It is 2023 and we are now embarking on our eighth year of providing academic tutoring support. If you had asked me in 2015 where we would be now, I would have never imagined the incessant changes, twist and turns we have experienced. While it could sometimes be frustrating, it's all a part of the labyrinth one has to navigate, when managing a business. You have to strive (and sometimes fail) at being incredibly flexible, patient, innovative, and work to adapt and improvise all of the time. The other piece I have learned is that staying positive is of paramount importance for surviving the perpetual changes that take place; especially in the world of education, especially in a post-COVID environment.
When I began this company, I had a vision of what I hoped we could achieve and we are definitely on a completely different path than I ever expected. And it's all for the better.
I took some time to pause a bit this summer and reflect on what it is we are doing. While our mission has definitely evolved, our values haven't, and I spent time considering what I hope this year to look like. I set out to synthesize many of our systems and practices.
One of the primary focuses I am excited about are the professional development (PD) opportunities our tutors will have this year, focused on topics such as Social Emotional Learning (SEL), Trauma Informed Practices, and student engagement. We are kicking off our PD series this year in partnership with Jerry Xiong, from Willamette Education Service District. Our tutors will have the opportunity to explore ways to integrate SEL practices into their sessions and learn more about cultivating a sense of belonging for their students. While we have had PD opportunities on these topics over the last few years, they are now tied to personalized PD plans and tutor reflections; and topics are also connected to our core values of being: relational, engaging, collaborative, communicative, and research based.
I am also thrilled to be working with some new partners this year, in new contracting opportunities. I am looking forward to learning more about our new schools, their students, and work in collaboration with their administration, staff, and parents.
Finally, we have spent the last few weeks preparing for the integration of Renaissance's® STAR Assessments and learning how to utilize their progress monitoring systems, to better support our students this year. I am beyond ecstatic about this particular partnership and looking forward to the access we will have around specific student data. It will drive our instruction and goals, but we will also now have the ability to share more data with parents, staff, and administrators.
While change can be scary, it can also be great! I am very much looking forward to this school year and all that it will bring.
Danielle, founder of Catalyst Education and Career Pathways, has worked in education for over fifteen years. She began her teaching career in Beaverton, Oregon and later taught at the middle school, high school, and college level in New York City. She later returned to Oregon and spent several years working in Workforce Development. Her passion for teaching brought her back to the classroom, where she continued teaching Spanish and Technology, until last year. Beyond holding a Masters Degree in Teaching, Danielle also obtained her Master's Certificate in Administration and is now focusing on managing Catalyst, while investigating ways to improve our education system.