Developmental Assets

Catalyst High School uses research from the Search Institute in Minneapolis to help students gain resiliency by developing a wealth of internal and external resources. More such resources are available at

Search Institute has studied why some adolescents grow up with ease while others struggle, and why some thrive in spite of difficult circumstances. Following extensive research, Search Institute identified what they call Developmental Assets. Each asset is a building block for resiliency in a young person.


At Catalyst we teach RESILIENCY, by intentionally providing these developmental assets.


Search Institute has identified these building blocks for adolescent success:

Search Institute Identified
External Assets
Catalyst High School Focus
Empowerment Catalyst students find:
  • an environment that feels safe
  • a means to provide service to others
  • that they are perceived as resources
  • a community that values youth

Boundaries and Expectations Catalyst students find:

  • clear school boundaries
  • adult role models
  • high expectations
  • positive peer influence

Support Catalyst students find:

  • a caring school climate
  • significant relationship with adults

Constructive Use of Time Catalyst students become engaged in:

  • community-based programs
  • meaningful work
  • creating their own learning


As a direct result of these experiences, Catalyst students develop internalized assets.

These even more powerful building blocks for success include:

Search Institute Identified
Internal Assets
Catalyst High School Focus
——————————————– ——————————————–
Positive Values Catalyst students develop and reinforce:
  • integrity
  • honesty
  • responsibility
  • restraint
  • social justice
  • empathy

Positive Identity Catalyst students develop:

  • personal power
  • self-esteem
  • sense of purpose
  • optimism about their future

Commitment to Learning Catalyst students develop:

  • motivation to achieve
  • engagement in school
  • interest in homework
  • hopefully . . . a love of reading

Social Competencies Catalyst students develop:

  • planning and decision making skills
  • interpersonal skills
  • resistance skills
  • peaceful conflict resolution skills