Igniting Change
The RESC Alliance is proud to present Igniting Change, a comprehensive professional learning collaborative available to districts throughout Connecticut in which RESC staff developers lead, facilitate, and support districts in identifying, expanding their knowledge of, networking, and implementing transformative equity-centered practices that meet the need of all learners.
This year of professional learning will be framed by two one-day conferences: Oct. 19 and the second in the spring. Between the two conference dates, professional learning will continue through several one-day sessions, communities of practice events, and personalized, on-site coaching.
For our fall conference, two nationally renowned keynote speakers, Dr. Rich Milner and Principal Baruti Kafele, will inspire participants to ignite change in their schools and districts. Breakout sessions will be offered aligned to four equity-centered pathways: Grading Reform, Culturally Responsive Pedagogy, Inclusive School Culture, and Equity-Centered Leadership. There will be additional time for networking. Breakfast and lunch will be served.
Click here to register for the fall conference
Wednesday, October 19, 2022  /  8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.
100 Columbus Blvd., Hartford
Individuals: $350 per person
Groups of 3+: $275 per person
Keynote speakers
H. Richard Milner IV
H. Richard Milner IV (also known as Rich) is Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair of Education and Professor of Education in the Department of Teaching and Learning at Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. In April 2022, Professor Milner received the prestigious Joseph A. Johnson, Jr. Distinguished Leadership Professor Award, one of Vanderbilt University’s highest honors. His research, teaching and policy interests concern urban education, teacher education, African American literature, and the social context of education. Professor Milner’s research examines practices and policies that support teacher effectiveness in urban schools.
Professor Milner is president of the American Educational Research Association, the largest educational research organization in the world. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Education and a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association. Professor Milner’s work has appeared in numerous journals, and he has published seven books. His most recent are: Start where you are but don’t stay there: Understanding diversity, opportunity gaps, and teaching in today’s classrooms (Harvard Education Press, 2010 and 2020, Second Edition); Rac(e)ing to class: Confronting poverty and race in schools and classrooms (Harvard Education Press, 2015); and These kids are out of control: Why we must reimagine classroom management for equity (Corwin Press, 2018). He can be reached at rich.milner@vanderbilt.edu.
Baruti Kafele
A highly regarded urban educator in New Jersey for more than 20 years, Principal Baruti Kafele distinguished himself as a master teacher and a transformational school leader. As an elementary school teacher in East Orange, N.J., he was selected as the East Orange School District and Essex County Public Schools Teacher of the Year, he was a New Jersey State Teacher of the Year finalist, and a recipient of the New Jersey Education Association Award of Excellence.
As a middle and high school principal, Principal Kafele led the turnaround of four different New Jersey urban schools, including "The Mighty" Newark Tech, which went from a low-performing school in need of improvement to national recognition, which included U.S. News and World Report Magazine recognizing it three times as one of America's best high schools.
One of the most sought-after school leadership and classroom equity presenters in America, Principal Kafele is impacting America’s schools! He has delivered more than 2,000 conference and program keynotes, professional development workshops, parenting seminars, and student assemblies over his 36 years of public speaking. An expert in the area of “attitude transformation,” Principal Kafele is the leading authority for providing effective classroom and school leadership strategies toward closing what he coined the "Attitude Gap.”

Breakout Sessions
Culturally Responsive Pedagogy
Districts participating within this pathway will unpack their understanding of culturally responsive teaching practices, and how to implement instructional practices to meet the needs of and foster excellence for diverse learners.
Participants in this pathway will:
  • Bolster capacity in cultural competency, inclusivity, and instructional equity.
  • Develop and expand capacity to support integrating dimensions of multicultural education and culturally relevant teaching and learning practices.
  • Build the capacity to lead the development of curriculum and instructional plans that ensure broad, diverse perspectives and viewpoints in educational programs and departments.

Equity-Centered Organizational Leadership
Participants in this pathway will grow their capacity to lead equity-centered change through strategically planning and preparing their community for transformative practices that benefit all learners.
Participants in this pathway will:
  • Expand capacity for equity-centered leadership at the school and/or district level, including skills in facilitating conversations about equity topics.
  • Develop skill in using data and student/staff/family experiences in diagnosing and assessing equity within the culture, policies, and practices of a school or district.
  • Gain expertise needed to be equity-centered instructional leaders so that every student thrives and excels.
  • Build the capacity to lead development of a purposeful, intentional equity plan in partnership within the context of their local community.
Grading Reform
Participants will focus on current grading practices and how they may be transformed to accurately represent student growth and mastery and be leveraged to promote engagement and improve access.
Participants in this pathway will:
  • Build capacity to lead transformation in grading practices, including developing a common purpose for grades.
  • Investigate strategies for separating academic achievement from non-academic factors in grades.
  • Strengthen skills in developing standards-based or competency-based rubrics and performance continua.
  • Develop strategies to engage teachers, families, and community members in conversation about equity-focused grading, feedback, and assessment practices.
Inclusive School Culture
In this pathway districts will consider how discipline practices, SEL, and school culture intersect and can be leveraged to create a welcoming and inclusive school environment for learners and their families.
Participants in this pathway will:
  • Bolster capacity in cultural competency, inclusivity, and welcoming school environments for all students and adults.
  • Build an inclusive school/district climate in which all students feel supported intellectually and academically, and feel valued in the educational environment regardless of identity.
  • Gain tools to engage the school community in productive conversations about race, power, and privilege.