Most of the Paulo Freire community are aware that JoAnn Groh, Santo Nicotera (PFFS cofounders), and the El Pueblo Integral corporate board have been working closely with the cofounders of City High School (Carrie Brennan, Brett Goble, and Eve Rifkin) and the CITY corporate board over the past few years to create a transformed CITY Center for Collaborative Learning. Our two Paulo Freire middle schools and City High School will officially become three, demonstration sites/lab schools in July 2016 operated by CITY Center as part of the nonprofit’s new vision/mission to transform teaching and learning locally and nationally.
The mission and vision of Paulo Freire Freedom School was always to be a demonstration site/lab school for best teaching practices and small school design (see El Pueblo Integral). This was also the original purpose for charter schools (to create innovative spaces that everyone in public education could learn from); a purpose that the charter movement seems to have forgotten. Throughout our first Paulo Freire decade we came to realize that we did not have the capacity to meet the great need that existed within public schools for transformative professional development and support. We opened Paulo Freire Freedom School – Downtown last year to be the vanguard of a three-school complex of lab, teaching/learning environments that will be utilized as demonstration sites by CITY Center in its outreach to the Tucson education community and beyond.
Each school will continue to function as separate schools; each with their own principal, staff, and school governing board. However, CITY Center for Collaborative Learning will take over the fiduciary responsibility for PFFS-Downtown and PFFS-University when El Pueblo Integral transfers the charters in July 2016.