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Transformational Practices

CCCL Professional Learning Center

Building on a culture of innovation throughout CITY’s three flagship schools, the Professional Learning Center 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, Advisories, and Public Exhibitions 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 Communities 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 center offers PBL residencies where educators can visit our schools and see PBL in practice as well as speaking to teachers and students about their lived experiences with PBL.  We also provide professional development using PBL to address social and environmental challenges in our community.


When done well, advisories can serve as the heart of schools where students are known well, make deep personal connections with peers and a trusted adult and can learn social and emotional learning and restorative practices. Our unique Advisory program that incorporate elements of SEL

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

Public Demonstrations of Learning
Make learning real. Make learning public. 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.


CITY Center Schools and Programs

Our PLCs Use Protocols To Facilitate Equitable, Transformative Learning

Designing Rockets for Cold War PBL Unit

Advisory Challenge

Student Performances at Tucson's Downtown Rillito Theater