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Public School ‘Teacher Leaders’

©2015 Creatista-ScottGriessel-CityHighFinals--13

From left to right: Santo Nicotera, Eve Rifkin, Carrie Brennan, Brett Goble, and JoAnn Groh.

In 2004 and 2005, we five public school, ‘teacher leaders’ opened two new public schools in Tucson (a high school and a middle school) to serve as small, innovative ‘learning communities’ where best educational practices could be practiced and shared with the wider educational community.  We had 60+ years of public school, teaching experience between us. We were following the lead of many advocates of public school transformation after the release of A Nation at Risk – especially the work of Ted Sizer.*

*In 1983 A Nation at Risk was released. In 1988 Albert Shanker first proposed the idea of allowing teacher leaders to create innovative learning spaces within the public sector to support public school transformation (read 1988 speech).  In the 1990s Ted Sizer completed his study of secondary public education in America (the Horace trilogy: 1 2 3) and renewed the call for teacher leaders to create powerful innovative spaces as an integral part of nationwide, public school transformation.

We founded both of these schools on the ‘Ten Common Principles’ of the Coalition of Essential Schools (begun by Ted Sizer) and for the past several years we have never forgotten that we are about serving the larger public school community.  We have worked diligently to both operate City High School and Paulo Freire Freedom School as innovative educational environments and to share our work with other educators.  Now, with the emergence of CITY Center for Collaborative Learning, we have the capacity to create contexts for ‘joint work’ within the greater Tucson educational community.

Tomorrow, CITY Center is co-convening (with Tucson Values Teachers, Community Share, STEMAZing Project, and Lead Local) – Edcamp Tucson #2.  In September, CITY Center had hosted Tucson’s first-ever edcamp and the response was so incredible, we decided to host a second edcamp with twice the capacity. We are very excited to share that Edcamp Tucson #2 is sold out with educators and community members from throughout Tucson set to participate.  If you have not had a chance to view the student-created video from the September edcamp, we invite you to check it out:


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