Project CATALYZE: Catalyzing Student Success With Teacher and Student SEL in Chicago Public Schools

  • Research Project
Catalyze Logo

What We Do

Project CATALYZE is a unique program that seeks to boost students’ social and emotional learning by introducing specific skills to help teachers manage stress and improve their teaching effectiveness.  Project CATALYZE will examine whether the PATHS Curriculum is even more effective when teachers receive the CARE curriculum.

Evidence-based SEL programs may be more effective in supporting students’ academic and social-behavioral outcomes when teachers have strong social-emotional skills and can build supportive relationships. 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, an adult SEL and professional development program that supports their own well-being and stress management.
By combining these two effective programs, we hope to catalyze a boost in positive teacher, classroom, and student outcomes.  Working with the Office of Social and Emotional Learning, we are inviting 40 K-8 schools to participate in the project. All first- through third-grade students will receive the PATHS SEL program delivered by their teachers. Half of the schools will be randomly assigned to also have their teachers receive the CARE program. The study will follow students into the following year when the study will add the fourth-grade teachers.


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.

PATHS® is a registered trademark of PATHS Program, LLC. 

Find more information on PATHS at


Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE) is a unique professional development 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.

Find more information on CARE at

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

  • Enhance teachers’ SEL skills and well-being
  • Reduce teachers’ stress
  • Increase the quality of PATHS curriculum implementation and classroom interactions
  • Improve students’ SEL skills, engagement, motivation, and academic achievement


Please join us on one of our CATALYZE Webinar sessions!
CATALYZE webinars host Dr. Tish Jennings and Dorothy Morelli, both former teachers and school administrators who are now education researchers dedicated to furthering knowledge and improving implementation of renowned SEL programs. Webinars also feature as special guests, principals who have had experience with PATHS in their schools.

Project Team

Karime Cameron

Karime Cameron

  • CASTL Education Innovation and Research (EIR) Project Associate
Tara Hofkens

Tara Hofkens

  • Research Assistant Professor
Patricia (Tish) Jennings

Patricia A. Jennings

  • Professor
  • Ed.D. in Curriculum & Instruction Program Director
Ava Michael

Ava Michael

  • Project Coordinator

Publications & Presentations


Schussler, D. L., DeWeese, A., Rasheed, D., DeMauro, A. A., Doyle-Fosco, S., Brown, J. L., Greenberg, M. T. & Jennings, P. A. (2019). The relationship between adopting mindfulness practice and reperceiving: A qualitative investigation of the CARE for Teachers program. Mindfulness.

Jennings, P. A., Doyle, S., Yoonkyung, O., Doyle, S., Rasheed, D., Frank, J. L., & Brown, J. L. (2019). Follow-up impacts of the CARE for Teachers professional development program on teachers' social and emotional competence. Journal of School Psychology.

Schussler, D. L., DeWeese, A., Rasheed, D., DeMauro, A. A., Brown, J. L., Greenberg, M. T., & Jennings, P. A. (2018). Stress and release: Case studies of teacher resilience following a mindfulness-based intervention. American Journal of Education, 125, 1-28.

Doyle, S., Jennings, P. A., Brown, J. L., DeWeese, A., Rasheed, D., Frank, J. L., Turksma, C., & Greenberg, M. T. (2018). Exploring the relationship between implementation quality and uptake of the Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE) for Teachers Program. Mindfulness.

Jennings, P. A., Brown, J. L., Frank, J. L., Doyle, S., Oh, Y., Davis, R., Rasheed, D., DeWeese, A., DeMauro*, A. A., Cham, H., & Greenberg, M. T. (2017). Impacts of the CARE for Teachers program on teachers’ social and emotional competence and classroom interactions. Journal of Educational Psychology, 109, 1010-1028

Schussler, D. L., Jennings, P. A., Sharp, J. E., & Frank, J. L. (2016). Improving teacher awareness and well-being through CARE: A qualitative analysis of the underlying mechanisms. Mindfulness, 7, 130–142.

Jennings, P. A., Frank, J. L., Snowberg, K. E., Coccia, M. A., & Greenberg, M. T. (2013). Improving classroom learning environments by Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE): Results of a randomized controlled trial. School Psychology Quarterly, 28, 374-390.


Riggs, N. R., Greenberg, M. T., Kusche, C. A., & Pentz, M. A. (2006). The mediational role of neurocognition in the behavioral outcomes of a social-emotional prevention program in elementary school students: Effects of the PATHS Curriculum. Prevention Science, 7, 91-102.

Greenberg, M. T., & Kusche, C. A. (2006). Building social and emotional competence: The PATHS Curriculum. In S. R. Jimerson & M. J. Furlong (Eds.), Handbook of school violence and school safety: From research to practice (pp. 395-412). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Domitrovich, C. E., Cortes, R. C., & Greenberg, M. T. (2007). Improving young children’s social and emotional competence: A randomized trial of the Preschool PATHS Curriculum. Journal of Primary Prevention, 28, 67-91.

Bierman, K. L., Domitrovich, C. E., Nix, R. L., Gest, S. D., Welsh, J. A., Greenberg, M.T., Blair, C., Nelson, K. & Gill, S. (2008). Promoting academic and social-emotional school readiness: The Head Start REDI Program. Child Development, 79,1802-1817.

Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group. (2010).The effects of a multi-year randomized clinical trial of a universal social-emotional learning program: The role of student and school characteristics. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 78, 156-168. DOI: 10.1037/a0018607

Affiliated Centers

  • Research Center

Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning

Founded in 2006, CASTL is an interdisciplinary research center that aims to advance the quality of teaching and learning, from infancy to higher education. Our research initiatives span the globe and our faculty are leading the way to promote meaningful changes in education. 

  • Research Center


Youth-Nex is a trans-disciplinary center with a translational approach to scholarship and innovation that is central to its work. 

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