ISM stands for Independent Study and Mentorship. This class focuses on maturing students into fully functioning individuals in today’s society by finding a mentor in the field that the student can pursue and shadow. However, there are many necessary things to do prior to finding a mentor in order to become successful both in the real world as well as in the class, such as: building a résumé and portfolio, learning proper body language and etiquette, and speaking properly.
At the start of the year, ISM students are told to research a type of career that they would like to pursue by writing research assessment on articles that relate to that field. After enough research, students are told to contact as many professionals as they want to ask for an interview. This interview is not one for mentorship, but rather one that asks professionals about the career they have chosen for themselves. After talking to many professionals, students are then told to choose a mentor that they think best suits him or her and proceed to meet with that mentor over the whole school year. After following that mentor for the whole year, the student is expected to make a final presentation that shows the culmination of the whole year’s efforts within the span of about 35 minutes.
The class is usually headed by only one teacher per school and that teacher is held to be proficient in all the skills stated previously and more. In order to get into the class, every student that applied has to interview with the head teacher, submit an essay writing why they would like to join ISM, as well as some letters of recommendation. The process is quite brutal in that the teacher, usually being heavily professional, will find out which students have been in cheating incidents, how each student is rated by his or her teachers, and many more things in order to properly assess each and every student.