Catalyst Maria charter renewal family/community meeting- 10/19/21

Catalyst Maria needs your help!  Every charter school in Chicago must go through a renewal process and this year is Catalyst Maria’s turn- thanks to the work of you and so many, Catalyst Maria meets or exceeds expectations in all established categories, including academics, finances and operations. For Catalyst, there is no more important voice for the Chicago Board of Education to hear in this matter than the voice of Catalyst Maria parents, staff and community members.

Please join us for an important meeting next Tuesday 10/19 at 6:00 pm, during which Catalyst Maria and CPS will host a meeting during which we will present on the accomplishments of our school. This meeting will have an on-site option with refreshments served as well as an online option so that all families can participate! We will discuss what makes Catalyst Maria a great school as well as offer community members an opportunity to ask questions about renewal and MAKE PUBLIC STATEMENTS ABOUT how we are impacting the Chicago Lawn community! The topics for the meeting will include:

  • Metrics of the school’s academic, financial, and operational performance
  • CPS will explain metrics used to determine renewal as well as the process
  • Families are invited to ask questions about renewal, metrics used, and how a school’s performance impacts their neighborhood.

You don’t need to be an expert on these matters to join.  What does matter is that you join and voice your positive opinion about Catalyst Maria.  Please join us on-site or join via the link here: https://meet.google.com/kbk-jtbs-aoz

Board of Directors' September 20, 2021 Agenda

The Catalyst Board of Directors will hold a meeting September 20, 2021 from 3:00-5:00 pm. The agenda and meeting information are below. If you have questions, please contact Catalyst's Director of Administration Michael Kasang at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Catalyst Maria Charter School

6727 S. California Ave.

Chicago, Illinois 60629


*3:00-3:30- Welcome: Dr. Colleen Reardon, Chair and Mr. Gordon Hannon, CEO

  • Review of agenda
  • Review and vote for approval of May 10, 2021 Board of Directors meeting minutes; September 14, 2021 Academic Committee meeting minutes; and September 16, 2021 Finance Committee meeting minutes
  • Board member terms:
    • Discussion of renewal for members Ariel Murray and Claiborne Wade 
    • Board Chair Dr. Colleen Reardon’s conclusion of term in December 2021 and discussion on next steps

*3:30-3:45 -Public comment (limited to 2 minutes per speaker)

*3:45-4:15-Academic Committee: Dr. Catherine Burns

  • Update on reopening
  • Catalyst Maria charter renewal

*4:15-4:30 - Finance and Strategic Issues Committee: Ms. Ying-Yuan Hsu

  • Items pertaining to close of FY21:
    • Preliminary end of FY21 and status of FY21 audit
  • Items pertaining to FY22:
    • Use of ESSER funds
    • Impact on FY22 budget with ESSER funds and additional adjustments made since the budget was approved

*4:30-4:45 - Austin Renaissance Council and KCA update: Terry Toth and Ed Siderewicz


Catalyst Finance Committee Meeting 9.16.21

The Catalyst Board of Directors' Finance Committee will hold a meeting on September 16, 2021 at 11:00 am. This meeting will be held by video conference- please contact Catalyst's Director of Administration Michael Kasang at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 773-295-7001 for video conference information.

Items pertaining to close of FY21:

~preliminary end of FY21

~transfer of funds from KCA restricted account into Catalyst operating account

~status of FY21 audit (in process)

Items pertaining to FY22:

~use of ESSR funds FY22

~impact on FY22 budget with ESSR funds and additional adjustments made since the budget was approved

~KCA budget and how it interacts with Catalyst budget

~status of all Catalyst bank accounts including recent investment account

Catalyst Academic Committee Meeting 9.14.21

The Catalyst Board of Directors' Academic Committee will hold a meeting on September 13, 2021 at 11:00 am. This meeting will be held by video conference- please contact Catalyst's Director of Administration Michael Kasang at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 773-295-7001 for video conference information. Items that will be addressed:

What is the latest on the SQRP and how CPS will evaluate a school?

Will types of student assessment will Catalyst use to measure student growth and attainment and areas of focus?

What have been the principals’ biggest challenges thus far in these first three weeks of school?

What is our current student population, and how many students were retained from last school year?

What is our current staff population, and how many returned from last school year?

What interventions / additions were made this year to respond to the COVID crisis?

How much did we receive in ESSR funding and how are we using that money?

What is the latest on renewal of the Maria Charter?

Are there high priority items that the Academic Committee should focus on this SY?

  1. reducing the use of ISS and OSS to be sure it does not exceed the district average
  2. RJ practices are solidly embedded in school practice and drive student discipline
  3. compliance and competence in delivering Diverse Learner expectations.

