Catalyst Schools are a two campus Chicago charter network providing college-preparatory and
values-based K-12 education to children from urban communities that allow them to thrive in
their academic and social-emotional growth. The network is guided by a mission in which a child
is holistically educated by a school community committed to “Teaching minds and touching
hearts.” This mission aims to nurture well-rounded scholars with bright academic, professional,
and personal futures that will become change agents for their communities and world.
Over 90% of the scholar population of Catalyst Schools qualifies for the Federal free and
reduced-price lunch program, and scholars range in age from 5 to 18. The campuses are serving
over 1,600 scholars during the 2015-2016 school year, 75% of whom are African American and
23% of whom are Latino.
Scholars at Catalyst-Circle Rock (K-8; Austin) and Catalyst-Maria (K-12; Chicago Lawn) campuses
are provided a rigorous academic curriculum with a heavy emphasis on balanced literacy and
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) education and frequent exposure to technology
through the use of iPads. Scholars learn social-emotional skills through targeted instruction
around positive character traits and values, which scholars and staff embody in their daily
interactions. Catalyst partners with several non-profit organizations that provide external
instructors for the network’s fine arts enrichment initiative, including the Chicago Children’s
Choir, Ravinia Festival and May I Have This Dance? Ballroom Dancing. The schools also provide a
Graduate Support program to augment scholars’ academic instruction to ensure that scholars
have the social-emotional tools and vision to graduate from high school and pursue post-
The Catalyst Schools are school communities where staff, scholars and families holistically
develop children and their ability to be active collaborators in their education and lives. This
mission allows children to open minds and hearts to life, to love, and to knowledge.