Author Archive

Letter from the Principal: Important Updates and Reminders

Brett Goble

Greetings City High School Parents and Guardians,

We have successfully launched the new school year! In our first days of school, students and staff have been working together to create a caring, inclusive, and academically challenging learning community. This email will provide you with some important updates and information for the first weeks of school. 

Back-to-School Night is happening this week, on Thursday, August 22, from 6:00-8:00pm. The purpose of Back-to-School Night is to give parents and guardians a chance to get to know their child’s Advisor, teachers, course schedule, and curriculum. We will also be sharing our new learning management system, which will enable you to check on your student’s academic progress in each class. Here is a link to a detailed agenda for the event.

Staff Updates: I am excited to introduce you to some amazing new City High School staff members! They are each highly qualified and experienced in their subjects and role. We could not be happier with the team we have in place for this year. 

  • Laurie Cale teaches Physical and Life Sciences
  • Teré Fowler-Chapman is our Dean of Student Life & School Culture
  • Gabriel Reyes teaches Geometry, Algebra 2, and Precalculus
  • Liz Rose teaches Study Skills and Geometry Math Support and is an Education Assistant in Geometry, American Studies, and Quantitative Reasoning
  • Alisha Vasquez teaches the Senior Capstone class and is our College & Career Pathways Coordinator
  • Susan Whiting is our Administrative Assistant and Receptionist

Voices Extended Day Program: City High School supports our extended day program with a 21st Century Learning Center grant. This year we are thrilled to be able to offer a wide variety of enrichment activities for our students. Some before and after school programming has started already this past week. The full set of offerings will be in place by the first week of September. I encourage every student to get involved in at least one Voices program this year to enhance their experience at City High School. Check out the Fall 2019 schedule.

Please take two minutes and fill out this High School Health and Wellness Survey. The Parent/Guardian survey is available in English and Spanish online at:

Your participation in this survey helps us track the effectiveness of our Heath and Wellness program, which is supported by a competitive grant from the Arizona Governor’s Office of Youth, Faith and Family. The intent of the program is to prevent the onset of the use of alcohol, marijuana, and prescription drugs and to foster the development of social and physical environments that promote healthy and drug-free lifestyles. 

Save the date for Parent-Teacher Conferences happening on the evening of September 12 and the morning of September 13. During either of these times, you will have an opportunity to talk to each of your child’s teachers, learn more about their course curriculum and learn more about how your student is making progress in their class. More information on Parent-Teacher Conferences will be coming soon. 

Feel free to share any feedback you might have about your child’s experience at City High School. The teachers and support staff have worked tirelessly to create meaningful and challenging learning experiences for your student. We are looking forward to working with you this year as partners in your student’s learning journey. 

Kind Regards,

Brett Goble

Letter from the Principal: Co-founder and Dean of Students, Eve Rifkin, announces departure

Greetings Families,

I’m sharing some big news with you: Eve Rifkin will be stepping down as Dean of Student Life and School Culture to pursue the next phase of her career in higher education.

As a co-founder of City High School, Eve has had a tremendous impact on the lives of young people and the educators she has worked with over the last fifteen years. Eve, along with Carrie Brennan, and I, began dreaming and making plans for City High School several years before opening in Fall 2004. Those dreams and plans for a school turned into reality with a lot of teamwork, community support, and determination.

Since our opening fifteen years ago, Eve has played a number of critical roles at the school, including teaching Humanities, overseeing the academic program, managing the senior internship program, leading the professional development program, serving as the school principal, and serving in her most recent role as Dean of Student Life and School Culture. Eve’s legacy at City High School reaches to every aspect of our educational program, including to the ongoing community partnerships that enrich the learning experiences for all of our students.

I have posted the job opening for the new Dean of Student Life and School Culture and am already receiving applications from excellent candidates. The hiring team will be starting its work in the next week and is eager to engage in a rigorous and thoughtful process that will result in the hiring of a new Dean of Student Life and School Culture.

While we know that change can be challenging, we are excited about this opportunity to expand our community at City High School. Our teachers and staff have created an environment in which students are able to thrive and be recognized for the unique and incredible humans beings they are. Quite simply, we love our students and our families at City High School, and I could not be more proud of what we created here.

