Everyone has a place at Intrinsic
By Josie Bodeker & Darren Bodeker
This time last year, we were in a panic. Our daughter was in the middle of the high school search process. She’s a diverse learner and went to an amazing elementary school that took care of her and her learning style. But high school, we knew, would be a different ballgame entirely. We’ve heard from friends that most high schools just do not provide the same kind of support to diverse learners that the elementary schools do. Private schools are just out of our price range. Specialized high schools seemed like they would isolate her move. The only other options seemed like the neighborhood high school and that didn’t feel right either.
Throughout this process, we spoke to friends and family members to ask for advice. Josie spoke with a colleague at work whose son went to an Intrinsic school and successfully graduated and is now in college. Josie immediately brushed it off – her friend’s son was not a diverse learner. What could she know? But her friend persisted and we went to an Intrinsic open house, where we saw first-hand how Intrinsic nurtures ALL learners.
Darren works in the traditional public school system. He was used to classrooms with large groups and one teacher, where he felt that our daughter would just get lost. At Intrinsic, students are grouped into “pods” and learn with a variety of adults at their own pace and by using their own working styles.
We loved Intrinsic, applied, and she was accepted. At first, she was headed to the Belmont Campus, but when the Downtown Campus was approved and opened up, she was offered a spot there. It’s so nice. She’s in the founding freshman class – no older kids!
Does she complain about school? Sure, she’s a regular teenager. We were hesitant to go to her first quarterly conference, nervous about what the teachers might tell us, but what we were inspired us. Most schools do a Report Card Pickup. At Intrinsic, students present to their families and teachers on their goals and progress made toward them. These are the same skills – creating and presenting – that we use regularly at work It’s amazing!
She does enjoy the long class blocks. Classes at Intrinsic run for 90 minutes. During this time, they learn new information and can review old information as is necessary. Students are grouped together. No one knows who the “diverse learners” are – because ALL kids are honored to learn in their own unique way. It’s amazing! The labeling is gone. That’s what’s been the most important for us all along.
Also, their focus on what comes after high school is amazing. WE never got this type of support. We never got this type of guidance to take tests, reflect, and make plans. At Intrinsic, we talk about goals and how to achieve after high school from Day 1, no matter what those goals are.
One final thing we’ll say is that we love the new Downtown Campus location – in the heart of the Loop. When she travels down there, students see and interact with people that come from all walks of life. They have PE class in Millenium Park and have regular access to Chicago’s world-class sites. They go on field trips. They see shows. She even sees her school building in movies – it’s a thrill.