Catalyst Maria receives Cognia School of Distinction Award!

We are thrilled to announce that Catalyst Maria is one 59 schools worldwide to receive the Cognia School of Distinction award! 

The Schools of Distinction were awarded to schools that demonstrated excellence in meeting the Cognia Performance Standards during their 2020–2021 accreditation reviews. Schools or systems that achieve this award "effectively implement high-quality instruction, show consistent organizational effectiveness, and maintain a commitment to continuous improvement. These institutions demonstrate energetic and sustained commitment to learners."

Education institutions worldwide look to Cognia for proven practices, insightful research, and strategies for the future- Cognia's global network is comprised of 36,000 institutions in 85 countries. Their holistic approach to continuous improvement encompasses accreditation and certification, assessment, and professional learning. To learn more about the organization and this award, please visit cognia.org.

Cognia RGB Logotype FullColor

Kehrein Center for Arts receives grant from DCASE Chicago!!

We are so grateful to announce that the Kehrein Center for the Arts at Catalyst Circle Rock has been selected as a Neighborhood Access Program grant recipient from the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE)! This funding will support the cultural vitality of the Austin neighborhood and our Catalyst school community through a series of public events and programming! Thank you DCASE! 


Mr. Sean Hamilton named INCS Teacher of the Year!!!!

Catalyst Maria 10th-12th Grade Visual Art Teacher Sean Hamilton was named the Illinois Network of Charter Schools (INCS) Teacher of the Year!!! The INCS Teacher of the Year awards began in 2011, and they received a record number of nominations (100+!) this year! Mr. Hamilton, a member of the Catalyst Maria team since 2014, has made a profound impact on innumerable lives at Catalyst Maria through his daily instruction as well as leading INCREDIBLE events like the annual STEAM EXPO!  The school community celebrated Mr. Hamilton with an assembly on Tuesday that was attended by scholars, staff, and members of the INCS team (Mr. Hamilton’s family also joined virtually!).  Mr. Hamilton will be honored on December 6, 2021 at the 2021 INCS Charter Excellence Awards at the Royal Sonesta Hotel. CONGRATULATIONS Mr. Hamilton- we are INSPIRED by you and GRATEFUL to have you on the Catalyst team!

Sean Hamilton INCS

Thanksgiving Break 2021

Catalyst is incredibly thankful for the commitment that all members of the Catalyst community dedicate to our mission of teaching minds and touching hearts! In observance of Thanksgiving, Catalyst Schools will be closed to scholars and staff Wednesday, November 24, 2021 through Friday November 26, 2021.

We hope that you are able to rest, relax and rejuvenate with family and friends over the Thanksgiving break!   


Catalyst Board of Directors Meeting Agenda- November 22, 2021

The Catalyst Board of Directors will hold a meeting November 22, 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 Schools- Board of Directors Meeting

November 22, 2021 3:00-5:00 PM


Catalyst Circle Rock Charter School

5608 W. Washington Blvd.

Chicago, Illinois 60644


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

  • Review of agenda
  • Review and vote for approval of September 20, 2021 Board of Directors meeting minutes; November 16, 2021 Academic Committee meeting minutes; October 29, 2021 Finance Committee meeting minutes; and October 22, 2021 and November 12, 2021 Executive Committee meetings minutes

*3:30-3:40 -Public comment (limited to 2 minutes per speaker)

*3:40-4:00- Introduction of Catalyst Maria Parent Advisory Council and support staff

*4:00-4:15-Academic Committee: Dr. Catherine Burns

  • Update on school academic plans
  • Update on Catalyst Maria charter renewal

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

  • FY21 audit
  • FY22 YTD

*4:30-4:45 KCA Foundation update: Terry Toth, Board Chair

*4:45-5:15: Board governance items:

  • Review and vote for approval for three-year renewal term of Claiborne Wade to Catalyst Board of Directors
  • Review, discussion, and vote for approval for three-year election of Dr. Catherine Burns or Larry Williams as Chair of the Catalyst Board of Directors


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.