Independent Study and Mentorship (ISM) is a rigorous, challenging course offered at Frisco ISD high schools. This program is designed for academically gifted and high achieving students who are juniors or seniors. It receives weighted credit (5.5 points).

Students who want to take ISM go through a selection and application process and are chosen to participate in this exciting, rigorous elective. They select careers or topics of study, and the ISM teacher helps students narrow down and focus this topic of study. Students conduct informational interviews with professionals in this chosen field and from this process, they carefully choose a mentor with whom to work for the remainder of the year (usually second semester).

The ISM teacher guides and helps the students with this important interview and mentor selection process. The course includes intense research, original idea generation, original product design, and written analysis of research. Furthermore, the ISM teacher works with the students on professionalism, time management, effective oral and written communication, interpersonal skills, interviewing, resume writing, and goal setting to help prepare these students for success in their mentorship experience and in life after high school. The ISM teacher follows each student's progress closely, communicates often with mentors, and makes sure each student stays task committed.


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