What is Iowa Mennonite School?
Iowa Mennonite School (IMS) is a four-year high school with approximately 110 students, located four miles west of the Cheese Factory (north of Kalona); established in 1945.
What type of classes are offered?
All IMS teachers are state certified; all state requirements need to be met; students receive diplomas issued by the state of Iowa.
Course requirements adhere to state guidelines, meaning all students take the same amount of science, language arts, mathematics, social studies, etc., as any student in the public school systems.
Electives such as music, art, industrial technology, family & consumer sciences, business, Spanish and agriculture are also offered.
Advanced Placement (AP) courses are available.
In addition, IMS requires students to take one semester of Bible courses per each year of attendance.
All courses and course descriptions are outlined in the Academics section of our website.
How is IMS academically?
Perhaps it would be appropriate to have current parents/students answer that, in terms of how prepared one feels upon leaving IMS. Click here to view some statistics for standardized testing; it should also be noted that over the past 10 years, 90% of IMS alumni attended post-high school educational institutions. In a recent study done in August, 2009 IMS ranked 2nd in the Iowa City area schools.
We hear our students say they are challenged academically, and that they feel well-prepared entering college. Our graduates enter a variety of fields of work: professional, vocational, etc.
Must one be Mennonite to attend IMS?
Absolutely not. While it is true that the majority of students come from Mennonite congregations (75-80%), we welcome, encourage, and urge students and families from all denominations to consider IMS. The only spiritual or religious requirements are the following:
- we ask that the student be open to the teachings of Jesus Christ
- all students are required to attend daily chapel services
- all students must take the required Bible courses
It is important that we learn from one another. IMS teaches from a Mennonite/Anabaptist viewpoint, but does not force the Mennonite position on students.
What does it cost to attend IMS?
There are two entry fee structures, listed for 2012-13 as follows:
- $4,400 for students attending from supporting Mennonite congregations, in which additional
support comes from those churches
- $7,900 for students attending from other-than-Mennonite congregations, in which no additional support comes from said church
Student financial assistance is available upon request, and IMS desires to work with each individual family to make it feasible to attend. In other words, we strongly urge families not to allow finances to be the determining factor in the decision-making process.
What about transportation?
For families living within the Mid-Prairie district, MP is required to provide busing for each student. For families living outside the MP district, they must arrange their own transportation.
We will offer names and phone numbers as a way of assisting with helping families connect with other families within similar locations, for carpooling purposes.
There is a form to submit to one’s school district for the purpose of at least minimal reimbursement for transportation costs.
How difficult is it to leave friends, and/or to make new ones?
Again, the best answers may come from current students as it relates to their own experiences.
No doubt one must expect a whole new set of acquaintances, particularly when coming from a district in which few students attend. The majority of IMS students come from the MP district simply because of demographics.
The beauty of IMS is just that: one can become acquaintances, even close friends, with persons they never knew previously. Much depends on the student’s willingness to branch out and make new friends.
Almost all students know at least someone else upon entering IMS, though not always the case. Upon leaving IMS, however, it is unusual for students not to have gained a whole new set of friends.
Some students also have the ability to maintain friendships from junior high/middle school days, though logistically and schedule-wise, it’s somewhat difficult. It is also a fact that for the most part, students attending IMS are very accepting and welcoming, as everyone knows students come from numerous school districts.
The best solution is to encourage your friends to come with you!!
How do we overcome the ‘distance’ factor . . . bad roads in the winter . . . evening activities?
That is a very real concern, although one parent recently suggested that after the first day of school, it suddenly didn’t seem to be as much of a concern, simply because of the benefits of attending IMS.
There’s no doubt that students driving from a distance spend time on the road. That can be an advantage, to some degree, in the sense that students that carpool can use that time to talk . . . to gather thoughts at the beginning or end of the day . . . to become close with those with whom they travel together.
Local families have opened their homes time and again to friends traveling from a distance. A late night ballgame combined with an early morning music practice, for example, provides a situation where it makes sense for a student to stay overnight locally on occasion.
Regarding inclement weather and less-than-ideal road conditions: you as parents have the ultimate say in whether a student braves the conditions. IMS may have school and you may determine it’s unsafe for your child to travel. Such a student will always receive an excused absence.
Why IMS over my local public school?
We are not in the business of running “attack ads” on the public schools. We do, however, believe IMS can offer students and families something not found elsewhere:
- smaller class sizes lead to more one-on-one relationships . . . between teachers and students, students
and students, seniors and freshmen, etc.
- Bible classes and chapel times can provide an impetus for further spiritual growth, and discussion of
issues unrelated to the classroom subject at hand
- our teachers are not only allowed to teach Christianity, they are required to do so
- IMS has been described as a “safe” environment; students get along, whether first-year or seniors,
whether they run in the same social circles or not
- teachers and students run into one another outside school hours many times, at church, in their
community, at events, etc.
- lifelong friendships are formed, and alumni actually look forward to class reunions
- teachers care about more than just learning inside the classroom
- many have described IMS as a “family atmosphere”
- ask students and families what their experiences have been
Of course we have not touched on every issue or question you may have; we would be happy to answer additional questions, today or any time. Listed below are some IMS administrators that are available to answer specific questions, as are any faculty members or other parents.
Tony Miller (principal) - firstname.lastname@example.org
Dwight Gingerich (guidance counselor/assistant principal) - email@example.com
Candi Schmieder (director of enrollment) - firstname.lastname@example.org
All three can be reached also at 319.656.2073