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. 


Important safety information for SY21-22

Hello Catalyst families!

We hope that you are safe, healthy and are doing well! We are incredibly excited to welcome scholars back to school for the 2021-2022 school year on Monday August 30, 2021! The safety of our school communities is Catalyst’s highest priority and of the greatest importance to our mission of teaching minds and touching hearts.  

With the start of the school year for scholars on August 30, 2021, we want to provide our Catalyst famolies with some of the safety procedures we are implementing in our school communities. The procedures below have been developed following public health guidance and guidelines established by the Illinois State Board of Education, Chicago Public Schools, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Illinois Department of Public Health. Some of these protocols include:

  • Weekly screening testing with SHIELD Illinois: All unvaccinated students will undergo weekly COVID-19 screening testing.  Screening testing will identify infected individuals without symptoms or known exposure and take measures such as timely isolation and quarantine to prevent further transmission. Screening testing will be implemented by Catalyst, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), and SHIELD Illinois. More information on the testing is linked here and all students will participate in testing unless their parent completes an opt-out form, linked here.
  • Rigorous air quality and ventilation standards: To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, every classroom and office space has BlueAir air purifier(s) that circulates air 5X per hour and assists in reducing the risk of indoor transmission of viruses and bacteria. In January 2021, Environmental Group Services, Limited (EGSL) personnel performed airborne particulate matter (PM10) surveys at Catalyst Circle Rock and Catalyst Maria. The investigation included the visual inspection of all classrooms, offices and common areas within the school buildings, and temperature, relative humidity, carbon monoxide/dioxide and airborne particulate matter (PM10) values were measured, providing an overall assessment of the IAQ in the buildings. All values were within acceptable parameters and reports to this effect are available on our website linked here.
  • Universal Masking: Per the mandate from Governor Pritzker and IDPH, cloth face coverings must be worn by all staff and students while indoors regardless of a person’s vaccination status. Catalyst will provide a mask to any student or staff member that does not have their own face mask at any time.
  • Social Distancing: Catalyst will strive to provide three feet of social distancing wherever possible.
  • Contact Tracing: Catalyst will work in coordination with the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) to ensure that those identified as close contacts of a person diagnosed with COVID-19 have rapid contact tracing and are connected to resources such as monitoring and testing.
  • Good Hand Hygiene: We have hand sanitizer dispensers in every hallway, entry point and main office and will have gallon hand sanitizers and spray disinfectant bottles in every classroom.
  • Enhanced Cleaning Procedures: Catalyst will deploy additional custodians on each floor to help carry out stringent cleaning and sanitizing protocols every day in each school, in addition to enhanced cleaning protocols before, during, and after each day.
  • Health Messaging: Catalyst will post signage and regularly remind students of key health messaging, such as covering coughs and sneezes, washing hands thoroughly and frequently, and staying home if sick. 
  • All Catalyst students, staff, and approved visitors will be asked each day they enter Catalyst building to consider the following questions and not enter the school until they are able to answer “no” to all questions below. UPDATE in SY21-22- If a student is unable to answer “No” to all of the questions below, they should inform their school team immediately. The automated digital screener will not need to be completed daily, but families should communicate this information when applicable.
  • Please consider the following questions and do send your child to school until you are able to answer “no” to all questions for them.

    • Are you feeling ill?
    • Are you experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g. fever, sore throat, cough, difficulty breathing, diarrhea, vomiting, or severe headache) that you cannot attribute to a known cause?
    • Have you been in close contact with anyone in the last 14 days who has COVID-19?
    • Are you quarantining because of possible exposure to a person with COVID-19?
    • Are you waiting for the results of a COVID-19 test or have you tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 10 days?
    • Have you traveled to a location in the last ten days that would make you out of compliance with Chicago’s Travel Order?
    • Por favor, considera las preguntas siguientes y no entres en la escuela hasta que puedas responder con ‘no’ a todas las preguntas.
    • ¿Te sientes enfermo?

    • ¿Tienes algún síntoma de COVID-19 (por ejempló fiebre, garganta reseca, tos, dificultad para respirar, diarrea, vomito o dolor de cabeza severo) que no pueda atributar a una causa conocida?

    • ¿Has tenido contacto con alguien que tiene diagnóstico de COVID-19 en los 14 días pasados?

    • ¿Estás en cuarentena porque es posible que estuvieras expuesto a una persona con COVID-19?

    • ¿Estás esperando los resultados de una prueba de COVID-19 o as recibido un resultado positive de COVID-19 en los últimos diez días?

    • En los últimos diez días as viajado a una locación que te pondría fuera del cumplimiento de la orden de viaje de Chicago?


Please do not hesitate to contact our team with questions:

Catalyst Circle Rock- 773-945-5025

Catalyst Maria- 773-993-1770

We understand the gravity and significance of educating 1,600 scholars at any time, and this is only heightened during the continued global pandemic.  We are honored to partner with our Catalyst families as we collectively move forward and are here to support in any way that we can.  We look forward to a great first day on August 30, 2021 and a terrific 2021-2022 school year!


Catalyst honored to be Invest For Kids grantee!

We are honored to announce that Catalyst has been selected by Invest For Kids to receive a significant grant to enhance our instructional support as our scholars return to full on-site learning during the 2021-2022 school year.

Invest For Kids' mission is "to support highly effective not-for profit organizations that serve Chicago area youth from disadvantaged communities." We are honored to be selected as a partner and recipient of this generous support, and will use this funding to directly enhance programming and initiatives focused on scholars' academic and social-emotional development.

To learn more about Invest For Kids please visit their website by clicking on the linked logo below.  Many, many thanks to Invest For Kids and we look forward to an exceptional start to the 2021-2022 school year on August 30, 2021!

IFK Logo-1

School-based vaccination sites for students and families

Hello Catalyst families!

We hope that you are safe, healthy and are doing well!

All individuals 12 and older are eligible to receive a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. We encourage scholars to become vaccinated as soon as possible, as those that are fully vaccinated will not need to quarantine if they are exposed to a positive/potential COVID-19 case.

In partnership with CDPH and other approved healthcare providers, CPS has three vaccination sites to specifically support our students and families.The following vaccination sites will be available:

  • Tuesdays: 9am to 1pm at Chicago Vocational Career Academy, located at 2100 E. 87th St. in Chicago’s Avalon Park neighborhood. 
  • Wednesdays: 9am to 1pm at Theodore Roosevelt High School, located at 3436 W. Wilson Ave. in Chicago’s Albany Park neighborhood.
  • Thursdays: 9am to 1pm at Michele Clark High School, located at 5101 W. Harrison St. in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood.  

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please visit cps.edu/vaccinations. Appointments are available, but walk-ins will also be welcome. The vaccine is FREE, and no proof of health insurance or citizenship is needed. A parent or guardian is required to be present during COVID-19 vaccination for anyone under 18.

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.