Transforming Education Conference

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Transforming Education for Social Justice Conference

The Transforming Education for Social Justice Conference is a regional conference that brings together people in Western Massachusetts who are interested in social justice and equity in K-12 schools, early childhood classrooms, and the surrounding communities.

Participants co-create a space for young people, educators, activists, administrators, and scholars to connect and network, share and learn, dream and envision possibilities for developing education as a tool for equity and social justice. In this space, participants have the opportunity to examine the specific regional challenges that young people are facing in our education system which are central to their lives and to the vitality of our communities. As we examine the challenges, we look to each other for visions and practices that can guide our work towards transforming education for social justice.

Conference Tracks

Early Childhood; Elementary; Secondary; Youth-led

Conference Features

  • 1.5 hour workshops focused on regional topics and initiatives related to social justice and equity in education
  • Opportunities for powerful networking and connections with local educators and administrators as you share curriculum, lunch and facilitated conversation
  • Youth-led sessions that provide opportunities to learn from young people and support the development of student leadership.

Support the TE4SJ Conference

CES is committed to the belief that everyone is a learner, and to our mission to develop and foster educational excellence and opportunities for all learners through collaboration and leadership. Social Justice and Equity work has always been critical to that mission.

Donations will help to support future Transforming Education for Social Justice conferences and free admission for youth attendees. Please support this regional conference with a donation! $30 will pay for a student to attend for free.

Past Conferences

2016 Conference

Creating Equity, Strengthening Community, and Engaging Identity

The first Transforming Education for Social Justice Conference was held on October 15, 2016, at Holyoke Community College.

Following the 2016 Conference, CES continued with efforts toward transformational work across the region through the Transforming Education for Social Justice Regional Initiative.

Keynote: Pa’lante

Towards Transformative Justice

The Restorative Justice movement in schools is continuing to expand as laws and policies mandate that schools find alternative approaches to exclusionary discipline. At Holyoke High School young people have created a model program that seeks to engage youth and adults in practices such as community building, support, and accountability circles and through their work with circle practice, they are challenging traditional paradigms of power that often leave youth voice out of the decision-making process around discipline and whole-school climate and culture. The youth in Pa’Lante are working to make their school truly responsive to the needs of students, and see their work as part of a long legacy of youth movements in communities of color that have always been at the forefront of work for educational justice.

Click here to watch Keynote video.

2018 Conference

Centering Youth Voice, Experience, and Power

The second Transforming Education for Social Justice Conference was held on March 10, 2018, at Easthampton High School. The conference was sponsored by GLSEN.

Keynote: Cyphers for Justice Youth and Dr. Jamila Lyiscott

Pedagogy on Fire! Centering Youth Voices for Social Justice

On the other side of this national struggle, how will students remember the state of our classrooms? This talk, led by Cyphers for Justice youth researchers and Dr. Jamila Lyiscott calls for all educators to set their pedagogies on fire! It is a call to uproot the Eurocentric pedagogical approaches that not only under-prepare students for the realities of our increasingly multiethnic, multilingual, globalized society, but are also rooted in colonial and racist ideologies that stifle the voices, identities, and realities of students.

2023 Conference

Build Knowledge, Raise Consciousness, and Take Action

The third Transforming Education for Social Justice Conference was held on March 11, 2023, at the Integrative Learning Center at UMass Amherst.

Keynote: Tem Blessed and Evelin Aquino

Tem Blessed is a socially conscious Hip Hop Artist who has been making relevant music with a message for over a decade. Born in Guinea-Bissau, West Africa to Cape Verdean parents, his music and message are about social justice and sustainability and are designed to inspire the audience toward positive change and global responsibility.

Evelin Aquino is a Boricua/Dominicana from Western MA and Washington Heights, NYC. She is a graduate of UMass Amherst and has worked with hundreds of youth and communities across the country as an educator, trainer, mentor, and facilitator. Evelin has dedicated her life to social justice, utilizing the arts as a vehicle for empowerment and education toward liberation. She is deeply inspired and guided by the youth of today, her family, elders (especially her father), and ancestors.

Click here to watch Keynote video.

Closing Performance: First Generation Ensemble

We were so excited to welcome the First Generation Ensemble (a youth, theater performance group in Springfield) to perform their piece called “Mother Tongue”.

Click here to watch Closing Performance video.

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