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About ACS >> ACS at a Glance

The Avery Coonley School is a dynamic and diverse learning environment serving 320 academically bright and gifted students age 3 through Group 8. The School is located on an 11-acre campus in Downers Grove, Illinois, a suburb approximately 25 miles west of Chicago. The student body represents 40 different communities from surrounding suburbs.



Student to Teacher Ratio

Early Childhood Program –7:1
Junior Kindergarten Program –8:1
Kindergarten –11:1
Groups One to Two –16:1
Groups Three to Eight - 18:1


Faculty & Administration

Approximately 70% of the School's faculty and administration holds a master's degree; the average length of service is 9 years.

The School is a member of  National Association of Independent Schools, Independent Schools Association of the Central States, Lake Michigan Association of Independent Schools, Independent School Management, National Association for Gifted Children, and Illinois Association for Gifted Children.

Middle School faculty act as advisors to students, offering guidance in areas of academics, study skills, time management, and peer relations.

ACS is governed by a Board of Trustees which holds regular meetings each month except during July, August, and December. At these meetings, financial statements are reviewed, committee reports are received, and questions of policy are discussed and acted upon.



The school-wide curriculum offers classes in Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies, Science, Foreign Language (French), Fine Arts, Physical Education, and Computer Literacy. From the curricular content to the instructional methods, classes are designed to meet the needs of gifted children.

ACS offers three levels of mathematics in 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th Group. The algebra track students complete a high-school-level honors program in algebra; geometry students master a high-school-level honors geometry course. High academic expectations are set forth for all learners.

Field trips are thoughtfully planned at each grade level to meet the needs and interests of academically talented students. From a walking field trip through the local community in Group One to a week-long French immersion experience for Group Eight in Quebec, each trip is planned to enrich and deepen the students' understanding of the academic content.

ACS is committed to integrating technology to enhance the rigorous curriculum and engage students at a deeper level. Each student in Groups Four through Eight receives his/her own tablet computer. Additional tablet computers and iPads are shared among EC - Third Groups.
The arts program offers orchestra, choir, studio and performing arts. Concerts, exhibits, and performances are presented throughout the year.

Physical education instruction begins in Junior Kindergarten. Students in Groups K-8 take physical education five times a week. Students in Groups 6-8 may also choose to participate in team sports.

Foreign Language instruction begins in Junior Kindergarten. French is the universal second language taught at ACS. Students in Group 1 – 8 have French four times each week.

The School offers five interscholastic sports across three seasons: co-ed soccer and girls' volleyball in the fall, boys' and girls' basketball in the winter, and co-ed track in the spring.


Student Activities*

Student Council provides leadership training and opportunities for school and community service for students in Groups 1-8. ACS students enjoy participating in a number of academic competitions, including spelling bees, geography bees, and numerous math competitions.

Many clubs and activities allow ACS students to pursue their interests in greater depth. These options generally include Art Club, Book Club, Chess Club, Chorus, Computer Club, Creative Writing Club, Debate, Drama, Film Club, French Film Club, Intramurals, MATHCOUNTS, Orchestra, Science Olympiad, Tech/Video Club, and Yearbook.

Many community service initiatives take place throughout the year, most prompted by student leadership and interest at all grade levels.

*Academics and Extracurricular programs have been modified to account for new regulations regarding COVID-19. Please see the ACS Return to Learn Plan for more details.

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