Photo of AERO Educational Center Building

A.E.R.O. is a special education cooperative composed of eleven member school districts. It is A.E.R.O.’s mission to assist member districts to provide comprehensive special education programs and related services to children with disabilities who are residents of our member districts. These services are provided in both public and private schools throughout portions of Stickney, Worth, and Lyons Townships. A.E.R.O., a legal entity under the School Code of Illinois, is governed by a Governing Board comprised of one board of education member from each of the eleven districts in the cooperative. A.E.R.O. is funded through a combination of local school district funds, state and federal grants, and state reimbursement.

Vision Statement

Where do we want to go?
The A.E.R.O. Special Education Cooperative is vested in programs and services that equip all learners and their families with differentiated and advanced knowledge, skills, and opportunities that lead to success. A.E.R.O. is steadfast in creating optimal learning environments that enhance growth, encourage creativity, and provide excellence in school support systems. We seek to expand innovative approaches, empowering partnerships, and fostering distinguished accessibility to learning.

Mission Statement

Why do we exist?
The A.E.R.O. Special Education Cooperative’s mission is to provide a full continuum of innovative services for students with disabilities through cooperative planning and effort with our member districts, educators, parents, students, and the community. We provide safe and nurturing learning environments and are committed to promoting inclusive efforts to maximize the success of students. A.E.R.O. encourages the involvement of students with disabilities as active members in the classroom, school, and community.

Approved by:
Executive Board – May 06, 2015
Governing Board – May 18, 2015

Strategic Plan

Fiscal Health and Facilities
Goal 1: Operate a fiscally responsible, fair and equitable financial structure for all member districts.

Action Statements

  1. Evaluate current A.E.R.O. financial structure.
  2. Identify viable alternative cooperative financial structures.
  3. Evaluate and forecast future A.E.R.O. cooperative expenses.
  4. Report all findings to the A.E.R.O. Boards.

Goal 2: Provide stable and state of the art facilities conducive to 21st century learning.

Action Statements

  1. Provide stable and state of the art facilities conducive to 21st century learning.
  2. Explore opportunities for state of the art facilities for all A.E.R.O. programs.
  3. Obtain facilities that allow flexibility for future programming and student needs.
  4. Provide and maintain appropriate equipment and technology.
  5. Obtain a commitment from member districts to provide stable A.E.R.O. classrooms equitable to the general education classrooms.

Climate and Community
Goal: Create culturally responsive, high-achieving learning environments that engage students with disabilities, staff, families, and communities as essential partners, in order for all students to reach continuously higher levels of student learning which prepare them to be a contributing member of society.

Action Statements

  1. Expand on and develop new partnerships with the community resources in order to increase opportunities and experiences outside the classroom, including local businesses and agencies within the participating A.E.R.O. member districts.
  2. Expand and create programs, resources and services that provide parents support and professional development to promote student success.
  3. Expand and create new ways to effectively communicate between A.E.R.O. administration, A.E.R.O. staff, parents, member districts, local community agencies and businesses, increasing awareness and understanding of what A.E.R.O. provides to the special needs populations of our member districts.
  4. Identify cost effective ways and/or means to provide parents with information and resources to support their child’s current and future needs.
  5. Assist school districts to view A.E.R.O. classrooms as a valued resource of the school community throughout member districts that adequately deliver the curriculum and instruction of all programs.
  6. Encourage member districts to make a commitment to space/classroom needs that will allow for appropriate integration of A.E.R.O. students.

Special Education Programs and Related Services
Goal: Expand programs and services to embrace the diverse needs of each individual student, which encompasses a well-rounded approach with a strong emphasis on academic, social-emotional, and functional curricula all aimed at preparing the learner for future education, employment and independent living.

Action Statements

  1. Define and design community based transition programs that provide opportunities for post high students to meet their individual transition goals.
  2. Expand upon and establish additional community partnerships with outside agencies to assist in providing mental health and behavioral supports.
  3. Explore the potential of developing a year round calendar for programs and services.
  4. Create fifth year programs that extend the services to students who are transitioning from high school.
  5. Establish a process that defines the effectiveness of each A.E.R.O. program and service.
  6. Expand school based transition programs that increase learning opportunities for students with significant medical, physical and behavioral needs.

Curriculum, Instruction, and Technology
Goal: Maximize student learning, empowerment, and achievement within a rigorous standards based learning environment through the integration of technology, curriculum, instruction, and assessment.

Action Statements

  1. Develop, implement, and expand the use of technology in all areas of instruction for all students.
  2. Investigate, evaluate, and provide for the ongoing expansion of curriculum, instruction, assessment, and technology across grade bands and diverse abilities.
  3. Determine, identify, and create multiple measures of student performance outcomes.
  4. Create a data warehouse for staff to better monitor student achievement and implement a dashboard to monitor progress and student achievement.
  5. Investigate options and develop a plan for bridging technology between home and school.
  6. Investigate additional options and expand capacity for professional development for A.E.R.O. programs and member districts