Igniting Change conference focuses on equity-centered learning

Schools and districts throughout Connecticut wanting to increase and improve their equity-centered learning opportunities have a unique opportunity this school year to accomplish their goals through Igniting Change, a series of seminars and workshops presented by the RESC Alliance.

Igniting Change began with a full-day conference Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022, at

the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford to kick off the year of learning. The RESC Alliance hosted over 350 educational leaders from across the state at its inaugural event. Attendees were able to choose from 12 breakout sessions and enjoy networking opportunities throughout the day. Professional learning will continue with one-day sessions, communities-of-practice events, and personalized, on-site coaching into the 2023 year culminating with a spring conference.


“We have a unique opportunity to redo thinking, to refashion practices, and to reclaim excellence given where we have been for the past few years,” said Dr. Thomas Danehy, executive director of Area Cooperative Educational Services (ACES), the North Haven-based RESC for south-central Connecticut. “Grading, pedagogy, culture, and leadership are important dynamics for any school community. Igniting Change gets to the heart of each of these factors as we rethink schooling in our post-pandemic world. So why not consider each of these elements and spark the fire of your creative thinking?”


“Igniting Change is designed to give educators and leaders many different learning opportunities focused on ensuring the very best educational experiences for all students across Connecticut,” said Dr. Lori Elliot, director of Professional Development Services for Cooperative Educational Services (CES), the Trumbull-based RESC for southwestern Connecticut. “Educators can attend one or both of our two conference dates, participate in any of our four pathways of professional learning, join a community of practice event, or even receive personalized coaching focused on Igniting Change in their setting.”


Staff from each of the RESCs will lead, facilitate and support districts throughout the Igniting Change program so educators may implement or expand their equity-centered practices to meet the needs of all students.


The fall conference kicked off with greetings from Connecticut State Department of Education Commissioner Charlene Russell-Tucker and featured Baruti Kafele and H. Richard Milner IV providing keynote addresses. Kafele is a highly regarded school principal who strives to help educators close the “Attitude Gap” in schools. Milner is a professor and award-winning author whose work focuses on “opportunity-centered teaching” and is aimed at helping educators fight for social justice, equity, inclusion and transformation for all students.


The sessions throughout the year will be broken down into four pathways: Grading Reform, Culturally Responsive Pedagogy, Inclusive School Culture, and Equity-Focused Organizational Leadership. Each of those pathways will have a series of sessions to help educators bolster their schools’ capacity in each field.


More details about the spring conference and pathways descriptions and dates throughout the year are available at www.ignitingchangect.org, along with information on how educators can participate.