Author Archive

Pennington Street Showcase: Arts & Culture Edition, December 13

The Pennington Street Showcase Arts and Culture edition is happening on Thursday, December 13 from 5-7 pm at City High School.  All families are invited to attend.

The Pennington Street Showcase will feature a fashion runway show narrated in Spanish, a jazz club featuring musician stories from the segregated South in the 1940’s and 1950’s, DNA lp’s, classical guitar, modern dance, a performed scene from To Kill A Mockingbird by the City High School drama productions class, and an art gallery with art prints for sale.

This event is a public demonstration of student learning.  The Pennington Street Showcase allows students from Paulo Freire Freedom School -University, Paulo Freire Freedom School -Downtown, and City High School to show their rigorous, authentic, and real-world learning and understanding in front of a meaningful audience.  Come join us for an engaging and fun evening of student excellence.

Our Own Jessica Melrose is Honored as One of Tucson’s ’40 Under 40′ Leaders!



“Jessica came to Tucson from her native New Jersey to attend the University of Arizona and has been teaching art since she graduated fifteen years ago. Jessica’s can-do spirit is infectious and helps to make her an incredibly effective teacher, artist and leader. The Tucson community is lucky she decided to put down roots in the Old Pueblo!

For Jessica, art is not separate from the complex world we live in. She connects students with social issues and community events, coaching them to craft and share their art to express themselves articulately and passionately to make an impact on their world.

Jessica strives to reach all students. She inspires in the talented artists the desire and skill to take their work to a professional level and brings along the reluctant beginners with tools and steps to become successful. Jessica recognizes the power of deadlines and real world audiences to motivate students to produce quality work. She connects with community partners, encourages students to participate in contests, creates gallery spaces, and uses social media to share student artwork with public audiences.

Jessica is a true leader driven by action. She created a dedicated website for her students’ work where reproductions can be purchased and proceeds are shared between the individual youth artist and the school’s art program, Jessica is a one-woman department, planning and implementing the art curriculum at City High School with a wide variety of offerings and levels, including Art 1 through Art 5, Portfolio, Independent Study, Yearbook & Video Productions. She mentors and assist her students in portfolio development for those who want to pursue art as a career.

Jessica has also taken a leading role in the brand design for CITY Center for Collaborative Learning and City High School as well as projects for the Paulo Freire Freedom Schools. She supports City High School’s social media sites with compelling student stories and images.

While Jessica has facilitated many students winning awards over the years, she has also garnered some herself. Jessica was awarded Arizona Teacher of the Year in 2008 and Top 10 Arizona Charter School Teacher of the Year in 2010. She also earned a high-level grant from Friends of Western Art and purchased all the art supplies at locally owned Sarnoff Artist Materials.

When you meet Jessica, you will quickly see that she is a creative, strong and dedicated teacher, and embodies all the traits of an accomplished, impactful 40-under-40 leader.”

Parent-Teacher Conferences, September 13 and 14

Parent-Teacher Conferences will be Thursday evening, September 13, from 4:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m. and on Friday morning, September 14, between 8:30 a.m.-11:00 a.m. Conferences will be “arena style,” meaning that all teachers will be set up together on the ground floor (spread out with one teacher per table). Each teacher will have a sign-up sheet with 10 minute appointment slots available. Parents will sign up for a single slot with whichever of their student’s teachers they would like to meet with. Parents do not need to schedule times in advance, and can arrive any time during conference hours. Slots do tend to fill up quickly, so sign up with your student’s teachers as soon as you arrive.


School will run on a modified schedule to make room for parent-teacher conferences. Students will attend a half-day, afternoon schedule and lunch will be served each day:



11:00 a.m. Building opens to students

11:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Lunch served

12:05 p.m.-1:00 p.m. PERIOD 1

1:05 p.m.-2:00 p.m. PERIOD 3

2:05 p.m.- 3:00 p.m. PERIOD 5

Students dismissed at 3:00 p.m.

Drop-In Parent/Teacher Conferences 4:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m.



Drop-in Parent/Teacher Conferences 8:30 a.m.-11:00 a.m.

11:00 a.m.: Building opens to students

11:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Lunch served

12:05 p.m.-12:40 p.m. ADVISORY

12:45 p.m.-1:50 p.m. PERIOD 2

1:55 p.m.- 3:00 p.m. PERIOD 4

Students dismissed at 3:00 p.m.

Contact Becca Dillon,, 623-7223 x200 with questions.

Letter from the Principal: Academic Progress and PowerSchool

Brett Goble

Dear Parents,

Now that we are well on our way into the 2018-19 school year, students are reflecting on questions like these: How am I doing academically so far? Am I making progress? What can I do to improve? These are all timely and helpful questions for students to ask at this point in the year as they are learning new material and developing routines and habits that will impact their progress.

