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Program Overview



ISP sees a high-quality education as a fundamental right of every child. ISP believes all children deserve respect, encouragement, and opportunities for learning. These key components of the ISP program provide a rigorous foundation for students, allowing them to gain knowledge, link skills, and develop successful attitudes. ISP provides, as its cornerstone achievement, successful well-rounded students, who are prepared to meet the challenges of higher education, explore career interests and succeed as responsible and engaged global citizens.


Terry Young, Head of House, Independent Studies Program


Congratulations Seniors who earned an ISP Certificate.  See the ceremony HERE

Poolesville High School Independent Studies Program House Informational Meeting  (February 12, 2020)


Upcoming Events


ISP Certificate Requirements

The ISP Certificate is for that student who desires to go above and beyond the basic graduation requirements and pursue a rigorous, focused plan of study.

Freshman and sophomores will be encouraged to take honors or even AP classes, if appropriate. They will have opportunities to explore college and career pathways and to seek learning experiences outside of the classroom by participating in educational field trips and leadership opportunities. By the end of sophomore year, when they meet with their counselors, students should decide on a focused plan of study in one of the ISP areas of focus, to be completed in the junior and senior years.


The senior portfolio will record/provide evidence of the following requirements*:

  1.  4.0 credits in a concentration area—Students will provide copies of their 4th marking period report card for the 11th grade and 3rd marking period report card for the 12th grade, or an unofficial copy of the most recent transcript, proving completion of the required courses. A credit check form is available in Counseling Services to help students keep track of requirements.
  2. Journal Reflection—For each course in the area of focus, students will submit a one page paper which links the content and concepts taught in the class to the chosen college/career pathway.
  3. Field Experience Hours in the area of focus—Students will complete at least 15 hours of work (paid of volunteer)committed to exploring or providing service to the chosen career pathway and write a reflection on the work completed.  Depending on the experience, SSL hours could be earned toward those required for graduation.
  4. Senior Portfolio Presentation before a review committee - This culminating presentation will contain a visual aid and oral component.

*Rubrics will be provided for all components of the Senior Portfolio


Rubrics for ISP Students  

Field Experience Verification Journal Reflection Senior Presentation


ISP Coursework (Printable Version)

Coursework ISP 2018 2019

Mission Statement

The mission of the ISP program is to challenge local Poolesville students to create a rigorous, focused course of study based on their key interests within the program’s framework. The in-depth study available through participating in the ISP program allows students to concentrate their studies in the area of their greatest interests, further preparing these young people for success with higher education and careers.

The Independent Studies Program philosophy insures that:

  • All students have a rich academic experience they would not have at any other MCPS school
  • All students have access to pathways focused in: Biological & Physical Science; Cultural & Political Studies; Music/Arts/Media Studies; Technology & Math Studies; or Original Studies
  • All students recognize the unique opportunities and experiences in which they, as PHS students, participate.