Frisco ISD’s Independent Study and Mentorship (ISM) Program is a course I feel blessed to take part in. As a GT student, I’ve always enjoyed learning new things and facing academic challenges. However, despite the good grades and self-awareness that often comes with being a student in the FISD Gifted and Talented program, I have always had a difficult time narrowing down my interests for a potential career.
So many classes in school were enjoyable because each brought a new sense of discovery and adventure. This year, I turned to the ISM program because I decided I wanted direction and a better understanding of the working world. What I have received out of the program however, is so much more.
The most important lesson this class teaches is responsibility, as students are given the rare freedom to work independently on assignments and projects of their own design. Although there are rubrics and template examples, all student work is original and creative.
Another extremely useful aspect of this program, one that took me by pleasant surprise, was the level of interaction students have with professionals. A significant portion of the research stage involves interviewing professionals on a weekly, if not daily, basis. After conducting just six interviews, I have gained a greater sense of professionalism, greatly improved my time management skills, and simply learned how to better communicate.
Thirdly, the ISM course has allowed me to discover where my true interests lie. I have realized my passion for reading, education, and above all else, helping others; all of which are ever-present in the field of Library Science. I now have the privilege to learn more about my topic of study, Library Science, from librarians with real experience and perspectives.
I would recommend the ISM program to any dedicated student curious about their future and willing to work hard to achieve their goals. For those of you too young to enter the course, I would suggest you begin evaluating your interests. Identify the aspects of classes you enjoy as well as those you do not care for, and then begin investigating careers that focus on your favorite elements. Also consider speaking with professionals in your career of interest; you never know what connections your family or friends may have! Learning more about the jobs that you’re considering is a fun and exciting way to begin brainstorming for the future. It will also help you greatly when looking to apply for ISM, a program I’m certain any alumnus would recommend.
Delaney Morton is a junior at Heritage High School and an ISM student.
Speaking of alumni, here is what a couple of Delaney's predecessors had to say:
ISM was without a doubt the most helpful course in my high school career. Through ISM, I learned skills that have brought forth many academic and career opportunities. Because of ISM, I have the confidence to present myself as a professional young adult; one who can be taken seriously in the business world.
- Aila Irshad
Heritage 2015, UTD Honors Program
ISM was an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that taught me professionalism and confidence while affirming my career choice. It was not an easy class but one that motivated me to expand my comfort zone and achieve a much higher level of success. ISM also helped me network with successful professionals in my desired career field as well as form long-lasting friendships with my similarly-driven classmates. ISM was definitely one of the best programs I have ever participated in and I wouldn't change the experience for the world.
- Deborah Walker
Centennial 2015, TWU Honors Program