MISF protects the minds and hearts of all Minnesota kids by safeguarding the state's K-12 private and independent education system.
The Minnesota Independent School forum (MISF) has served private and independent high schools since 1976. Hundreds of students from low-income families annually receive scholarships through MISF, and approximately 85,000 nonpublic K-12 students benefit from MISF’s programs, services, education, research and public policy support. The most significant indicator highlighting the success and influence MISF has had in the state’s education community is the collective graduation rate among its member schools. MISF member schools combined have a graduation rate that measures 99% regardless of race, ethnicity, or family income of the students. Additionally, 95% of the students who graduate from MISF schools continue on to postsecondary education. It goes without saying that the private education sector is an important contributor to the welfare of the state and to the lives of the many kids and families who live in Minnesota. MISF president, Jim Field often states, "The average nonpublic school serves 140 students or fewer. The school principal manages the school, teaches classes, serves as a coach, bus driver, and student counselor." Private schools produce well-educated and well-prepared students who are successful at the post-secondary level and in the work force, irrespective of race, ethnicity, or economic background. Additionally, the private school sector in Minnesota also significantly raises the state’s faltering achievement gap---a gap that is the worst in the nation. MISF gives all kids a chance to make their lives better, regardless of race, ethnicity, social status, background, or income level. One of the main ways MISF helps all kids receive the education that best meets their needs and helps them escape poverty is through its need-based scholarship program. In 2008, MISF launched DreamMakers, a tuition assistance program that connects economically disadvantaged students with sponsors who support the kids financially and through personal, mentoring-type relationships. The program was designed to secure funding for a student's entire high school career, thus freeing a family from the financial burdens that create unnecessary stress in the home and ultimately affect the student’s ability to learn in the classroom. MISF also has a general need-based scholarship program without the element of a personal connection. This program helps hundreds of financially disadvantaged young people annually. Another aspect of MISF is its Math and Science Education Initiative which was started in 2005 to enable member schools to significantly increase investments in technology-related equipment, training, and curriculum. The initiative has supported the delivery of an annual professional development seminar focused on STEM educators serving grades 4-12. The conferences have presented teachers with a learning environment where they experience innovative ways to maximize STEM technology investments through demonstrations, curriculum showcases and online resources. MISF is emerging in greater degrees as the voice and catalyst in sustaining private and independent education in Minnesota. The state cannot afford to diminish or suffer the loss of representation for an industry as beneficial and productive as nonpublic education—a sector that equates to the largest school district in Minnesota. Please help MISF help more Minnesota kids by giving a generous gift today. Thank you!