Feedback on the academic work students do provide helpful answers to the questions students have about their progress. The feedback students receive on their work can be in the form of a self-assessment, peer feedback, or directly from the teacher.  Teachers make suggestions for revision, and assign progress indicators on specific learning assessments. Whatever form it is in, feedback ought to inform a student where they are in terms of proficiency on the learning target and what they need to do to improve.

PowerSchool is a helpful window into how a student is making progress in their classes. If you do not yet have a username and password to access PowerSchool, please contact your child’s Advisor or call the front desk. Once logged into Powerschool, you will see an indicator code next to the classes in your student’s schedule; it will either be an ‘MP’ or an ‘AR’.

MP = Making Progress: The student is doing all they need to be doing to make progress in the class. It may be true that on some assessments the student has not yet reached proficiency, but that’s okay, as the student is in the process of acquiring the concepts and skills in the course and is completing all assignments to reach proficiency or beyond by the end of the semester.

AR = Action Required: The student needs to make-up some missing work or finish incomplete work. An ‘AR’ indicates that the student needs to do more in class to focus on completing work, attend office hours before school (Tuesdays-Fridays from 8:30-9:00am), or attend free tutoring sessions after school.

In PowerSchool, I encourage you to look into the assignment details by clicking on the ‘AR’ or ‘MP’ code next to the course. This will take you to a list of assignments. On the assignment detail screen, you will see specific progress indicators for assessments. Other assignments that are not scored may be simply marked as ‘Collected’ or ‘Missing’.

For assessments, we are using a 4-level grading system to provide feedback on how a student is performing on the learning standards connected to each assessment. Here are the codes for the four performance levels and a description of what they mean:

  • H – Highly Proficient: In addition to demonstrating understanding of the learning standard for the assignment, the student demonstrates in-depth inferences and applications that go beyond what is expected.
  • PRO – Proficient: This is the goal for all students to reach. Earning a ‘PRO’ means that the student has met the standard as described in the grading rubric for the assignment.
  • N – Nearing Proficiency: Earning an ‘N’ means the student shows evidence of understanding some but not all aspects of the learning standard for the assignment.
  • E – Emerging Proficiency: Earning a ‘U’ means the student has not demonstrated the learning standard for the assignment.

Teachers at City High School encourage and teach students how to revise and improve their work in order to demonstrate a higher level of proficiency on the standards. The 4-level grading system is intended to foster a mindset among students that focuses on revision, growth and improvement.

All of these individual assignment grades are factored into the overall grade for the course, which will be reported as an A, B, C, or F at both the end of the quarter and at the end of the semester. Note: the Quarter 1 and Quarter 3 course grades are progress grades only and are not final; Semester 1 and Semester 2 grades are final, and will be recorded on the student’s transcript. The course grade is based on the combination of scores the student has earned throughout the semester. In general, this is how course grades are determined by teachers:

  • A – Indicates the student has earned ‘H’ scores on many of the assessments by the end of the grading term.
  • B – Indicates the student has earned mostly ‘PRO’ scores by the end of the grading term, with no ‘E’ scores on any assessments.
  • C – Indicates the student has earned mostly ‘N’ scores by the end of the grading term.
  • F – Indicates the student has earned mostly ‘E’ scores or has too many missing or incomplete assignments.

If you have questions, I encourage you to talk to your student about their learning, contact teachers to understand their progress more in depth, and/or connect with your child’s Advisor for a ‘big picture’ discussion regarding academic progress.

Thank you for your active and caring support of your child’s learning at City High School. Stay involved by participating in some of the Family Night events on Thursdays. For a complete schedule, link to our online calendar found at

Please feel free to contact me with any questions, feedback, or to share ideas.



Partnership with Federal Courts Gets National Press Coverage

This year, City High School students in Jessica Janecek‘s Democracy classes will continue their participation in a program with the United States District Court on Civil Discourse and Difficult Decisions. Jessica’s classes participated in the program last February with a day at the U.S. District courthouse here in Tucson. On that day, students worked with federal court lawyers and law clerks to play the roles of lawyers and jurors to simulate a trial related to free speech and social media. The program in Tucson with City High School was one of three pilot programs around the country.

The New York Daily News recently published an article on the Federal Courts program as it expands into cities around the country, including New York City. In the article, our own senior student, Samantha Zazueta is quoted along with U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce MacDonald, who coordinated the program with our students and served as the judge during the simulation.

Our participation in the Federal Courts simulation is just one of many opportunities for our students to engage in relevant and meaningful issues with professionals in the community in real world settings.



Back-to-School Night is Thursday, August 23

Parents and guardians are encouraged to join us for our annual Back-to-School Night on Thursday, August 23 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.. This annual event is a great opportunity to meet your child’s teachers and find out more about course expectations.  We will highlight:

  • School mission and goals
  • Ways the parents can get involved at school
  • How to support your child’s learning at home
  • Teacher and support staff qualifications*
  • Academic support and enrichment programs available to students
  • Title 1 funding priorities

Back-to-School Night is primarily designed for adult family members; students may accompany their family members but are not expected to participate.

