Academics at Acero Schools
Our educational model is built from a foundational belief that all students can learn and achieve at high levels. We are committed to providing every student a complete and comprehensive course of study.
At Acero Schools, our curriculum is anchored in the Common Core standards. We are committed to supporting the ingenuity and creativity of teachers in providing standards-based instruction utilizing the most effective instructional resources available.
We place an emphasis on community engagement and the unique background all Acero students and staff members bring to the classroom. By exploring academic content through the lenses of diverse experiences, students begin to evaluate their rich history, their place in modern-day American society and their roles as authors of a bright future.
In addition to core courses, Acero Schools provide all students with a balanced program that includes a combination of instruction in Visual and/or Performing Arts, Physical Education, and Spanish Language Arts. Acero places a high value on bilingualism and seeks to foster this asset, supporting students to pursue the Illinois and CPS Seals of Biliteracy. These courses are considered an integral component of our academic model and are organized to address Illinois Learning Standards.
To ensure that all students are able to engage in a high-quality learning experience, Acero teachers create thorough unit and lesson plans that are tailored to individual student needs at each stage of the learning process. Using a “backwards design” approach, teachers identify the desired results, build the necessary background knowledge and prerequisite skills, and facilitate collaborative and individualized learning experiences that will enable each student to attain mastery.
Assessment and Data-driven Instruction
Assessment is a critical component of Acero Schools’ academic program, beginning with standards-based assessments for each lesson and unit, and building toward periodic interim assessments to gauge students’ cumulative mastery of standards. These curriculum-based assessments provide critical information utilized to inform differentiated supports for students at all levels of academic proficiency.
Students also participate in standardized tests across the network, consistent with Illinois State Board of Education requirements. (A complete list can be found in the student handbook.)
Acero Schools is committed to ensuring that every student with disabilities receives a free and appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment and has access to age or grade-appropriate public education curriculum and all program options at their respective Acero Schools campus.
Acero Schools provides exemplary educational programming for students with disabilities, a direct result of using data-driven practices while also utilizing a deep knowledge and understanding of disability and disability-related issues.
Acero Schools is in compliance with applicable federal and state regulations in the same manner as all other public schools, with regard to the provision of support and services in the least restrictive environment for all students with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or Section 504 Plan. Students are expected to meet personalized, yet rigorous, targets designed to improve educational outcomes and provide increased opportunities for independence. We are committed to providing a caring community of dedicated staff and involved parents that meet the diverse academic, social and emotional needs of all Acero Schools students in a respectful and positive environment.
English Language Learners
Students identified as English Language Learners comprise more than 30 percent of our total student population. Acero Schools is fully committed to honoring and building upon all of the cultural and linguistic resources with which our students come to school. While we recognize that a vital skill for success in school is a strong command of the English language, we also seek to support student’s development as bilingual and bi-literate scholars. As such, Acero Schools works directly with school leadership to ensure that they are employing the most effective language acquisition learning techniques. The basis of this teaching methodology is rooted in differentiating instruction in whole class settings while providing further supports for individual students, as needed to meet ELL federal and state compliance.
Culturally Relevant Curriculum
Acero Schools has developed a culturally relevant humanities curriculum for students that presents learning in a way in which our predominantly Latino student body can more easily relate.
The curriculum will ultimately consist of two units of study per level for grades 6 to 12 where students will learn Latino history or traditional gender roles in Latino history over time. By exploring historical narratives and literature relevant to students’ experience and cultural identities, students can access their home and community-based knowledge to make connections to new ideas and build new knowledge.
The curriculum and instructional materials were created using the Inquiry Design Model that follows the College, Career and Civic Life (C3) framework for state social studies standards.
The work has already been recognized by other educators and C3 Teachers, a website on social studies teaching and learning, created a partnership hub to share the work with educators across the country.