We will greatly miss Eve and all of the energy and passion she has brought everyday to her work at City High School. We wish her well in her next endeavor.

Brett Goble, Principal

Dye-namic Community in Color, April 26

The Restorative Program at City High School and Nonviolence Legacy Project invites Tucson families to come celebrate the importance of community and non-violent practice. Dye-namic: Community in Color is an event that seeks to create awareness around the impact of nonviolence practices within Tucson’s families. This event highlights and embraces all forms of family and community connections. Join us for an evening of music, food, and tie dyeing. Dye-namic Community in Color will be on Friday, April 26 from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. at 37 E. Pennington Street.

Admission is $5 for a family and $3 for a single person. Bring your own white shirt. Our own Becca Dillon will be the DJ. We’ll have food at no cost, including gluten free and vegetarian options. Bring two additional people and enter a raffle for a $50 visa gift card. Contact the Restorative Program Coordinator, Marisol Badilla, with questions.

AzMERIT Testing in April

April in Arizona means it’s AzMERIT testing time. Grades 9, 10, and 11 will be testing on various days throughout the month. The AzMERIT is one important indicator for how students are making progress in English, Math and Science. Please encourage your students to do their best on the test in order to get accurate information on their academic progress.

Below is a grade-level breakdown of when students will be testing. All of this information is also available on our on-line events calendar. AzMERIT tests are course-specific, so if your student is in an out-of-cohort class (for example, a Sophomore in Algebra 2), they will take the AzMERIT test for the class they are currently in.

On testing days, please make sure your student is well-rested, fed, and at school on time to begin testing. We will have some snacks available. All AzMERIT tests and the AIMS Science test are computer-based. Students are encouraged to bring their own headphones to use for the test. Cell phone use is not allowed during any of the testing sessions.


  • Wednesday, April 10: AzMERIT Writing
  • Friday, April 12: AzMERIT Reading Parts 1 & 2
  • Thursday, April 18: AzMERIT Algebra I Parts 1 & 2


  • Monday, April 8: AzMERIT Writing
  • Monday, April 15: AIMS Science
  • Tuesday April 16: AzMERIT Reading Parts 1 & 2
  • Tuesday, April 23: AzMERIT Geometry Parts 1 & 2


  • Thursday, April 11: AzMERIT Writing
  • Wednesday, April 17: AzMERT Reading Parts 1 & 2
  • Wednesday, April 24: AzMERIT Algebra II Parts 1 & 2

More information about AzMERIT can be found here:

Pennington Street Showcase: STEM Edition, April 4

The Pennington Street Showcase STEM edition is happening on Thursday, April 4 from 5-7 pm at City High School. Student will present project work related to the subjects Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). All families are invited to attend.

The Pennington Street Showcase will feature DNA experiments using CRISPR kits, WWII-themed periodic tables, probability games, a giant, interactive Rubik’s Cube mosaic, and so much more!

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.

School Board Approves Calendar

The City High School Board approved the 2019-2020 school year calendar at their meeting on March 5, 2019. Download a copy at this link: School Calendar 2019-2020

CITY Center for Collaborative Learning Hiring Fair, March 1

Join us for a hiring fair-happy hour combo. Drinks and light fare will be served. All educators (actively looking for positions or not) are welcome to attend.

CITY Center for Collaborative Learning‘s Hiring Fair will take place on March 1st, from 3:30-6pm, in our 37 E. Pennington St. space. Hope to see you there!

Important Update from CITY Center for Collaborative Learning Board Chair & Executive Director

Dear Students, Staff, Parents, Alumni, Supporters & Community Partners,

I write you today with an important announcement. Late last week, I received news from Carrie Brennan, our longtime organizational leader and one of our co-founders, that she will be stepping down from her current post in June 2019. I want to share important information about our next steps as we prepare for a leadership transition.

*Carrie shares more details of her news with you below.

