The focus of the ISM Upper School is on preparation for success in college and in life. Abstract reasoning and critical thinking skills are emphasized in all disciplines. Our classes include a broad base of traditional academic subjects and reflect the knowledge that college requires.
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%. New students needing additional academic support will be offered additional assistance in the form of peer tutoring, study groups, and/or homework clubs on as-needed basis.
All students are required to complete 26 credits in grades 9-12 to be eligible for graduation at ISM. English, Math, and World Language are taught daily and are mandatory. In addition, students are required to earn a minimum of 3 credits each in Science and Social Studies during the four years of high school (grades 9-12). Fine Arts, Music, Computer, and Physical Education courses are also required for graduation.
Programs Of Study
The International School of Minnesota offers some of the most comprehensive mathematics courses available to high school students. A minimum of Math 3 is required for graduation.
- Math 1 begins with the basics of Set Theory applied 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.
- Advanced courses include Advanced Placement Calculus AB and BC and Advanced Placement Statistics. Advanced students often take post-Advanced Placement level courses in multivariable calculus, linear algebra, and differential equations.
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.
English Language Learner (ELL) support is offered to our non-native English speakers.
Taught by teachers who are native speakers or at a native level of proficiency, world language courses range from entry level to both Advanced Placement Language and Literature in French, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese. 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. Yearly opportunities exist for participation in Concordia Language Villages.
In a curriculum designed to teach the language and methods of science, we emphasize core knowledge. 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, we offer challenging 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 and/or those who may not be native speakers of English, we have courses in Astronomy, Biotechnology & Society, and Science.
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. Grade 10 covers World History, utilizing a college level text. Advanced Placement U.S. Government and Politics is required for Grade 11. Current Affairs is offered as an elective to grades 9-12. Elective courses are also offered in AP Modern European History, AP Human Geography, AP Art History, Philosophy and a Survey course consisting of economics/personal finance, psychology, and America in WWII for grades 11 and 12.
Our goal at ISM is to ensure that all students are given the advantage of an excellent understanding of computer and network technologies, and how to use them. Whether a student intends to pursue the study of computer science or any other field in college, it is sure that a solid understanding of computers and their use will place them a step ahead. The rapidly changing world community we live in continues to require greater and greater levels of computer savvy to succeed, and we are committed to ensuring the success of our students.
Our Computer Science curriculum, which includes Kindergarten through 12th grade, is designed to provide understanding above and beyond rote how-to instruction. By providing a conceptual understanding of the technology, our students gain the ability to use current computers and applications and to easily understand future versions and advancements. We also understand and take advantage of the fact that many Computer Science subjects promote and improve important skills and abilities such as critical thinking, planning, problem solving, organization and communication.
- Grade 6 - Power Point, Excel, using a computer network, and home folders. Computers as a communication tool.
- Grade 7 - Internet and E-mail, Security and PC Health, Introduction to FrontPage
- Grade 8 - Microsoft Access, Fundamentals of Computer Networks
- Grade 9 - Beginning Web Page Development using HTML
The ISM campus has two computer labs, one for use by the Lower School, and one for use by the Upper School. Each lab contains thirty-two networked computers, as well as a printer, scanner and LCD projector. Each student has space available on file servers for safe storage of their work. All of the computers use Microsoft Windows operating systems and are constantly monitored to insure they meet the needs of the students and the variety of courses we offer.
The ISM Physical Education program emphasizes sportsmanship, teamwork, leadership, and self-esteem. We want our students to have an appreciation for both team sports and lifetime activities.
Music & Drama
The Performing Arts Department at ISM offers a comprehensive program in the study of music and drama. Performing groups include Concert Choir and Show Choir, Vocal Jazz Ensemble, Festival Band and Festival Strings, Symphonic Band and Symphonic Strings, and Showchoir Band.