National Prep Photo 2003

Keimare, Brittany, Iyanna and Donte are students at National Prep.

National Collegiate Preparatory Public Charter School (National Prep) hosted their Invention Convention in conjunction with the Metro Warriors STEM Organization (MWSO) and IT Computer Wiz Kids in Southeast D.C. on Nov. 12. The school was very proud to open its doors this year to the community at large to come out and see their students’ inventions.

National Prep offers disadvantaged youth in D.C. the opportunity to excel above their circumstances and environments. The program is focused on providing a solution to the urgent need of closing the achievement gap for students in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

The school’s environment provides students with a world-class, hands-on education. Many students have expressed that National Prep makes them feel like they are cared for and that they belong to something bigger than themselves. “It feels like a family at my school,” students said.

Melvin Stallings, STEM Coordinator and Conceptual Physics Teacher at National Prep.

The staff, teacher and student partnerships have resulted in the National Prep achieving a 100 percent high school graduation and college acceptance rate. National Prep also boasts that they offer an International Baccalaureate (IB) program that provides students with an international studies component. Instead of a regular high school diploma, students can receive an advanced degree with a more rigorous grading structure.

Melvin Stallings, STEM Coordinator and Conceptual Physics Teacher at National Prep and Prep student Donte with a STEM remote control car.

Melvin Stallings, STEM coordinator and conceptual physics teacher for National Prep has a background in biology and chemistry with degrees from both Notre Dame and Norfolk State. He formerly worked for the Baltimore City Police Department as a crime investigator. Stallings was excited about sharing his encounter with Jennifer Ross, founder and executive director who hired him to bring STEM to National Prep. “National Prep didn’t have a STEM program, but Ms. Ross gave me a chance,” he said.

“We have a very diverse group of kids here. Students are eager to learn something new,” said Stallings. “Students here ask questions. They want to know how does this relate to physics. How does this relate to the real world? And they express they don’t really want to do this if it doesn’t relate.”

National Prep uses STEM as a vehicle to bridge the gap on how it relates to their daily lives. The school’s motto is, “STEM is for life.” When asked about the future of the program, Stalling expressed his desire to see the program expand. He said, “In the next two years we’d like to have 100-150 students. This program is a good vehicle to obtain scholarships. A lot of our students want to become engineers and scientists so I tell them do summer internships and summer jobs so you can obtain those opportunities.”

In March 2015, National Prep STEM students will travel to California to participate in the national championship competition at the National Society of Black Engineering Conference. To learn more about National Prep visit http://nationalprepdc.org.