On behalf of the Board, present and past, I want to express our appreciation for Carrie’s extraordinary contributions to what has become one of Arizona’s leading progressive educational programs for high school and middle school students. Carrie spent a year in 2003-04, with the support of co-founders Eve Rifkin and Brett Goble, doing the demanding work to create City High School. As the founding principal, she grew the school to an enrollment of nearly 200 students, established its comprehensive programming, and purchased the two buildings that comprise the downtown campus. It was also under Carrie’s leadership that what was City High School transformed itself into CITY Center for Collaborative Learning after she navigated a complex and successful merger with the extraordinary Paulo Freire Freedom Schools, co-founded by Santo Nicotera and JoAnn Groh.

The strength and stability of CITY Center – its schools, particularly – suggests that the impact of Carrie’s leadership will last generations, and that thousands of young people will see their lives transformed by what Carrie and her co-founders have done. I know that you will join me in the coming months to share our gratitude with her.

The CITY board now turns to the important work of seeking a successor to Carrie, a project we will treat with utmost importance. Selecting, supporting, and evaluating the Executive Director is the most important task of a nonprofit board, and after speaking with each of our board members in recent days, it is clear to me that we all understand this responsibility.

The CITY board’s Executive Committee – Vice Chair Theresa Mary Fischer, Treasurer Glen Warner, and I – have begun the work of mapping out next steps. The three of us along with former board chair Mary Jo Ghory and new board member Gina Catalano, an expert consultant in organizational transitions, will serve as a team that leads the transition process.

This transition team recognizes the critical importance of seeking first to understand, and we will work to structure and implement a process that includes multiple opportunities for our key constituencies to provide input in a variety of ways. Please expect additional information in the coming weeks regarding the search process, timeline, and opportunities for input.

In the meantime, I invite you to send me your thoughts and suggestions, both for how we can best demonstrate our appreciation to Carrie and how we can best secure the strongest possible continuation of her work.

Thank you,

Jonathan Martin, Chair, CITY Center for Collaborative Learning


Dear Students, Staff, Parents, Alumni, Supporters & Community Partners,

At the end of this school year, I will join ranks with the class of 2019 and head out for my next adventure. I have accepted a leadership position at Thetford Academy in Thetford, Vermont, that begins in July. It won’t be easy to leave this organization I have called home for 16 years and say goodbye to the wonderful community and schools we have created together.

I love my job and our work together and had no plans to leave Tucson or CITY; however, this is a unique opportunity for my family and me that I couldn’t let pass by. My connection to Thetford Academy dates back to the earliest years of my career. I visited the school as an undergrad, my husband student taught there, and a mentor/friend served as the Head from 1991-2010.

I am confident that the organization is in good hands to lead us through this transition period and into the future. We are fortunate to have strong leadership – at both the board and staff levels – to ensure an effective transition. I will work closely with them in coming months to do my part in setting up a smooth passing of the baton, and I am grateful for the extra effort this will require of all involved.

Change is exciting – and yet so bittersweet too.

My commitment to CITY for almost two decades has been the most important chapter of my professional life. I am so proud of our work together and what we have accomplished – and so proud of all that we do for kids every day. I have learned so much about being a teacher, leader, and mentor from all of you.

Thank you,


Somos Familia: February 16 at Las Milpitas Community Farm

City High School’s Family Association invites the Tucson community to come celebrate the importance of community and family love.

Somos Familia is a community event that seeks to refocus the energy of St. Valentine’s Day back to the importance of family and community solidarity. This event highlights and embraces all forms of family and community connections.

Join us Saturday February 16 from 4:00-7:30 p.m.  for an evening of music, food, and dancing at Las Milpitas de Cottonwood Community Farm! $5 per person or $15 for a family. Live music by Jamie’s Gang, and City High student performers, and DJ Humble Lianess. Food will be available for purchase (cash only) from La Indita. Proceeds go toward future Family Association events.

Las Milpitas Community Farm is located at 2405 S Cottonwood Lane, on the banks of the Santa Cruz River.

Family Association Meeting, January 24

parent volunteer 1

Join us Thursday night, January, from 5:30-6:30 p.m. for a meeting of the  City High Family Association. The aim of the Family Association is to encourage sustainable and effective partnerships between all members of the school community, including teachers, families, and students. Snacks and beverages will be provided.

All parents of a City High School student are welcome and encouraged to attend. We will be discussing our plans for family events for the Spring semester and will be seeking your input. Questions? Contact the Family Association Co-Chair, Marisol Badilla. We hope to see you there!