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June 28, 2016 – Tucson, AZ
Education nonprofit brings together three Tucson downtown-area schools for wider community impact

CITY Center for Collaborative Learning, an Arizona 501c(3) nonprofit corporation that supports and leads City High School, will bring two partner middle schools into the fold on July 1, 2016.

Joining City High School under the nonprofit umbrella are Paulo Freire Freedom School-University, which opened in 2005 and is located in the Historic YWCA on University Avenue, and Paulo Freire Freedom School-Downtown, founded in 2014.

The three downtown-area charter schools serve grades 6 through 12 and enroll approximately 350 students annually. The schools’ founders were committed to locating in the downtown and university neighborhoods since planning the schools in the early 2000s. The schools invested over a million dollars in tenant improvements in their first decade. In 2013, CITY Center for Collaborative Learning purchased the historic Cele Peterson building (47 East) and the adjacent 37 East on Pennington Street, the historic Howard & Stofft building. The next project is an innovation lab, at 37 East, that will serve as a very forward-thinking model for teaching and learning practices and spaces.

Adam Weinstein, President and CEO of the Gadsden Company, applauds the three schools for their track record creating quality educational alternatives for the Tucson community and is inspired by their vision for the future. The Tucson investor and developer explains, “This new innovation lab will be a great resource for downtown and connect young people to the thriving maker culture we see throughout Tucson that is a new creative driver in our economy.”

CITY Center for Collaborative Learning is launching a professional development center, headed up by Santo Nicotera, the co-founder of the Paulo Freire Freedom Schools. Nicotera brings decades of experience as a teacher, principal, and facilitator to the position. The center offers educators hands-on learning experiences that allow for real-time observation of practices, such as project-based learning, arts integration, and student-led conferences. Nicotera also leads intensive trainings in implementing professional learning communities (PLCs) in schools.

Executive Director Carrie Brennan sees the non-profit as an opportunity to go further with the educational innovations she and the schools’ co-founders have been implementing for over a decade. “By bringing our schools and staffs together we dovetail resources and strengthen the teaching and learning happening within our own sites. At the same time, we are expanding our outreach to the wider educational community to have an impact more broadly on public education.”

Board Chair Dr. Mary Jo Ghory has led the strategic planning process over the past two years. Ghory states, “We have been very intentional about the organizational transformation. We took our time and mapped out the vision as part of a 5-year strategic plan. The schools are small by design – and we want to keep them that way – but we want to ensure their long-term sustainability. We also want the schools to be places of study for everyone striving to improve pedagogical practice.”

For an organizational history, visit http://CITYccl.org/about/story

About CITY Center for Collaborative Learning
CITY Center for Collaborative Learning is an education nonprofit dedicated to designing, implementing, and advancing innovations in teaching and learning that transform the lives of young people and their educators. We offer research-based professional development experiences for teachers, leaders, schools, and systems, including guided observations of demonstration learning environments, workshops, and coaching/consulting. For more information visit http://CITYccl.org/.

Media Contact
Carrie Brennan
Executive Director
CITY Center for Collaborative Learning
[email protected]
mobile: 520-250-5201