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Posts By: Chad Blair

Board leads search for interim executive director

A professional learning community can (and should) be about teachers.

by Tim Grivois-Shah, Ed.d., Director of Professional Learning and Community Engagement Schools often designate time for teams of teachers to meet as part of a Professional Learning Community. Usually, the purpose of this time is to develop a common understanding of what students need to learn, monitor student performance on different kinds of assessments, or […]

Frank Di Pietrapaul leads a tour of Las Milpitas

What does an environmentally based school look like?

-by Frank Dipietrapaul, Farm to School Coordinator at CITY Center for Collaborative Learning Imagine attending a school located on a farm from a young age.  A school centered on environmental stewardship and a connection to the earth seems like a fairy tale, doesn’t it?  Yet, some of the most pressing issues facing the world today […]

Board commends founder & executive director’s legacy upon announced departure

TUCSON, Arizona, March 7, 2019 – CITY Center for Collaborative Learning’s board of directors recently approved a resolution recognizing and appreciating the outstanding service and contribution of one of the organization’s founding principals and its executive director, Carrie Brennan. Brennan has recently accepted the position of Head of School at Thetford Academy in Vermont and […]

E.D. Carrie Brennan receives Woman of Influence award

Executive Director Carrie Brennan won the 2019 Woman of Influence Award in the education category. In this blog post, we share excerpts from Carrie’s nomination, written by board chair and vice-chair Jonathan Martin and Theresa Mary Fischer. For more than a quarter century, Carrie Brennan has had a deep impact on the Southern Arizona education sector and […]

Professional Learning Communities

Straight talk from substitute teachers

by Tim Grivois-Shah, Ed.D., Director of Professional Learning and Community Engagement and former substitute teacher. From time to time, teachers need to be away from their classrooms to care for their families and for themselves, to attend conferences and workshops, or to collaborate with their grade level teams. The substitute teachers who care for students […]

Build relationships first

by Tim Grivois-Shah, Ed.D., Director of Professional Learning and Community Engagement Build relationships first. All the rest can come next. In most elementary schools, students spend almost all of their day with one teacher. Recently, some schools have tried different ways to organize learning time. One idea has been to group students in “specialized” classrooms […]

Edcamp Tucson: When teachers lead the conversation

by Tim Grivois-Shah, Ed.D., Director of Professional Learning and Community Engagement Edcamp Tucson is coming up on February 9, 2019 at 8:30am and happens at CITY Center for Collaborative Learning twice a year and. And I have no idea what we’ll be talking about yet. Most professional learning events for teachers are planned well in […]

Physical activity is linked to better outcomes for students with ADHD.

Three student-centered interventions for learners with ADHD

by Tim Grivois-Shah, Director of Professional Learning and Community Engagement After a whole-group lesson on the carpet, a class of 28 second grade students returns to their seats to work on their stories. Except for the sounds of pencils scratching across paper, the class is silent. Five minutes into independent work time, however, Greg stares […]

PBIS is about relationships.

The difference between reinforcement, reward, and outright bribery

-By Tim Grivois-Shah, Director of Professional Learning and Community Engagement Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS) is an effective way to promote social, emotional, and academic achievement. A key tenet of PBIS is that students can learn positive social emotional skills just as they can learn academic content. understanding how different approaches to acknowledging positive […]

Erica Saunders

How teachers can help a child’s brain heal after trauma

Erica Saunders is the School Counselor and Wellness Committee Director at City High School, one of three schools operated by CITY Center for Collaborative Learning. Erica is an expert on trauma informed practice and leads professional learning opportunities for educators inside and outside of CITY Center for Collaborative Learning. The developing brain is primed for […]

Emily McCrea, Director of Downtown Community School

Holding space for what our children feel

Emily McCrea is the Director of the Downtown Community School and collaborates with CITY Center for Collaborative Learning’s work in Trauma Informed Practice.  Recipient of the 2017 Cecilia Avalos Parent Education Award, Emily’s mentors are: Bev Bos, Lori Petro, Robin Grille. Her strongest influences include the works of: Eckhart Tolle, Alfie Kohn, Shefali Tsabary, Daniel […]

40 Under 40 Jessica Melrose

Honoring our teacher leaders: Congrats to Jessica Melrose!

