Finding Community at Intrinsic

Debbie’s Story

As a mom, I always wanted to make sure that my three wonderful (and very different) children got the best education that they could, where I could trust that they’d be safe and learn valuable life skills. In search of a high-quality school, my oldest son attended several high schools before finding one that suited his needs. When it came to my second child, Naomi, I knew she’d need something different. She is an incredibly ambitious young woman. She applied for many selective enrollment schools, but unfortunately was not accepted. We were pretty upset, but around that time, I also saw an advertisement for Intrinsic, a charter public school, that just opened. They didn’t have a permanent building yet, which I thought was a little weird, but they did have new and innovative ideas on how to educate students. We went to a few meetings at Intrinsic where they spoke to us about what learning would look like at Intrinsic and where their temporary campus would be Downtown. Their education was focused on post-secondary success, which we knew would be perfect for Naomi. We signed her up and she was a part of their founding class. She was so successful that when Intrinsic opened up a junior high, our younger daughter, Mia, started going there too. The girls didn’t like that they went to the same school at first, but they got used to it.

Outside of their outstanding academics, another thing that I love about Intrinsic is that they have such a strong community of parents and family members. The teachers and staff members welcome us into the school, with any questions or concerns we have. They really build a school culture that feels more like a family. I love it.

Naomi’s Story

Like my mom said, Intrinsic not my first choice. The school was so new that I didn’t even know about it until mom showed me the advertisement. I was skeptical, but I agreed to give it a try. I am so glad that I did. From day one, I loved going to school. It was so different from the education that I was used to — I traveled Downtown, worked independently, and used technology on a daily basis. I felt like I was in college already!

After my four years,  I graduated at the top of my class. Now that I’m out of high school, I realize that they did really prepare me for life after high school. One way that they did this was through a post-secondary course where we visited and researched colleges.  It eventually helped me figure out which colleges I wanted to attend and prepared me to apply. They helped me every step of the way. I was accepted into  the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, majoring in civil engineering.

One of the most unique things about Intrinsic was the culture. I was a very shy eighth grader. Coming into a new high school, where I knew no one was scary. But the teachers and staff were so friendly that I felt very welcome there. There were no cliques. We were all good friends and still are today.