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Acero Schools

Academics » Academic Model

Academic Model

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’s 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, which include NWEA MAP (Measures of Academic Progress), P/SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test), PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers), Illinois Science Assessment, and ACCESS for English Learners. With each assessment given, we identify trends at the network, school, grade, classroom, and student level to ensure that our offerings are responsive to student needs and support high levels of student achievement.

Special Education

Acero schools proudly provide a continuum of supports for diverse learners.  We currently serve more than 1,000 students with identified disabilities across 15 campuses, representing nearly 13 percent of the total Acero student population.  We provide support in accordance with all Federal and State legislation and regularly partner with the Chicago Public Schools for district-related matters.  We provide differentiated instruction across a variety of settings, including specific programming for students with low-incidence disabilities at Cruz and Brighton Park. 

English Learners

Students identified as English Learners comprise over 30 percent of our total student population.  Acero offers Spanish Language supports through a Transitional Bilingual Education (TBE) model at each campus.  TBE programs are required for any school with more than 20 students that speak the same language. Zizumbo and Paz offer English/Spanish Dual Language programs, while the remaining schools utilize a Bilingual Co-teaching model. 

Acero serves an increasingly diverse student population and also offers a Transitional Program of Instruction (TPI) at Cruz, Brighton Park, Soto, Zizumbo, and Cisneros.  TPI programs are designated for 19 or fewer students of the same language group who qualify for ESL services. Acero participates in all English Learner identification, screening, and assessment processes.

Finally, Acero is committed to supporting our current teachers by offering Bilingual and/or ESL cohort programs with partner universities, in collaboration with the Chicago Public Schools.  To date, more than 100 Acero teachers have obtained endorsements by participating in the program.