The International School of Minnesota (ISM) is a private school located in Eden Prairie, a suburb of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Founded in 1985, ISM offers a unique educational experience for students from preschool to grade 12 by providing an international curriculum that strongly emphasizes world language taught by native speakers. ISM also provides boarding for grades 8-12. With 135+ years of educational experience and a legacy of leadership development and academic excellence, ISM is Minnesota’s most diverse private school delivering a high-value, global education that prepares students to meet the challenges of a changing world. ISM is a member of the SABIS® School network, an international educational organization founded in 1886 comprising 54 schools in 20 countries across five continents.
ISM offers a comprehensive curriculum that includes mathematics, science, social studies, and the arts. The school also strongly focuses on cultural understanding and global citizenship, with students participating in Summer camps and community service projects.
A Class Apart
What sets ISM apart from the rest is its engaged, close-knit community, rigorous globally-focused curriculum, sprawling 57-acre campus, life and leadership skill development, state-of-the-art facilities, robust extracurricular activities offered for all ages, daily world language taught by native speakers, intimate class sizes, individualized attention, dedicated staff, and so much more.
Nestled in a sprawling, picturesque campus in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, a southwest suburb of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area provides the perfect place for learning and exploration. It includes a state-of-the-art performing arts center, a new art studio with pottery wheels/kiln, a new robotics lab, a dining hall with nutritious chef-prepared meals, a professionally designed disc golf course, indoor golf simulator and putting green, an Olympic-sized track and field, and indoor swimming pool.
The campus also features a three-story, cutting-edge boarding residence that can house up to 32 students in private/semi-private rooms and includes a theater recreation center, fitness center, laundry facilities, common areas, secure access with 24-hour security, and two live-in supervisors. Additionally, ISM’s advanced learning technologies are designed with the student in mind and serve as powerful tools for building a solid academic foundation for students. Through e-books, interactive boards, on-demand tutoring videos, and an integrated testing and learning system, students receive the best learning experience.
“The SABIS Student Life Organization® (SLO®) is the heart of our school and a pillar of the SABIS® Educational System. It is a student-led organization that provides students with a platform to develop leadership, self-development, and academic skills while positively impacting their community – both locally and globally,” adds Ms. Patricia, the International Admission and International Student Coordinator at ISM.
Through the organization’s nine departments, students have the power to make a real difference. SLO® prefects explore new skills, start clubs, raise awareness on important subjects by standing up for meaningful causes, organize academic and social events, and plan athletic activities. Prefects also provide academic support through programs such as peer tutoring and shadow teaching alongside faculty members. By taking on this active role, students learn to take responsibility for their emotional, social, and moral growth as individuals and members of a larger community. The real-life experiences students are exposed to help foster their personal development and provide a platform to acquire and refine skills, attitudes, and attributes that give them a huge advantage in university and beyond.
ISM’s faculty comprises highly qualified and experienced educators, many of whom hold advanced degrees and have extensive teaching experience. The school also has a low student-to-teacher ratio, which allows for individualized attention and support for each student. In addition to its academic program, ISM offers a variety of extracurricular activities and clubs for students to get involved in. From sports teams to music and art programs, there is something for every student to enjoy.
ISM offers students a unique and enriching educational experience. ISM’s focus on cultural understanding and global citizenship helps prepare students for success in the 21st century. ISM’s college acceptance rate is 100%; all students pursue a college education at one of their top three choices. ISM is committed to preparing students for success in college and beyond. That is why from 7th through 12th grade, every ISM student and family will receive direct support from ISM’s college counseling department to help them navigate middle and high school and develop in a variety of ways, from exploring career interests to researching colleges to navigating the college admissions processes, and more.
At ISM, students are prepared to meet the admissions requirements of the most competitive universities around the world. With the support of a dedicated and highly skilled team, the ISM team ensures students have access to their universities of choice.
Alongside their in-house counseling program, ISM students can utilize a strong network of professional and academic connections. Students have access to career seminars that feature ISM alumni and community members and an annual on-site college fair that hosts a myriad of universities on campus. ISM Graduates belong to the SABIS® Global Alumni Association, which comprises more than 34,000 graduates from around the world.
Generating an Innovative Spirit
ISM has created an atmosphere of wonder and innovation through the student-initiated development of new clubs and elective courses. Students are encouraged to explore and develop their passions with the support of the ISM community and staff. Whether through the arts, special interest clubs, summer internships, career speakers, and an unrivaled college and career counseling program that starts in grade 7 – ISM learners take an active role in their learning and blaze their own trail to lifelong learning.
The ISM faculty come to ISM with a wealth of experience in and out of the classroom. All staff members hold four-year degrees from accredited universities, 60% hold advanced degrees, 3 have been an AP® Reader, and 1 has been a table lead. “Professional development is a focus at ISM, so we provide continuing education opportunities for our educators and equip them with the knowledge and tools available to optimally educate students,” shares Ms. Patricia.
Additionally, the ISM curriculum is developed by an international network of 350+ educators and support teams and features 2,300 proprietary digital and traditional titles. This means ISM teachers spend time instructing students rather than planning, as the SABIS method also provides rigorous, structured lesson plans. Teachers also have more time to proactively track student performance with regular assessments that identify and fill any learning gaps.
Aiming to be the Best
ISM has several accolades and recognition in different fields beyond education and curriculum. ISM’s High School Math League team has been the AA Minnesota State Math Champions for the past five years; the team is currently in first place in their division and hopes to keep its ranking in 2023. Two ISM juniors (one boarding student) applied to a very competitive Minnesota Legislature Page Program and were selected. Over the last 45 years, the High School Page Program has been dedicated to providing students with an opportunity to learn and serve in the Minnesota House of Representatives. The program is dedicated to providing students with a unique, challenging, and enriching educational experience. Its range of activities and breadth of instruction puts the program in the top tier of such programs in the nation.
One of ISM’s sophomores participated and won the SABIS STARS competition in the Singing category. There were 244 contestants from 36 SABIS Schools in 18 countries competing in 7 categories. The same student received a Superior rating, a perfect score of 40/40, and Best in Site at the Minnesota State High School League Solo and Ensemble Music Contest. Three ISM students have qualified for the American Invitational Mathematics Exam out of 6 in Minnesota to qualify for the next step in the path to the International Math Olympiad.
ISM’s alumni also share a remarkable and successful track record of achievements in film, entertainment, and more. One of their alums has appeared in the Netflix series ‘Trees of Peace;’ another recently became the first Black mayor elected by Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. The actor Doua Moua is also an alum of ISM and is known for his role as Chien-Po in the live-action production of Mulan.
For 2023 ISM is ranked the #1 Boarding School in MN (multiple years in a row), the #1 Most Diverse Private High School (multiple years in a row), and the #1 KG-12 Private School. The International School of Minnesota is accredited by Accreditation International, National Council for Private School Accreditation and Middle States Association, Commission on Elementary and Middle Schools.
ISM aims for growth, both in the number of students enrolled at the school and the continued growth of new offerings on campus. “We’ve recently added a professionally designed disc golf course as well as a golf simulator / putting green for year-round golf instruction,” Ms. Patricia explains. A new robotics lab and art studio were also completed in 2022. A new journalism/media center is on the horizon as we consistently evolve to meet the needs of the study body when it comes to classes, clubs, and activities offered.
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