What is ISM?

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Independent Study and Mentorship (ISM) is an exciting, rigorous elective offered at Frisco ISD high schools, designed for high-achieving juniors or seniors.

Students interested in taking ISM must complete the application and interview process to be considered for the course. Once selected, students conduct research and interviews throughout the year on their chosen topic of study in order to select a mentor and gain real-world experience. 

The course includes research analysis, original idea generation, product design, and hands-on experiences in a professional environment. The ISM teacher works with the students to develop skills in the following areas:

  • Professionalism

  • Communication/Networking

  • Interpersonal/Interviewing Skills

  • Public Speaking

  • Personal Branding

ISM receives weighted credit (5.5 points).

What is encompassed in the ISM curriculum?

  • Intense Research

  • Topic-related Product Development

  • Original Idea Generation and Product Design

  • Public Speaking and Presentations

  • Resume Writing

  • Interviewing Skills

  • Business and Social Etiquette

  • Hands-on experiences in real work environments

  • Participation in District Events

  • Written assessments of research at highest levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy

What topics are students studying this year?

  • Pediatric Oncology

  • Entrepreneurship/ small business

  • Computer Software Design

  • Graphic Design

  • Entrepreneurship/ small business

  • Landscape Architecture

  • Sports Photography

  • Museum Curator

  • Marketing

  • Elementary Education

  • Astronomy

  • Marine Biology

  • Writing

  • Veterinary Science

  • Constitutional Law

  • Cardio-Thoracic Surgery

  • Culinary Arts

  • Criminal Law

  • Cardiology

  • Quantum Physics

  • Ballet Company Administration

  • Engineering

  • Neo-natal nursing

  • Archeology

  • Optometry

  • Green Energy

*Topics change every year based on what the ISM students choose to research.

What is the application process for ISM?

  1. During the spring semester when the application window opens, students should check with the campus counseling office for detailed information on the application process. 

  2. The application process includes completing the application form, composing an essay, completing teacher recommendation forms, and administrative clearance based on academic eligibility, attendance, and behavior. Applications must be submitted on time.  

  3. Once all applications and teacher recommendations are reviewed, students who qualify for the interview process will be notified of their time slot. 

  4. A selection committee will interview applicants.

  5. Once placement decisions have been finalized, students will be notified of their selection.

  6. Students will need to meet with their counselor to confirm that ISM has been added to their schedule for the upcoming year.

What kind of student thrives in ISM?

Being a student in Frisco ISD’s ISM course is a privilege. ISM is a highly-visible program on campuses, in our district, and at mentors’ places of business in Frisco and other surrounding communities. Mentors give freely of their valuable time, expertise, and resources. Because of this, ISM students must be trusted to conduct themselves professionally and properly in many different situations both in and out of school. Students who thrive and are happiest in ISM embody the following characteristics:

  • have integrity and can be trusted to leave campus to conduct interviews and visit mentors during the school day

  • are highly intelligent and academically driven because the curriculum and schedule are demanding

  • are responsible and meet deadlines

  • can work independently

  • have a strong worth ethic

  • are committed to task completion

  • already have a strong interest in a field and possibly have already done some preliminary research in that topic or done volunteer work in that area

  • are mature

  • make good choices

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