The Student News Site of High School for Mathematics, Science and Engineering

The Echo

The Student News Site of High School for Mathematics, Science and Engineering

The Echo

The Student News Site of High School for Mathematics, Science and Engineering

The Echo

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Math Track Monologue


HSMSE offers three academic concentrations: Math, Engineering, and Sinai. Your classes in junior and senior year will depend on your choice of concentration. Engineering offers classes in principles of engineering and robotics, and Sinai (which requires an application process) leans more into science and lab experience. Math Track is a good place to start if you want to go more in-depth with complex math and an introduction to coding.

The life of a Math Track student isn’t like Sinai Track where you get to leave the school campus and go to labs. However, Math Track is a good place to pursue math further, which is practical as it’s so prevalent in the STEM field. According to Junji, a Math Track senior, “Math is more of a foundational subject in STEM… so if you have good math skills it’s very applicable in basically every single STEM field.”  A good math foundation will be very helpful in STEM careers and could bring you farther in a career.  

The best part about Math Track is the teachers. Mr. Coulombe is a great teacher who actively tries to explain coding in a way that is understandable even if you’ve never touched a piece of code in your life. He gives plenty of practice to prepare you for the AP test. Intro to Math and Linear Algebra are great classes because of Mr. Scheiman. He’s a fun and upbeat teacher which helps with learning the complex math he teaches. Scheiman’s classes are great because they’re more about thinking instead of copying and remembering formulas.  

The difference between Math Track and Engineering Track is only one or two classes. You will have a similar class schedule to a student in Engineering Track, but courses specific to Math Track will instead occupy a few of the slots.  

In your junior year of Math Track, you can expect to take AP Comp Sci and Introduction to Mathematics. Depending on your math grade in the sophomore year, there’s a chance to be placed in a fast track for Pre-Calculus. This choice is made by your math teachers, and is independent of which track you choose. In senior year, Math Track students learn special topics in advanced math, such as Linear Algebra and AP Statistics.  

In the senior year of Math Track, you will take Linear Algebra and Advanced topics in Mathematics. Interviewing the seniors in the Math Track, most agree that the courses in the Math Track prepare you for higher level math, and the classes are enjoyable. “Linear is a fun class because it’s not focused on grades and you have to memorize this… it’s extra learning and you learn a lot if you pay attention which is good if you’re interested in pursuing math in the future” says Lily, one of the Math Track seniors. “Even if you’re not interested in math, you still can have fun in this class.” 

Mr. Coulombe, who teaches AP Computer Science and Calculus/Pre-Calculus, says it’s most important what the student wants to do. He suggests you “review what happened in 9th and 10th grade. Did you enjoy your time in math class or drafting? If you enjoy doing math work and want to spend more time doing that, Math Track is a good choice. If you enjoy project based work more and other engineering work, Engineering Track is the way to go.”  There isn’t a large difference between the tracks (excluding Sinai). “It’s effectively one class, the difference between the two (math and engineering)…ultimately the core of everybody’s schedule is still the same.”  

Track selections ARE NOT a career choice. It is possible to switch tracks, but it’s not common and you would have to talk to a teacher that manages the classes to do so, assuming you’re not in the Sinai Track. According to Principal Dolcy, “it’s not common, we don’t do it because it changes our programming…because we have to structure the kids in certain classes… if something extreme comes up or it’s just this really really isn’t working for them, we try to work with them and make an exception.” So if for some reason you decide that the Engineering Track isn’t working out for you, you can switch to the Math Track, and vice versa.

The Math Track is a good choice if you want to expand your mathematical skill set. Math is a strong subject to learn that will help you in many ways in the STEM field. Remember: the choice is up to you. All three tracks are great, so you should pick the one you’re most interested in.

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