ESSA Conference/Multilingual Illinois Conference 2021

The 3 New R’s: Respond, Resolve, Renew

February 23 – 26, 2021
Registration Fee: $300

Register Now

This has been a year of change and adaptation for all of us striving to provide pre-K-12 public education in a pandemic. Due to the current health situation, we will combine our two major conferences, the December Multilingual Illinois and the February ESSA, as a joint virtual conference to be held February 23 – February 26, 2021.

The information provided will be rich, rewarding, and useful, and this will be an important opportunity to network with educators and school leaders throughout Illinois. In addition, there will be a large and diverse group of publishers, technology infrastructure/support companies, and others as sponsors and exhibitors. 

A repository of on-demand sessions along with recordings of “real-time” sessions will be available for you to access from late February through June 30th.

The ESSA/Multilingual Illinois Conference will be a mix of keynote speakers, panels, and real-time sessions on such important topics as 

  • Early Childhood
  • Special Education
  • English learning methodologies for virtual and hybrid classrooms
  • Ways to provide social and emotional support for children and their families during times of extreme stress
  • How to achieve educational equity to narrow the access and learning gaps for students and for schools in under-resourced communities. 
  • Assessment practices inherent in remote learning during a pandemic
  • Ways to improve remote and hybrid learning
  • Strengthen student engagement
  • Explore teaching and learning techniques that work well in these environments

Registered participants will receive 16 credit hours for the conference.

Register Now

Featured Speakers

Baruti Kafele

“Just Level the Playing Field and Watch Me Excel!” – Thoughts on Equity, Race, Diversity & Cultural Competence Toward Ensuring Academic Success for All Learners.

Principal Baruti Kafele, a highly-regarded urban educator in New Jersey for more than 20 years, has distinguished himself as a master teacher and a transformational school leader. As an elementary school teacher in East Orange, NJ, in addition to being named the East Orange School District and Essex County Public Schools Teacher of the Year, Principal Kafele was a finalist for New Jersey State Teacher of the Year and a recipient of the New Jersey Education Association Award of Excellence.

As a middle and high school principal, Kafele led the transformation of four New Jersey urban schools, including “The Mighty” Newark Tech—which went from a low-performing school in need of improvement to national recognition, and which was recognized three times by U.S. News and World Report as one of America’s best high schools.

Kafele has delivered over two thousand conference and program keynotes, professional development workshops, parenting seminars and student assemblies over his 34 years of public speaking. An expert in the area of “attitude transformation,” He is the leading authority on providing effective classroom and school leadership strategies toward closing what he coined, the “Attitude Gap.” He is the author of eleven books, including his six national best sellers—Closing the Attitude Gap, Motivating Black Males to Achieve in School & in Life, The Teacher 50, Is My School a Better School BECAUSE I Lead It?, The Principal 50 and The ASPIRING Principal 50. His latest book, The ASSISTANT Principal 50 was released in May, 2020.

Kafele is the recipient of more than 150 educational, professional, and community awards, including the prestigious Milken National Educator Award and the National Alliance of Black School Educators Hall of Fame Award. He was inducted into the East Orange, New Jersey Hall of Fame, and the City of Dickinson, Texas proclaimed February 8, 1998 Baruti Kafele Day.

“Change. Adapt. Bend so as not to be broken. Let opportunity guide your actions.”
― Wayne Gerard Trotman

We are changing. We are bending. We are nearly overcome at times by the “opportunity” that is ours as educators during pandemic times. In view of this, we want to hear your stories of educational innovation, creativity, and adaptation at our combined statewide ESSA/Multilingual Illinois conference.

Because of the pandemic, we have merged the content of two major annual events, the December Multilingual Illinois and the February Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) conferences, into one combined, virtual conference, ESSA/Multilingual, to be held February 23-26, 2021. Our topics include:

  • Better ways to use technology effectively for teaching and learning
  • ESL/bilingual methodologies that include remote and hybrid learning environments
  • Early childhood education challenges and solutions
  • Special education strategies, including remote and hybrid learning, 
  • Equity and the challenge to enhance student access and online, remote, and hybrid learning capabilities of under-resourced schools 
  • Approaches to address the social and emotional well-being of children and their families 

You—teachers, administrators, researchers, consultants, parents—are invited to address these and related topics during prerecorded and possibly live conference sessions. We are looking for those better ideas, illuminating experiences, and adaptations to changing conditions that lead to improved teaching and learning. Send us your ideas in a session proposal to provide an MP4 video presentation of 30-45 minutes in length, so that this conference comes alive with the exciting innovations Illinois educators have devised. We expect to provide a mix of pre-recorded (on-demand) presentations and “real-time” sessions, which will also be recorded and accessible later.

Session proposals are being accepted electronically via the button below and must be submitted by Monday, December 14, 2020. If your proposal is accepted, you will be notified the week of January 4th and receive further instructions on how to submit your video, due by January 29th.

Yes, these are difficult times, but let’s seize this opportunity to learn from one another even as our students learn with us. Thank you for stepping forward to help all of us rise to the challenge.


Josie Yanguas                                                       Silvia Rogel

Illinois Resource Center                                     The Center: Resources for Teaching & Learning

Submit a Proposal

We have finalized plans for what will be your best opportunity of the school year to reach directly the leaders, decision-makers, teachers, and other stakeholders in Illinois public schools.

This combined conference brings together educators from throughout Illinois who work daily in an extremely broad range of programs and content areas, including but not limited to early childhood education, programs for linguistically and culturally diverse students, special education, general education academic programs, and more. During the conference, our community of educators will focus on ideas, products, software solutions, infrastructure support services, and other effective ways to improve teaching and learning during pandemic times. Of particular interest are ideas, products, and services that can help close the technology gap and bring complete computer and internet access to all Illinois students, regardless of their location or personal, community, and institutional resources.

Depending on the level of your sponsorship and participation in this ESSA/Multilingual Illinois Conference, we offer you the opportunity to showcase your latest products and services through our virtual exhibit hall and sponsor profiles. With the ability to upload a company video, to digital company banners, and direct participation in conference sessions, you will have high visibility in this event and recognition for your support of Illinois schools. There are options designed to assist you in finding the right level for your budget and your time. 

We offer a comprehensive list of sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities to support Illinois public education, from pre-K through high school, with your financial and intellectual horsepower. Teachers, administrators, and decision-makers want to hear from you about your best ideas and ways to help schools achieve student academic goals despite the obstacles we all face this school year. The conference offers you an opportunity to highlight your brand and to offer your latest interactive software, books, infrastructure enhancements, and online resources designed for this large and very interested market.

If you have any questions, contact Silvia Rogel at or Yvonne Baginski,

We look forward to your participation!

Sponsor & Exhibitor Registration

Highlights of the 2020 ESSA Conference