Questions? Contact: Brett Goble, Principal – 623-7223 x 203 –

¡Bienvenidos a TODAS nuestras familias! Para información en español, por favor llame a Leslie Newman, 623-7223 x 103.

*PARENTS RIGHT TO KNOW NOTIFICATION: Parents have a right to know details regarding teacher qualifications. Parents may request information on the professional qualifications of their child’s teachers. Information includes:

  • teacher certification status
  • teacher educational background
  • qualifications of paraprofessionals

Staffing Updates for the 2018-2019 School Year

Some familiar faces at City High have changed roles for this upcoming school year:

  • Annie Holub is teaching Literature, Rhetoric, and Composition (a class that all 12th grade students take)  as well as Reading Support, Creative Writing, and Passion Project, an independent research elective.
  • Eve Rifkin is our Dean of Students.
  • Krista Gypton is teaching Senior Seminar and is our Senior Internship and Community Partnerships Coordinator.

We are excited to have several new staff members join our team this year:

  • Jennifer Knochel is teaching Biology and Desert Youth Gardening. Jennifer is an experienced science educator with a background in anthropology, sustainability, farming, mindfulness, and wilderness catering. Jennifer is part of a cohort of Tucson educators in Recharge the Rain, a 4-year program funded by NOAA and developed by Watershed Management Group and Arizona Project WET to promote climate literacy and resiliency through community action projects.
  • Gia Bloomstrand is a Support Services Education Assistant, and co-teaches a math support class. Gia has been a math teacher for many years, teaching at schools in Tucson and Oakland, California. Gia is moving into the field of Special Education.
  • Andie Sweetman is a Support Services Education Assistant and also co-teaches a math support class. Andie was formerly an after-school and garden educator for the Primavera Foundation; she’s also had internships in West Bank, Palestine and Aman, Jordan.
  • Raevyn Crews is a Support Services Education Assistant. She is currently studying Sociology at the University of Arizona. Raevyn graduated from City High School in 2016 and we are so excited to have her back!

Find out more about these amazing people as well as everyone else on staff by visiting the Staff Directory on our website.

UPDATE: 9th Grade Orientation on August 6 to end at 1pm

Dear 9th Grade Parents and Students,

On Monday, August 6 all incoming 9th grade students will join some of their teachers and the LinkCrew Seniors for a fun day of team building activities at the Pima 4-H High Ropes Course.

Due to the excessive heat warning, we are limiting the day to end at 1:00 p.m. rather that the originally planned end time, which was 3:00 p.m.

The plan is still to meet at City High School at 9:00 a.m., but the outing to the ropes course will be limited to the morning hours. There will be water stations, shade and hose down stations.

We will return to school for lunch at noon, and students will be ready for pick-up at 1:00 p.m. If early pick-up is a problem, we will have activities available for students.

Please contact me with any questions you might have about tomorrow’s plans. Thank you,

Brett Goble, Principal


Important Dates for Back-to-School

Brett Goble

Dear Students & Families,

We are busy gearing up for the new school year and look forward to seeing everyone soon! We hope you all received the packet sent home early in July. Included in the mailing were important forms to fill in and other school information for your reference. Here are reminders about some of the important dates highlighted in the mailing:

Monday, July 30: Back-to-School Registration

  • All students are required to attend and must be accompanied by a parent or guardian
  • Registration is open from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and again from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Families with a last name beginning A-M are requested to come to the morning session
  • Families with a last name beginning N-Z are requested to come to the afternoon session

Students will receive their schedules and other important information at registration. They will also have their pictures taken for their school ID so please encourage your child to dress accordingly. Parents will have the opportunity to pay student fees, learn how to use PowerSchool to stay informed on their child’s progress and attendance, and turn in several required school forms that were mailed home last week.

Monday, August 6: 9th Grade Orientation–All incoming 9th grade students will join our LinkCrew Seniors for a fun day of team building activities to get our freshmen ready for the year.

Tuesday, August 7: First Day of School–Classes for all students begin on August 7. Students will attend a regular day of Tuesday classes on the first day of school (periods 1, 3, 5, and core electives).

Thursday, August 23: Back-to-School Night–Parents are invited to follow their student’s schedule and meet the administration and teachers to learn more about the year ahead.

If you have any questions about registration or the beginning of school, please contact Office Manager & Registrar, Becca Dillon at 623-7223 x200 or


Brett Goble, Principal

Senior Gateways 2018: Thursday, May 17

senior presenter

Senior Gateways are happening this Thursday! Seniors are furiously rehearsing this week and are excited to present their learning. All students present gateways at the end of each year as part of our Schoolwide Assessment Program. Gateway Presentations are a central part of the City HS culture and provide each student an opportunity to reflect on their learning and development throughout their time as students here.

Parents of Seniors should have received a schedule of student presentations; please contact Eve Rifkin for more info about your child’s schedule or if you have any questions. Students in grades 9-11 will be presenting their gateways next week May 22-25.

We look forward to seeing all of our City HS families this week and/or next as we celebrate the end of another successful year.