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Catalyzing Student Success with Teacher and Student SEL in Chicago Public Schools

Sharing Student

For nearly twenty years, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) – the third largest school district in the nation – has worked to implement social and emotional learning (or SEL) programs in their schools. 

Students with strong SEL skills and feelings of connection with their teachers and peers are more likely to manage their stress effectively and to engage in instruction and learn successfully. 


Project CATALYZE will examine whether a well-tested SEL program for students called the PATHS® Curriculum is even more effective when teachers receive the CARE curriculum, a professional development program that supports their own well-being and management of stress.

CATALYZE seeks to boost students’ social and emotional learning by introducing specific skills to help teachers manage stress and improve their teaching effectiveness. 

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A CASEL Select Program, the PATHS® program promotes peaceful conflict resolution, emotion regulation, empathy, and responsible decision making. PATHS has been evaluated in multiple, large (e.g., n=2,397 students) randomized control trials in urban schools in grades PreK–5 (nine RCTs) and is the most tested SEL program in the world. Evaluations have followed students for up to three years. Results showed PATHS improved academic performance and engagement, climate and social and emotional attitudes, behaviors and skills, and reduced conduct problems and emotional distress


Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE) is a unique professional development and adult SEL program that offers teachers tools and resources for reducing stress, preventing burnout, enlivening teaching and helping students thrive socially, emotionally and academically. CARE has been studied in a series of rigorous studies in urban contexts examining the impacts of CARE on teacher, classroom, and student outcomes. Results showed CARE improved teacher well-being, emotion regulation, and mindfulness and the quality of classroom interactions. CARE also improved student engagement. Among students low in social skills, CARE improved reading competence 

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We hypothesize that building teachers’ capacity with the CARE Program will:

  • Enhance teachers’ SEL skills and well-being

  • Increase the quality of PATHS® curriculum implementation and classroom interactions

  • Improve students’ SEL skills, engagement, motivation, and academic achievement

This project is funded by a grant from the United States Department of Education, Education Innovation Research (Grant #U411C190159). PATHS® is a registered trademark of PATHS Programs, LLC. 

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Learn more about CATALYZE

and the programs it will to bring to your school


Principals Quotes

Natasha Buckner

GR Clark Elementary School

“I equate the CARE program to the analogy of when you are on an airplane and flight attendants review the safety routines and they give the direction of 'in the event of an emergency in which you have to use a mask, be sure to put your mask on first before helping others' with the CARE program we are putting on our masks both personally and professionally."


Dawn Sydnor

"At Morrill, we recognize the importance of connection, empathy, and support, especially during this time. With the shift of learning virtually this year, having PATHS  to support our students' social and emotional learning has helped our classrooms build a sense of community and has given students the chance to learn and talk about important emotions and feelings."

Carmen Navarro

Mariano Azuela Elementary School

“PATHS has made a difference in my school climate as students feel that their teachers care about their feelings and opinions... PATHS allows students to learn the language of feelings and emotions thus, are able to articulate with clarity what is affecting their mood and outlook.”

Clifford Gabor

Mary Lyon School

First, I have to say thank you for all of your leadership and support.  It was an incredibly challenging year for us and I am thankful to Project Catalyze for providing a breath of fresh air amid all of the situations we faced as a school.  Project Catalyze is a well organized group.  I wish to thank Ms. Cameron for all of her help.  


I wish to acknowledge all of the work of Mark Greenberg and Christa Turksma - I found the (CARE) sessions extremely helpful.  I did appreciate the workshops and I am grateful to both of them forproviding focus - especially around setting an intention for the day and the value of listening and self reflection.


Thank you to PATHS - Dorothy Morelli always gives us her best when working with the staff and I wish to thank PATHS for providing additional support to my school around problem solving.


Thank you Project Catalyze for giving our staff techniques to relate better to our children, our families and all of our stakeholders.

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