“We connect our Catalyst families to resources that will better their lives forever.”
Myra Powell has been working in community development for over 35 years. She had never thought of working at a school until she learned about Catalyst Academy Charter School and our focus on building community. Her heartfelt support and joy in life are so contagious that we decided to interview her so she could share her story with us in her own words.
What was it about Catalyst that inspired you to choose to work here?
The leadership team here at Catalyst is outstanding and their work ethic matches mine. What I really liked about them and their model was that community was important in the building of the school. So many times, people will build a school and focus on the scholars or the youth alone, but don’t think about the parents that they belong to. You’ve got to understand, if you truly want to make a difference, that you must have effect with the parents.
We do whatever it takes to build a better community for our scholars and our parents.
As the Parent Community Advisor, what are the most common questions that parents ask?
The first thing they ask is – Is it free?
Yes, it’s free.
I help them understand that we’re a free public school focused on community.
Next, parents want to know – Do we accept all children, and all types of learning needs?
Yes, we do accept all children.
Parents are always interested in the process of inclusive learning. Our core value of Belong directly speaks to our inclusion model. All children belong at Catalyst Academy regardless of their ability level.
Some of our parents ask – Why the long school day?
It’s a long school day simply because we are including so many different things.
We want to include the arts, and we also have gym class. We have a full STEM program, so you see, we have a really rigorous curriculum to include everything for our scholars.
We also partner with a community organization to provide an after school program, which is available until 6:30pm.
Transportation can be a concern for some of our parents.
School busses for Catalyst Academy scholars are provided by the home school district within certain distance limits set by Pennsylvania law.
What is your favorite part of your work at Catalyst?
There are many positions I have had where I didn’t feel like I was making a difference, didn’t feel like I was needed, but this school was so new and there are so many different things that you can jump in and do.
Bringing in community based organizations, working with our families, working with our scholars, you know – encouraging all the time, just being in an environment where it’s just so positive, all the time.
How does working at Catalyst fulfill your life or professional goals?
I’ve worked in community development all my life, and this school is a community at its finest. I always saw that schools were separate and didn’t really interact with community, but Catalyst is different. If we want to have a well-rounded scholar, and a well rounded school, then we have to get the community involved.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
I enjoy having fun, experiencing new things, and I love, love, love having picnics.
Is there anything else you would like parents and the community to know about you?
I believe in self care, I believe in taking care of ourselves first.
I want parents to reach out if they have questions. We are adding a grade every year and I am here to help them with enrollment.
I want them to have the best education experience at Catalyst, because I believe at Catalyst, we are family. We take care of each other.
Catalyst Academy Charter School’s mission is to prepare all Scholars for college, career, and life. Catalyst Academy Charter School’s core values of Belong. Grow. Achieve. reflect the school’s deep commitment to cultivating an inclusive supportive school community where everyone – children and adults – is focused on learning every day, in order for all Scholars to define and achieve their dreams. Catalyst Academy Charter School’s education model is designed to close both the achievement and opportunity gap. The approach couples rigorous core academics with a broad offering in the arts and sciences. Scholars will experience STEM learning daily and arts programming four days per week. Enroll your Kinder, first or second grader today!