Dear Catalyst families,
We hope that you are safe, healthy, and doing well. The safety of our scholars, staff, and school communities is Catalyst’s highest priority and of the greatest importance to our mission of teaching minds and touching hearts. After carefully considering advice from public health experts and feedback from Catalyst parents and staff, Catalyt Circle Rock and Catalyst Maria will begin the year learning at home through the end of the first quarter (November 6, 2020).
We are listening to public health officials and affording families time to plan
We have committed to Catalyst families that our decision to reopen schools would prioritize the health and wellness of our school communities and be driven by the guidance of our public health officials. As dedicated educators, we all want our scholars to be in school, but at this time, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) believes that current COVID-19 transmission trends would not allow us to reopen schools in a safe and responsible manner given the number of scholars, staff and communities members on-campus every day. And rather than waiting until the end of August to make a decision on reopening schools, we wanted to afford our parents, families and staff ample time to plan for the fall.
Listening to Catalyst families and educators
Through surveys and discussion, Catalyst families and staff members provided feedback on returning to school in a hybrid learning format or a fully remote learning format in the fall. While some families and staff expressed a desire to begin the year in a hybrid model, a large number of families did not feel comfortable sending their children back to school.
Lessons learned in the spring wll lead to improved remote learning for scholars
Scholars will be learning at home this fall, but Catalyst is committed to providing students with an engaging learning experience that is significantly different from what students and families experienced last school year. Each day, students will be engaged for the entirety of a typical school day through a combination of live real-time instruction with classmates and teachers, small group activities, and independent learning. Established daily expectations, including classroom attendance and graded assignments, will also help students develop routines. A more detailed set of expectations for remote learning will be shared with families by each school team.
More information from each school team is coming soon
Families should expect to receive detailed information from each school in the coming days. This month teachers will receive additional training and guidance on expectations for remote learning, and we will follow our remote learning plan beginning on September 8, 2020 through the end of the first quarter. Later this fall, Catalyst will consult with CPS and CDPH on the possibility of adopting a hybrid learning model for the second academic quarter, which will begin Monday, November 9.
We remain committed to helping every student reach their full potential, even under these unprecedented circumstances, and we are confident that with your support, Catalyst will make the the 2020-21 school year as strong as possible.