Inter-American Magnet School was founded by two north side mothers who dreamed of a multilingual, multicultural school where children from varied backgrounds would be taught in English and Spanish in an atmosphere of cultural pride. Adela Coronado-Greeley and Janet Nolan took their idea to the community and then to the Board of Education. The Board agreed to support a bilingual preschool where Spanish-speaking children could prepare for kindergarten. In September 1975 the preschool opened in the old Bartelme School in Rogers Park. Janet and Addy Tellez were the only teachers and a single bus provided transportation for the students. At the end of the year, the Board considered dropping the program, but instead, the Parent Advisory Council (PAC), headed by Adela Coronado-Greeley, persuaded the Board members to expand the program and add a kindergarten class. In 1977 the Board extended the program to first grade and, subsequently, a grade was added each year.
In 1978, IAMS moved into John V Le Moyne Public School, east of Wrigley Field. As the school grew, parents/guardians lobbied for the school to have its own site. In 1983, that effort paid off and the school moved to a temporary location at 919 W. Barry. Two years later the first class of eighth graders graduated from IAMS.
In 2006 the school moved back to the Le Moyne building, after a $7 million renovation by the Board of Education. The school now provides bilingual and multicultural education for students in pre-K through 8th grade. The tradition of parental activism continues, with IAMS families deeply involved in every aspect of school life.