High School for Math, Science and Engineering offers students community spirit, rounded academic program
Surrounded by striking neo-Gothic buildings and lush green lawns, students at the High School for Math, Science and Engineering get more than a taste of college life.
They use the same gym and cafeteria as students at the City College of New York campus where the high school is located. During breaks from classes, the high schoolers get to stretch their legs and play Frisbee on the quad.
But the 475-student school also offers a supportive, tight-knit community to help teenagers in the vital years before college.
“We believe in developing the whole child — academically, socially and emotionally,” said Principal Crystal Bonds. “That’s what works for us.”
The rigorous academic program features an extended 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. day. Students have two 90-minute classes in the morning and two 90-minute classes in the afternoon. In between is a 45-minute lunch period and one elective class.
All students take four years of math and four years of science. Freshman take two math classes.
Each must choose a concentration by their junior year: the Mount Sinai biomedical research program, mathematics or engineering.
The faculty includes former engineers and architects.
“Not only do students earn high school and college credit, they also have experienced professionals bringing what they know into the classroom,” said Bonds.
There are also opportunities to get hands-on experience outside the classroom.
Students in the Mount Sinai program take part in biomedical research and shadow doctors. They use their architecture and engineering skills in an exercise to create an urban park in response to a city request for proposals.
And the teens can get their hands dirty at the RoofPod garden on the nearby Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture, where they learn about culinary skills as well as the culture and science of food.
German, known as the language of engineers, is taught at the school along with Spanish. Bonds calls German a “leveler” since it is equally challenging to all members of the diverse student body.
While math, science and engineering are the focus of the school, the arts and humanities are still a strong part of the curriculum.
Colorful and detailed student artwork lines the halls and students play musical instruments in an elective class.
Along with the demanding course load there is a strong effort to allow students to decompress with fun activities such as a talent show, ice cream days and even an alcohol-free Oktoberfest.
A new wellness center provides a place for students to receive free counseling or just sit and relax.
“The kids stop by whenever they are feeling overwhelmed or they are feeling stressed,” said Kristina Gowin, a mental health clinician at the Wellness Center. “My door is always open.”
Senior Carin Queener, who is planning a career in engineering, said she selected the school because of its programs and close-knit atmosphere.
“I came in as a home schooler and I wanted a small school with a community,” she said.
“The engineering track at the school has really provided me with a lot of great opportunities to explore engineering with real hands-on practice a lot of high school students don’t get.”
Reposted from the NY Daily News