Since the founding of Catalyst Schools, our goal has been to ensure that every graduate is prepared to enter, succeed in and graduate from a high school that will prepare them for college and career. This goal embodies a critical aspect of the Catalyst Schools' mission to envision a life of meaning and purpose for all people in a world that is just and peaceful.
Catalyst has adapted its instruction to the national K-12 Common Core Standards. These standards teach 21st century skills, provide benchmarks for each grade level, are evidence based, and emphasize application of skills to the real world. A link to the Common Core Standards website can be found here.
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Programming
In partnership with the national organization Project Lead The Way, Catalyst is committed to provide rigorous, project-based learning opportunities for scholars to engage Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) concepts. All Catalyst campuses are partner schools of this organization, giving every Kindergaretn through 12th Grade scholar an opportunity to engage concepts pertaining to this important area of study. Critical elements of PLTW programming are inquiry and project-based learning experiences that drive scholars’ critical thinking skills, as well as frequent use of iPads. Catalyst believes that to prepare scholars for 21st Century college and career success, exposure to STEM concepts and technology is critical.
In addition to Smartboards in every classroom and computer labs, each Catalyst scholar is given the opporunity to engage iPads on a daily basis. Each classroom is equipped with multiple laptops, and classrooms have access to a COWs (Computer On Wheels) and iCarts which holds individual laptops/iPads for each scholar. These are educational opportunities that allow for enhanced group learning and individualized learning plans, while also preparing our scholars as citizens of the 21st Century.
As the foundation to all learning, Catalyst invests heavily in a robust and engaging balanced literacy approach. This approach includes:
- word study
- interactive read-aloud
- shared reading
- writing and reading workshops
- reading comprehension strategy instruction in fiction and non-fiction text
- guided and independent reading.
In addition to an extensive library providing scholars with rich, varied and intriguing books in every classroom, each room has comfortable areas for independent reading, places where scholars are up close and personal for read aloud and guided instruction as our teachers model instruction. Materials and resources are readily available creating a culture of abundance to enhance understanding, learn content and put knowledge to work in every subject area. This is the hallmark of our approach.
Strategic use of these best practices and active scholar engagement in all subject areas is a critical component of our academic program.
Dual Enrollment at Catalyst Maria High School
Catalyst Maria senior scholars qualifying for up to 8 college credits in Dual Enrollment partnership with City Colleges of Chicago. CMHS scholars have earned 215 college credits, with the average Dual Enrolmment scholar earning 5.96 credits with a collective 3.07 GPA in dual enrollment/city colleges. The cap on city colleges Dual Enrollment enrollment is 100 per college, and Catalyst Maria has 75 of those spots at Daley College for the 2016-2017 school year!