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“CITY Center for Collaborative Learning designs, implements and advances exemplary practices in teaching and learning that transform the lives of young people and their educators.”

Our mission statement encapsulates what we are about at CITY Center as we set out to:

  • provide professional development for educators in southern Arizona and beyond,
  • convene conversations on teaching and learning,
  • host Edcamp Tucson twice annually,
  • ensure the long-term success and sustainability of City High School and the two Paulo Freire middle schools,
  • invite educators and the community to visit and learn from these demonstration schools, and
  • engage the public in local schools through our support of the CommunityShare initiative.

At our three demonstration schools, teachers are continuously and collaboratively conducting research to determine best teaching and learning practices to replicate in their classrooms. They are also maintaining cycles of sustained inquiry into their own practice and the innovations they are implementing. Their efforts are supported through monthly meetings within professional learning communities and an ongoing professional learning process that culminates in public demonstrations of teacher learning at the end of the year.

One of the ways CITY Center advances and shares these teaching and learning practices is through facilitation of day-long immersion experiences we call residency workshops at our school demonstration sites.

Spotlight on the ‘PBL/CommunityShare’ Residency Workshop – November 2017

On November 14, sixteen Tucson-area educators participated in one of these residency experiences at the downtown campus of Paulo Freire Freedom School and City High School.

JoAnn Groh, a BIE national faculty member and one of our middle school principals, kicked off the morning with a presentation and mini-workshop on the BIE Gold Standard ‘Essential Project Design Elements’ and ‘Project Based Teaching Practices.’ The group then headed out to conduct guided observations of PBL classrooms at the middle school (participants looking for evidence of the PBL design elements and practices), and concluded the morning with a structured debrief of the classroom observations.

Lunch was shared with a panel of teacher leaders and principal Brett Goble from City High School discussing the implementation of PBL at the high school level, as well as the use of CommunityShare to support school/community partnerships. After lunch, workshop participants and two teachers from the middle school used a Charrette Protocol to design together next steps for one of the student projects they had observed earlier that morning.

The afternoon continued with participant observations of a multi-grade class of high school students interviewing a community partner about a project they were working on. The experience concluded with the students interviewing the workshop participants, one on one, about the project’s driving question: ‘What do teachers need/want most in order to be happy/fulfilled?’ The final part of the day was both moving and transformational for students and workshop participants alike and exemplified for me once again, our mission: CITY Center for Collaborative Learning designs, implements, and advances exemplary practices in teaching learning that transform the lives of young people and their educators.