Student Profile

At risk students only comprise part of our student body which is characterized more by the diversity of who it includes than by who it does not include. For example, in terms of ethnic diversity Catalyst enjoys a larger percentage of students of color than the Boulder County norm (more complex statistics is available on In terms of interests and talents, the Catalyst student body has included, but has not been limited to, competitive athletes representing nearly a dozen different sports. 

The student body also includes:

  • accomplished singers and song writers
  • composers
  • musicians
  • social and environmental activists
  • writers and poets
  • artists working in many different media
  • gifted mathematicians
  • mechanically and technologically focused students
  • students aiming for movie and film related arts

Catalyst students span the spectrum from those who test at average academic levels to those who have been identified as talented and gifted or twice exceptional. Many students have real strengths in some areas while experiencing deficits in others.

Learning to manage stress and being happy to have found a school that “fits” are common themes among our students. The Catalyst student body tends to be kind, supportive and welcoming. It is composed of individuals whose uniqueness and personal challenges have created a sense of empathy, respect, and compassion toward others. We often see one student redirecting another student or quietly offering support and counsel. Students (as well as staff) have been known to disrupt the learning environment with laughter, one of our favorite things to share together.

The Student is in Control

At Catalyst High School, the student is in control of the key decisions. For example, the student is responsible for building a logical and balanced schedule and for calling in regarding an absence. It may take a few months for the student to realize just how much control he/she actually has. Being in control is empowering, and genuinely builds self esteem.


What Students Like Best about Catalyst

  • Catalyst feels good. Students say they feel welcome and happy here.
  • Students build personal relationships and receive one-on-one attention from teachers.
  • At Catalyst, we think that learning skills, accessing information, logically discussing, and problem solving are more important than learning “stuff.”
  • Discussion, research and learning labs are the norm, not lecture and regurgitation.
  • Students are actively involved in the way each class is structured and there is no need for lecture.
  • Many students tell stories about teachers calling home with encouragement, and steadfastly refusing to let the student fail.


>Hometown Communities for Catalyst Students

Catalyst students come from communities across the Front Range of Colorado. Many students drive, catch rides, or ride RTD to the Park and Ride near the school. While some of our students transfer to Catalyst from the BVSD, St. Vrain, Adams, and Jefferson school districts, many more live in areas throughout Metro Denver including: Broomfield, Westminster, Arvada, Lakewood, Wheatridge, Thornton, Northglen, Brighton, Boulder, Longmont, Erie, Louisville, and Lafayette.

Students with Disabilities

Catalyst may work well for a student whose disability is related to social, emotional, and some mental-health related challenges such as: anxiety, depression, PTSD, phobias, and self-harming behaviors. We will look carefully at each student’s unique set of circumstances to see whether we can create accommodations to meet those needs. Catalyst can be a good educational setting for some students with mild learning disabilities.


The heart and soul of Catalyst
is truly in the people who embody
our community.