Head of Marketing & Admissions
The focus of the ISM Upper School is on preparation for success in college and in life. Students are encouraged to develop abstract reasoning and critical thinking skills. These higher level cognitive abilities are considered vital to the learning process and are emphasized in all disciplines. Classes offered to ISM students reflect the knowledge that college requires and includes a broad base of experience in traditional academic subjects.
The rigor of the ISM curriculum makes it possible for ISM students to succeed in challenging courses in all subject areas. The International School of Minnesota prepares all of its students for the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), the American College Test (ACT), and the very demanding Advanced Placement Tests of the College Board.
The AP© Exams are subject-specific and are typically taken by fewer than 20% of American high school seniors. At ISM, over 90% of all juniors and seniors are enrolled in AP courses; ISM students sit for an average of 5 AP© Exams; and nearly 50% of ISM students earn AP Scholar distinction as compared to the national average of 17%.
Applying a non-selective admissions policy, The International School of Minnesota takes great pride in the ability to offer admission to a broad range of students.
All applying students must present transcripts from one of their current or previous schools, be successful in the completion of entrance exams, provide recommendations, and present a positive attitude toward learning. No minimum foreign language proficiency is required upon entry.
New students needing additional academic support will be offered additional assistance in the form of after-school labs, homework rooms, and on as-needed basis.
Course and Graduation Requirements
All students are required to complete 26 credits in Grades 9-12 to be eligible for graduation. English, math and world language are taught daily and are mandatory, whereas students are required to earn a minimum of 3 credits each in science and social studies during the four years of high school. Fine arts, music, computer, and physical education courses are also required for graduation.
The International School of Minnesota offers some of the most comprehensive mathematics courses available to high school students. Math is taught as an integrated discipline based on fundamental concepts that allows for the fluidity of the boundaries between the different branches of math.
Math 1 begins with the basics of Set Theory and applies them to solutions of equations, particularly first degree equations in one variable.
Math 2 continues the study of Algebra and initiates our logically-structured Geometry program.
Math 3 completes the integrated study of the traditional Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II sequence.
Several advanced courses are offered, including Calculus and Advanced Placement Statistics. Advanced students often take post-Advanced Placement level courses in Multivariable Calculus, Linear Algebra, and Differential Equations. Completion of a minimum of Math 3 (Advanced Algebra and Intermediate Geometry) is required for graduation.
In Grades 6-9 reading, grammar and composition skills are refined in an accelerated literature-oriented program.
Course work for Grades 10-12 focuses on the in-depth study of American, European and World Literature.
Advanced placement courses are offered to qualified and interested students in Grades 10, 11, and 12.
» World Languages
Taught by teachers who are native speakers or at a native level of proficiency, World Language courses range from entry level to both sections of Advanced Placement Language and Literature in French and Spanish.
The language program goes beyond merely the study of language to encompass the literature, culture and history of the peoples.
The plan of study includes oral and aural skills, reading, grammar and composition at every level of instruction.
In a curriculum designed to teach the language and methods of science, we emphasize core knowledge, and teach a large component of inquiry and experimental projects. We have excellent laboratory spaces, and teach all of our science classes in the labs.
In Grades 6-8, Science includes Physical, Earth, and Life Science classes.
In Grades 9-12, unusual opportunities exist, not only for the science-oriented students, but also for students seeking science literacy. We have rigorous college prep courses in Chemistry, Biology, Environmental Science, and Physics, with Advanced Placement instruction in the latter three. For students unlikely to major in sciences, we have developed courses in Astronomy, Biotechnology & Society, and Science for the non-English native speaker.
» Social Studies & History
Classes include Ancient World History and culture for Grade 6 and Geography for Grade 7. Grades 8 and 9 cover a two-year American history course.
Advanced Placement courses in U.S. Government and Politics, Modern European History, and Art History are available for the upper grades.
Elective courses in Current Affairs, Philosophy, and Social Studies Survey (Economics, History of Modern China, and Psychology).
» Computer Science
Computer classes are required for students in Grades 6-9. Each student is assigned an e-mail account and is instructed in the use of spread sheet programs and integrating word processing and data base management skills.
Functional literacy is a requirement in several areas of computer utilization, including manipulation of the Internet.
Programming in Microsoft Q-Basic and Visual Basic begins in Grades 7-9 and continues with exploration in Visual C++.
Website design and Advanced placement courses are available to interested and qualified students in the upper grades.