Catalyst High School

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Frequently Asked Questions (Click below to learn more.)


Is Catalyst Like an Online School?
No. All our classes are custom designed, not prepackaged. Students and highly-qualified teachers create individual classes from scratch. Together, books are chosen, subjects to research are decided, and projects are determined. At Catalyst, the student receives genuine personal attention from each teacher. Regular attendance, positive peer interaction and school culture are all extremely important at Catalyst High School.

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How Is Student Progress Assessed at Catalyst?
Catalyst uses objective, researched-based assessments to measure student progress in the areas of academic achievement and emotional growth.
Twice each year all Catalyst students take the Measure of Academic Progress (MAP). The MAP, based on academic content standards created by the Colorado Department of Education, measures student growth in Language Mechanics, Reading, and Math. During the final year in Catalyst, either in house or at a college, Catalyst students will take the Accuplacer assessment, which indicates which level is an appropriate starting point for college classes. Many students also will the ACT or SAT while in Catalyst. Our Academic Coordinators in the Academic Planning and Resource Room are available to help students prepare for these tests.
Catalyst students also take the 40 Developmental Assets Inventory, developed by the Search Institute. This measures each student’s self-identified experiences (called External Assets), which includes Support, Empowerment, Boundaries and Expectations, as well as each student’s resulting constructive actions (called Internal Assets), which include Good Use of Time, Commitment to Learning, Positive Values, Social Competencies, and Positive Identity. By taking this inventory at the beginning and end of their time here, we are able to determine each student’s personal growth in these critical areas of development during their Catalyst High School Experience.

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Does Catalyst Work Well for Creative and Gifted Students?
You bet! Many of the techniques that make up the core of our model come directly out of the manuals for teaching creative and gifted students. Independent study, enrichment opportunities, in-depth study, community-based learning, accelerated pace, and classes at the university level are all key elements in a GT instructional model and are every-day practices at Catalyst. Since each academic class is designed for an individual student, creating these types of classes becomes second nature at Catalyst High School.

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Can a Student Work a Job and Attend Catalyst?
Yes, but the student must be careful not to over-commit to both a job and school. While it may seem easy to work and maintain academics at first, the student may find that studying for two or three classes that add up to 30 hours of homework each week and working long hours can lead to a stressful, over-committed schedule. Students are encouraged to find a balance that works for them, and to make school their priority.

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Will Catalyst Work With a Student Who Has Regularly Scheduled Appointments?
Yes. Some Catalyst students see doctors or counselors. We create a schedule that supports the student’s personal needs. We’ll even give the student credit for keeping those appointments.

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What Type of Professionals Collaborate with Catalyst High School?
We collaborate with a variety of counselors, doctors and other professionals who support the well-being of students. Their practices include: private therapy by specialists for a variety of issues, drug and alcohol group treatment, equine-assisted therapy, wilderness therapy, individual and group counseling for parents, step-parents and recent divorcees and alternative approaches to support health and wellness. Catalyst can assist students in finding community resources to support individual needs.

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At Catalyst, Can Students Accelerate Their High School Education?
After about four months at Catalyst High School, the student will begin to accelerate. If the student is behind in credits, he/she may be able to catch up with classmates. If the student is on track, he/she may be able to graduate early! It depends on how far behind the student is and how motivated he/she is to work hard.

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What Is the Average Amount of Time that a Student Will Attend Catalyst?
Many factors will determine the actual length of stay: the amount of credits needed to graduate, personal success within the program, or how quickly a student is able to earn credits in our accelerated model. Our experience tells us that students maintain our accelerated pace for a couple of years, then they feel ready to move on to a new challenge!

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Will Catalyst Accept Students Who Have a History of Drug and Alcohol Abuse or Dependency?
Based on the data in the 2007 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, conducted in Boulder County, we know that the percentage of students in Catalyst with a history of drug or alcohol use is about the same as at other high schools in Boulder County. If a student has a history of abusing illegal drugs or alcohol, we may accept the student if the student and the family are seriously committed to eliminating the problem and committing to sobriety. One recent applicant was denied admission when he said he refused to commit to this. We hope he returns someday, after he changes his mind.

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Are there Limitations to Catalyst’s Ability to Serve Students with Disabilities?
Yes. We will look carefully at the individual needs of each student with learning disabilities to see whether Catalyst High School can meet those needs. While Catalyst High School can be an appropriate educational setting for some students with mild learning disabilities as a secondary issue, we do not have the capacity to work with serious learning disabilities or to conduct remediation with students.

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Does Catalyst Comply with Federal Laws that Protect Children with Disabilities?
In 1973 the United States Federal Government passed the Rehabilitation Act. In that act, Section 504 was the first of several legislative orders enacted to prohibit discrimination based on disability. Later, the same obligations were mandated specifically for public schools under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). ADA/504 protects students when their disabilities limit their ability to receive benefit in major life activities, including education. While this law specifically applies to institutions that receive federal funds, such as public schools, we believe strongly in supporting the rights of students under ADA/504 and strive to honor them.

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Is there Financial Aid Available to Help Reduce the Tuition Cost?
Catalyst High School is committed to becoming accessible to teens in need, regardless of family income. While we are making strides toward realizing this goal, our financial aid is limited. To help spread out payments, we accept monthly tuition installments and credit card payments. The extent of financial aid that we can offer is based on financial need. Financial aid applications are available in the main office.

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Give us a call today to schedule an appointment to come visit the campus and meet with members of our staff. (303) 604-6512.

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