Jessica Melrose, the Visual Arts Teacher at City High School, is one of Tucson’s 40 Under 40 Award winners! In this blog post, we share excerpts from Jessica’s nomination, written by Executive Director Carrie Brennan, highlighting the breadth of her experience and the impact she is making in her classroom and community. “Jessica came to Tucson from […]

Student Led Conference

The missing person in traditional parent teacher conferences

Krista Gypton, Community Partnership Coordinator at City High School, on student-led conferences. My daughter Morgan is 11 and in 6th grade. As she sits next to me and her dad on the pony wall outside her classroom, she nervously bounces her legs up and down. Her teacher, Jana, opens the door and welcomes us into the […]

City High School Students Tending the Garden

Worm composting and our youth

Our Farm-to-School Americorps Member Frank Dipietrapaul on how to engage children in science with worms. Almost everyone I know has some childhood story about worms. Deep down we all love them, even if somewhere along the line we developed a misunderstanding. My first experience with worms is an account from my mother; I was about […]

Lin Lucas, Popular Culture as Primary Text

Popular culture as primary text

Lin Lucas, Educational Assistant at Paulo Freire Middle School-University Campus, on how comics can be primary texts for social justice pedagogy. Author Scott McCloud has called comics “the invisible art” because the deceptive simplicity of the form masks a complex, expressive medium in which words and pictures are combined, challenging readers to draw from their […]

CITY Center for Collaborative Learning High School Students in Advisory

Advisory: Being intentional about relationships

Dr. Eve Rifkin, Dean of Students, on how City High School’s advisory program holds space for positive relationships with students. “I believe that the moral education centers upon this conception of the school as a mode of social life, that the best and deepest moral training is precisely that which one gets through having to […]

Lifecycle of a PBIS Store

The life cycle of a PBIS store

-Tim Grivois-Shah Like many in education, I am grateful that I get to help children learn and grow. And, I’m happy knowing that I likely have many years ahead of me to collaborate with and learn from inspiring professionals who share in this great work. Sometimes, though, I’ve truthfully felt that I would be happy […]

Frank Dipietrapaul teaches students about vermicomposting.

Food justice and our youth

Frank Dipietrapaul leads adult and youth learning programs at Las Milpitas Community Farm Food justice is, at its heart, social justice. When we understand that racial and economic inequalities marginalize people and deprive them of access to healthy, sustainable and nourishing food, we recognize that our work for social justice must include striving for equitable access […]

Systems, Data, and Practices Support Outcomes--PBIS

Positive Behavior Intervention and Support-about the tickets

Most schools that implementing school-wide Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) use tickets to recognize students for positive behaviors. The idea is simple—encourage students to do what is right by handing students a PBIS ticket when we see them demonstrating positive behavior. As we pay less attention to the problems our students cause, we have […]

Trauma Informed Practice

Three commitments for trauma informed school leaders

In this blog post I reflect back on my recent experience as a principal of a large urban elementary school that, over four years, embraced trauma informed practice as an essential part of good instruction. I walked into my office after morning announcements to review my plan for the day. I had appointments with three […]

Patrick Kelly

Honoring our teacher leaders: Congrats to Patrick Kelly!

Patrick Kelly, a humanities teacher at Paulo Freire Freedom School-Downtown, was one of nine finalists for the TVT Leaders in Education teacher awards this year! Check out the nomination letter below, written by colleague Jessica Janecek, to get a sense of the many ways that Patrick exhibits his leadership – in the classroom, in the community, […]

PBIS Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports

Positive Behavior Intervention and Support: Let’s be ready for all of our learners

Schools with strong Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS) systems have a school-wide approach to teach what positive behavior looks like and to recognize children for the good that they do—practices abundantly supported in research and effective for most students most of the time. PBIS, however, is also about transforming our practice to be purposeful and […]