As many of you have heard, we are in a very exciting transition year at PFFS-Downtown and PFFS-University. In July 2016, these two middle schools and City High School will officially become three, demonstration sites/lab schools operated by CITY Center for Collaborative Learning as part of the nonprofit’s new vision/mission to transform teaching and learning locally and nationally.
Carrie Brennan, the co-founder and past principal of City High School will continue as the executive director of CITY Center for Collaborative Learning and Brett Goble (also a CHS co-founder and long-time faculty member) has been appointed the new principal of City High School. This will allow Carrie to lead the non-profit in this expanded role of outreach to educators in other public schools and districts using the three small schools as demonstration learning environments. Each of the three schools will have their own School Governing Board in 2015-2016 and the CITY Center Corporate Board will concentrate on the oversight of the larger organization and developing outreach to the greater educational community. CITY Center for Collaborative Learning will be launching a new website later this school year but in the meantime, please go to CITY Center.It is important to note that we (JoAnn Groh and Santo Nicotera), co-founders of the PFFS middle schools, have always believed that the purpose of charter schools and the purpose of Paulo Freire Freedom School in particular was to be a demonstration site/lab school for best teaching practices and small school design (see El Pueblo Integral). Over the years, we have provided coaching and consulting services to other public schools/school districts while operating the original Paulo Freire Freedom School at the University Blvd location. For several of these years, we would take turns being out of the building (up to three weeks per month total) providing coaching services to public schools while the other remained at PFFS in the principal role.
Throughout that first Paulo Freire decade we came to realize that we did not have the capacity to meet the great need within public schools for transformative professional development and support that existed. So we opened Paulo Freire Freedom School – Downtown last year to be the vanguard of a three-school complex of lab teaching/learning environments which CITY Center for Collaborative Learning could then use as demonstration sites in our outreach to the Tucson education community and beyond. We believe with the co-founders of City High School (Carrie, Brett and Eve Rifkin) that CITY Center will have the capacity to both sustain the three small schools and provide effective professional development to the wider community of public schools.