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What's Intrinsic?

About our school

Intrinsic is a new, public charter school. You can learn more about a charter school in our FAQ, but here’s the gist: a charter school is a public school, open to every Chicago student — no testing required — that trades more accountability for more autonomy, which means CPS sets standards and monitors our progress, but we get more freedom to do new things.

So what do we do that’s new? We blend technology with great teaching so our students can own their education and personalize their path to college and career. Our first permanent campus is located at 4540 W. Belmont Ave., and we will serve 7th-12th grade students.

We’ve got awesome teachers. We’ve got cool clubs and sports. And we expect every student who attends Intrinsic to hold herself or himself to the highest standards, both in the classroom and as a citizen of our growing community.

We are E.P.I.C.





belonging naturally; essential.

“access to a high-quality education is
intrinsic to a high quality of life”

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How do I apply?

In order to receive an application, interested students for the 2017-2018 school year should:


Technology in the classroom, huh? Tell me about that!

Being an Intrinsic student means immediate access to the most innovative new technology in schools:

Google Chromebooks: Your own, personal laptop, and the most important tool (other than your brain) in your education at Intrinsic. All you need is a wireless connection — which are strong and plentiful at our beautiful new campus — and you can tap into everything Intrinsic has to offer. If you need help getting Internet off campus, we also offer many solutions such as $10/month WiFi hotspots.

Smart Programs: Tackle fractions with Khan Academy, make claims with ThinkCERCA, and connect everything with Google Drive. Our suite of programs has been (and will continue to be) tested in order to improve your experience at school — and at home, where, with that handy wireless connection and Chromebook, you can go deeper with your work.

Got it. But why do I need to learn on a computer? I like books!

Technology has changed the world: from how we find information, to how we work, and even how we play. For most young people in the U.S.A., a world without the Internet and iPhones and PSPs sounds crazy; but to many of your teachers, that’s the world we lived in not too long ago. And schools are still catching up.

Intrinsic was built so that, when you graduate and go to college and pursue a career, you’ll have the professional skills you need.

Simply: You need to build your school experience around a computer because after you graduate from Intrinsic your world will be built around a computer. And, yes, we like books, too. We have a real library, with real paper books, and we’ll make sure you read them!

OK. But what about the teachers? Are they in the computer?

Technology means better access to teachers. Technology empowers teachers to offer targeted instruction and mentorship so they can help you get to where you want to go. Technology gives our teachers a better sense of you as a student: where you are great and where you are struggling, what you are passionate about and what you’re not. Technology streamlines the classroom and connects traditional tools — textbooks, lesson plans, assignments — in one place. Think of it this way: In a traditional classroom, a teacher has her desk and her files, and a student has his row and his seat and his backpack and his folders and textbooks. At Intrinsic, you have a Chromebook, and your teacher has a Chromebook, and the classroom — which we call a “pod” — is built to fit your needs.

Ummm… what’s a “pod?”

A pod is a big space with flexible furniture that a teacher can reorganize daily to accommodate his lesson plan. A pod makes our technology more usable, creating spaces for independent work, collaboration, instruction, and 1-on-1 time with teachers, which we prize. Learn more about it in our Explore The Pod section.

So are there sports? Music? Art? You know, normal high school stuff?

Yes, yes, yes, and yes. Just to name a few, we have — Basketball, Soccer, Volleyball, and Ultimate Frisbee. We’ll have a band/ensemble group. We’ll have clubs around art: photography, media, design, painting, and more. And we’ll have dances and all that other good stuff.

Explore the Pod

How it works: Space & Rotations


A pod is big classroom with flexible furniture that a teacher can reorganize, daily, to accommodate his lesson plan. A pod makes our technology more usable, creating spaces for independent work, collaboration, instruction, and 1-on-1 time with teachers, which we prize.

The Shade
The Shade is an area of grouped desks or tables, where students work collaboratively and/or independently.

The Coastline
The Coastline is a collection of desks that line the perimeter of the pod, where students work on individual, independent work.

The Exchange
The Exchange is located at the center of the pod, where students conference with and/or receive one-on-one assistance from instructors.

Seminar Room/Lab
The Seminar Room is home to a majority of Social Science courses. Students will debate, discuss, and collaborate in this space. The Lab will host 21st century Science courses. Students will experiment, investigate, and invent in our state-of-the-art labs.

The Big Board/Little Board
The Big Board is the central area for technology-enabled, teacher-led instruction. The Little Board is also tech-enabled, and provides a targeted area for small group instruction and/or collaborative group work.

Take a 360° spin of an Intrinsic Pod




2017-2018 School Year

Thanks for your interest in applying to Intrinsic!
The application for the 2017-2018 School Year is now available here:
The application deadline is Friday March 3, 2017. The lottery will take place on Monday March 6, 2017. If you have any questions about the application process please email

Intrinsic Schools will be hosting 4 Open Houses in the coming months to give students and parents an opportunity to meet our teachers and learn more about the school before applying for the 2017/2018 School Year. If you have any questions about the Open Houses or the application process please email our Admissions team at We look forward to seeing you!

Open House Dates
Thursday October 6th 6:00-8:00pm
Monday November 7th 6:00-8:00pm
Thursday December 1st 6:00-8:00pm
Saturday January 21st 9:00-11:00am

Shadow Days
“Intrinsic Schools will be hosting shadow days in the following months. There are a limited number of spaces available and all spots are filled on a first come first serve basis. If you are interested in having your student participate in a shadow day, please complete the form linked below. Parents will receive a follow up email confirming their shadow day. Please email with any questions.”
Shadow Day Form