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Professional Learning Program

Building on a culture of innovation throughout CITY’s three flagship schools, the Professional Learning Program transforms the lives of young people and their educators by equipping classrooms, teachers, and districts throughout Southern Arizona and the United States to implement best practices in CITY’s four key areas: Professional Learning Communities, Project Based Learning, Social Emotional Learning, and Public Displays of Learning.

For details and registration for upcoming workshops, visit the PD Calendar. Click here to join the CITY Professional Learning Program email list and receive updates directly.

Areas of expertise include professional learning communities, project-based learning, social and emotional learning, and public demonstrations of learning.

Professional Learning Communities

Professional Learning Communities
Helping educators transform their school into a powerful professional learning community that effectively serves all students is one of CITY Center for Collaborative Learning’s areas of expertise.

CITY’s model of Professional Learning Community (PLC) goes beyond developing assessments and analyzing data. Building on School Reform Initiative’s critical friendship model, educators learn specific skills and understandings needed to establish a transformational community among professionals.

Developing norms, commitment to equity, productive data analysis, and collaborating to enhance the quality of instruction are essential prerequisites to establishing effective professional learning communities. Attending to these crucial components is vital as schools begin the work of establishing Professional Learning Communities.

Through CITY’s Summer PLC Institute, teachers, schools, and school systems learn the most effective and efficient tools to create and sustain the kinds of collegial environments that inspire and retain teachers throughout a long and successful career.

Project Based Learning

Project Based Learning is when students engage a real-world problem and answer complicated questions over an extended period of time. Through their teacher’s expert facilitation, they focus on mastering important content and demonstrating what they know, understand, and are able to do by sharing their work in progress, exhibiting their completed projects, and enhancing their projects through feedback and dialogue with authentic audiences.

CITY’s Professional Learning Program offers a three day introduction to Project Based Learning and is developing a follow up three day training to equip teachers to implement the High Quality Project Based Learning Framework in their classrooms.

Social and Emotional Learning

Social and Emotional Learning is fundamentally about relationships.

Social and Emotional Learning is how children come to know and understand their feelings and how their feelings affect their relationships, achievement, and decisions. As students understand themselves, they learn to empathize with others.

Within Social Emotional Learning, CITY provides trainings and consultancy services in Trauma Informed Practice, Positive Behavior Interventions and Support, Habits of Heart and Mind, and Advisory Programs for Middle and High School.

Public Demonstrations of Learning

Imagine a student who writes a poem for a classroom teacher, receives an A, and takes the paper home.

Now consider the same student who writes a poem, presents the poem in class for feedback, then performs the poem at a local poetry slam.

When teachers design instruction to include public demonstrations of learning, they communicate to students that the concepts they attain, the skills they master, and the products that they create are important and ought to be seen. CITY is committed to equip educators for public demonstrations of student learning because when work is made public, the quality of student work increases.

Transforming Lives

The Professional Learning Program aims to transform lives of young people and their educators by transforming how teaching and learning happens in classrooms, schools, and school systems throughout Southern Arizona. When our schools commit to enhancing their skills and knowledge in Professional Learning Communities, Project Based Learning, Social and Emotional Learning, and Public Demonstrations of Learning, we enhance the achievement of our children and strengthen our entire community.

CITY Center for Collaborative Learning’s professional development facilitators have worked for over two decades with a variety of schools, districts, and other educational organizations regionally and nationally, including:

  • Local districts: Tucson Unified School District, Sunnyside Unified School District, Amphitheater School District, Catalina Foothills School District
  • Independent schools, such as The Gregory School and Phoenix Country Day School
  • Districts throughout the state and nation, including Window Rock School District (AZ), Tulsa (OK) Public Schools, Fairfax (VA) Public Schools
  • Pima County Superintendent’s Regional Support Center
  • Educational advocacy groups and foundations, such as Arizona K-12 Center, Battelle for Kids, and Voices for Education

spring symposium - table shot“The workshop leaders did an amazing job illuminating ‘moves and strategies’ for facilitation. They had myriad insights … and were willing to adjust the agenda to attend to our needs as learners.” —Workshop Participant


To speak with someone in person about the professional development program, contact Director of professional development Timothy Grivois-Shah, Tim@CITYccl.org.
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