.

"This is the only school in D.C. that has an architecture program," said Andrea Martinez, who teaches architecture at the school. "We have a lot of partnerships with local organizations. That helps foster community involvement, internships and job shadowing."

Said 17-year-old and aspiring English teacher Breyana Kirkpatrick, "Even if you don't want to go into STEM, this is the place to be. It teaches you more than just engineering or carpentry, it teaches you about life."

Phelps has a graduation rate of 95 percent for 2017, compared to the District's average graduation rate of 73 percent.

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