ACERO Esmeralda Santiago School which opened in 2011, serves nearly 300 students from kindergarten to eighth grade. Santiago has earned a Level 1+ SQRP rating over the last few years and has established itself as a top performing elementary school in Chicago with reading and math growth and achievement scores consistently exceeding the national average.
Santiago empowers students by putting them at the center of their learning and equipping them with the skills, knowledge, and confidence necessary to grow and achieve and love learning. They personalize student learning by employing primarily small group instruction, flexible and fluid multiage classrooms, 1:1 adaptive technology, competency based learning, project-based learning, mentoring, social emotional (SEL) programming, and a K-8 interest-based elective block built into the school day, including classes such as guitar, yoga, cooking, drama, video animation, and many others.
In 2016, Principal Melissa Sweazy was named Principal of the Year by the Illinois Network of Charter Schools, and Santiago was ranked as the #1 charter elementary school by Chicago Magazine. In 2018, they were selected as a TFA School to Learn From: Reimagining Schools national award winner and have won multiple grants to further tailor and enhance their rigorous curriculum, ambitious instruction, and highly student-centered learning environment.