The goal of Acero Schools is to educate a whole child who is well prepared for demanding studies in high school and college. Acero Schools provides a rigorous program of study in language arts, math, science and social studies supplemented by instruction in physical fitness, arts, and language.
The curriculum is designed to address the Illinois Learning Standards which include the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts & Mathematics, the Next Generation Science Standards, and the WIDA English Language Development Standards.
The curriculum is evaluated and refined annually in the context of student performance on both in-school work, as well as, on various standardized tests. Student work and performance data provide a well-rounded picture to help drive curriculum selection, mapping and development. This cycle of instruction and review allows Acero Schools to set high expectations and provide individualized monitoring to assist all students, including students with special needs and English Language Learners, in attaining ambitious goals for achievement.
Acero Schools believes that the best student learning in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) is created in classrooms that are interactive and integrated places where teachers use multiple resources for students to directly engage. Group projects, MakerSpace designing, laboratories, discussions and constructive writing are important instructional practices for student achievement.
Students learn STEM best by using a combination of scientific tools including books, digital resources and physical supplies with which students can play, invent and experiment. Our goal is that all STEM students learn by doing, displaying mastery in standard assessments and projects. STEM classrooms will provide learning opportunities that are both rigorous and relevant. Curricula aligned to Common Core Math and Next Generation Science Standards sets and draw on Engineering Design Process Thinking. Students will master mathematical and scientific skills appropriate to their grade level, integrating real-world problems and projects towards authentic application.
The skills to unlock students’ academic potential in the humanities are reading, writing and inquiry. The reading curriculum is focused on fluency and analysis of authentic texts. The writing curriculum fosters the practices that students need to develop the ability to organize their ideas, make connections and communicate in a clear and compelling way. Listening and speaking skills are developed to equip students with the skills necessary for formal presentation, oral communication and interpersonal interaction.
The Acero Schools humanities curriculum aligns with Common Core literacy and state social studies standards. Acero Schools places an emphasis on the unique background that all Acero students and staff members bring to the classroom. By exploring historical narratives and literature relevant to students’ experience and cultural four identities, students can access their home and community-based knowledge, make connections to new ideas towards the building of new knowledge. Inquiry skills are a primary driver, used by students to construct relevant questions, determine useful sources of information, synthesize learning and take informed action. Inquiry and literacy skills enable students to develop academically during their time at an Acero Schools campus, as well as meet the challenges of college, career and life.
Acero Schools prioritizes the individual learning needs of each student. Acero Schools seeks to engage each students’ curiosity, build student ownership and agency through personalized learning. Acero Schools uses educational technology and innovative pedagogies to allow students to develop academic skills at their own pace, set ambitious but appropriate goals and monitor their own progress.
Personalized learning strategies are customized and responsive to the pedagogy, population and teacher/student preferences in all Acero Schools classrooms. They empower teacher and student as co-knower, doer and creator of classroom learning. Personalized learning at Acero Schools cultivates the unique and engaged scholarship of all students.
Students will engage in multiple civic activities and authentic learning opportunities. Such opportunities may include mock elections, research and advocacy on contemporary issues facing their communities. Furthermore, educational travel to various destinations can connect students’ real-life experiences to the classroom.
During 7th and 8th grade, students have the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. and New York City. By traveling to these important American cities, students are able to build a meaningful connection to what they have learned in civics classes and connect their own personal and family experiences to our national American story. In giving students the opportunity to see and experience what they have learned during their time as an Acero Schools student, they will expand their knowledge concerning their role in our community now and in the future.
Acero Schools provides all students with a curriculum that incorporates the arts into rich learning experiences. The Illinois State Learning Standards guide each teacher’s instructional decisions to ensure that all students have a well-rounded understanding of the arts. Throughout the year, special projects link the fine arts with a wide array of other school subjects and curriculum. Through classroom instruction and school productions, students gain both a fundamental academic background and the foundations of performance. The fine arts curriculum is taught primarily by full-time faculty members and supplemented by after school activities targeting particular fields of art and music.