REVERENCE and RESPECT for each student as a unique person is critical to Catalyst’s success. We foster respectful relationships as a key to building a mutually supportive community that sets high expectations and demands mutual responsibility. The GOLDEN RULE is the foundation at the Catalyst Schools. By internalizing the demand of the Golden Rule, that we treat one another as we would like to be treated, we join together to promote justice and peace.
Relationship: The heart of the Catalyst Schools is the bond, both professional and personal, that we build with one another among staff and with our students and their parents. No teaching or learning will take place unless teachers are able to forge positive and appropriate relationships with their students and the parents who entrust their children to our care. Positive, healthy, and appropriate relationship is the source of change. The trust and love of a student for his or her teacher unleashes the behaviors that lead to success.
Rigor: All faculty and staff are called to dedication and commitment for the well-being of the children we serve. This includes high academic standards, a consistent and healthy culture of peace and calm throughout the school, a discipline code that is a teaching tool, and respect for each person’s talents, skills, and unique gifts. Students are brought to higher levels of functioning and thinking through a no-nonsense academic program built on solid research.
Results: 100% of Catalyst elementary school graduates will be accepted by and enrolled in high schools with a proven track record of college placement and a mission that is compatible with Catalyst’s vision. 100% of Catalyst—Maria High School graduates will be accepted to a college or university with a proven track record of graduating students from urban communities. Other desired outcomes include superior teaching evidenced by excellent growth and attainment outcomes as measured by the NWEA and SAT assessments; a healthy, vibrant, and diverse school community; student understanding and adoption of right relationships; a relationship with the larger community that emphasizes the school as a community asset; Catalyst school graduates will go on to college or receive the required preparation for a satisfying and life-sustaining career within five years of their eighth grade graduation.
Hope: Catalyst pushes students beyond their perceived capacity so they discover they are capable of much more than they thought. We raise expectations, set the bar high, and help our scholars succeed in their academic work, their personal socio-emotional development, and in what they come to believe they can be in life. Education is at the service of human dignity and the freedom every person desires. Catalyst is a vehicle through which those can be enhanced and attained. Every student can and will learn and become a productive and positive agent for change in Chicago neighborhoods traditionally impacted by economic poverty, the greater Chicago area, the State of Illinois and the larger world community.
“At Catalyst, we believe in educating the whole child. We focus on academics, social skills, self-esteem, citizenship — on all those things that allow students to grow up to be positive and successful members of their communities.”
— Mike Fehrenbach, Founding Team Member of The Catalyst Schools