Updated Travel Guidance for Families 9.3.21

Dear Parents and Guardians, 

We were thrilled to welcome students back to school this week, and we want you to know that our top priority will be keeping them healthy and safe. To do this successfully, we must abide by the latest travel guidelines from the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), especially as we head into the busy Labor Day weekend.

In accordance with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), CDPH announced earlier this week that every U.S. state except Vermont is now a part of the city’s travel advisory. Here’s what this means for your family:

  • The CDC recommends delaying travel until you are fully vaccinated; 
  • Unvaccinated persons who leave the state of Illinois (this includes all children 11-years-old and younger who are not yet eligible for the vaccine) should self-quarantine for 7 days after returning to Chicago, even if they have received a negative COVID test; AND
  • Unvaccinated students who leave the state should not come to school during their self-quarantine period, which is 7 days if they receive a negative COVID test or 10 days if they do not test
  • Vaccinated travelers are not required to self-quarantine or test unless they develop symptoms if traveling within the United States

If you have an unvaccinated student, please reconsider your travel plans given this guidance. If your student must travel, please follow the advice above and report the absence to your school so that it can be marked as excused. Then, after one 24-hour school day period, your student will be provided with access to take-home schoolwork that will help them keep pace with their learning during the 7-10 days they are home.

Only those students who have been told to quarantine or isolate by Catalyst because they are a close contact, or who have been told to quarantine or isolate by a state or local public health department, will have access to synchronous remote instruction (i.e., the ability to join their classroom live via Google Meet) and be marked present (virtually) at school. If your student falls into this category, they will receive access to simultaneous instruction one 24-hour school day period after you notify your school of their quarantine or isolation. 

Please stay safe and do not travel unless it is absolutely necessary. Please contact your school directly with any questions or concerns. 

Estimados padres y tutores, 


Estamos encantados de dar la bienvenida a los estudiantes esta semana, y queremos que sepan que nuestra principal prioridad es mantenerlos sanos y seguros. Pero para poder hacerlo, debemos cumplir con las últimas pautas de viaje del Departamento de Salud Pública de Chicago (CDPH, por sus siglas en inglés), ya que nos dirigimos al fin de semana del Día del Trabajo cuando muchas personas viajan.


CDPH anunció a principios de esta semana, que todos los estados de EE.UU., excepto Vermont, forman ahora parte de la advertencia de viaje de la ciudad de Chicago de acuerdo con las recomendaciones de los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades (CDC, por sus siglas en inglés). Esto es lo que significa para su familia:


  • Los CDC recomiendan posponer los viajes hasta que esté completamente vacunado 
  • Las personas que no estén vacunadas y que salgan del estado de Illinois (esto incluye a todos los niños de 11 años o menos que aún no son elegibles para la vacuna) deben ponerse en cuarentena durante 7 días después de regresar a Chicago, aunque hayan recibido una prueba de COVID negativa
  • Los estudiantes no vacunados que salgan del estado, no deben ir a la escuela durante su período de cuarentena, que es de 7 días si reciben un resultado negativo en la prueba de COVID o de 10 días, si no reciben la prueba
  • Los viajeros vacunados no están obligados a ponerse en cuarentena o hacerse la prueba a menos que desarrollen síntomas.


Si tiene un estudiante no vacunado, reconsidere sus planes de viaje. Si su estudiante debe viajar, siga los consejos anteriores e informe la ausencia a su escuela. Si usted tiene un estudiante no vacunado que viaja, por favor reporte la ausencia a su escuela. Luego, después de un día escolar, su estudiante tendrá acceso a tareas para llevar a casa. Esto lo ayudará a continuar aprendiendo durante los 7 a 10 días.


Sólo aquellos estudiantes a los que Catalyst les haya dicho que se pongan en cuarentena por ser un contacto cercano, o a los que un departamento de salud pública estatal o local les haya dicho que se pongan en cuarentena o se aíslen, tendrán acceso a la instrucción simultánea (es decir, la opción de unirse a su salón de clases directamente usando un dispositivo) y serán marcados como presentes en la escuela. Si su estudiante entra en esta categoría, recibirá acceso a la instrucción simultánea después de que usted haya notificado a su escuela de la cuarentena o aislamiento de su hijo.

Manténgase seguro y no viaje a menos que sea absolutamente necesario. Por favor, póngase en contacto con su escuela si tiene alguna pregunta o preocupación. 


Support Catalyst    

Please join our efforts as a champion for changing lives at The Catalyst Schools. If you would like to speak with a Catalyst staff member about your donation, please call us at 773-295-7001.