Save the Date: ISM Research Showcase

Event Details:

December 5 from 7pm-8pm @ Heritage High School. This is a come-and-go (gallery-style) event.

What is ISM?

ISM is a course offered at FISD high schools and stands for Independent Study and Mentorship.

It is a unique and very special opportunity for responsible, high achieving students who are juniors or seniors.

It allows students to investigate, through research and a mentorship with a professional, a topic that is of extreme interest to them.  This then helps students determine whether or not they really want to pursue this field in college.

 What is encompassed in the ISM curriculum?


  • Internet articles, magazines, books, etc.
  • Research assessments are due every marking period.  These are “write ups” about your evaluation and opinion of the article; this is not a research paper.
  • Interviews with professionals in your field of study
  • Interviews serve a dual purpose ~ they provide great information regarding what it’s like to actually work in a field of study, and students then ask one of these professionals to be their mentor.
  • Research also helps students generate interview questions and find professionals to interview.

Public Speaking and Presentations

  • Students give various presentations throughout the year about what they are learning.
  • Former ISM students report that learning how to speak comfortably to an audience and to adults in professional settings helped them in scholarship interviews, college admittance interviews, with meeting new people, etc.


  • Eventually becomes a 3” or 4” binder by year’s end.
  • Includes resume, personal mission statement, topic proposal, interview questions, research and interview assessments, product development work, pictures, etc.
  • Very impressive during interviews for college admittance, scholarships, job interviews, etc.  Some former students have used these in college courses.

Resume Writing

  • This will be ready to go for College Night and looks impressive.

Interviewing skills

  • Practice calling to set up appointments, talking to professionals in a business setting, etc. – great practice for scholarship interviews

Business and Social Etiquette

  • Various etiquette rules and “dressing for success” tips are covered.

Topic-related Product Development

  • Occurs 2nd semester with the help of the mentor.

Hands-on experiences in real work environments

  • Students typically see their mentors once a week, but the schedule varies depending on the field of study.  Mentor visits can occur during ISM class time, evenings, weekends, etc.

 Some of the topics students have pursued* 

Veterinary Medicine
Graphic Design
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Sports Law
Internal Medicine
Mechanical Engineering
Environmental Science
Neo-natal Nursing
Fashion Design
Biomedical Engineering
Athletic Performance
Sports Communication
Theater Directing
*(One of the many great qualities about ISM is that the topics students study are as varied and different as the ISM students themselves.)

How do students get into ISM?

  1. Students must pick up an application in the counseling office and return it on time.  Then there’s an interview.
  2. Application includes teacher recommendation forms that need to be completed by all of the applicant’s teachers.
  3. Put ISM on your schedule card; it is not double-blocked.
  4. If you are really serious about ISM, you might consider late arrival or early release for mentor visits.  (This is not necessary, though.)
  5. ISM students must have INTEGRITY and be responsible.


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