We're hiring! Explore opportunities to join our Crew.
Header image

Turning Inspiration into Action After a Momentous 2017 National Conference

  • Date

  • Author

    Scott Hartl

1,200 educators converged at our #EL25 2017 National Conference in Chicago where students took center stage, leading us in a celebration of our 25th anniversary. Our student speakers—and so many others—reminded all of us in Chicago that the most important thing about 25 years of EL Education is not actually our past, but our future, a future where all students can become exceptional scholars and ethical people through schoolwork that matters.

"I learned I could do more than I thought possible if I refused to give up." - Atak Natali, Sophomore, Casco Bay High School, 2017 National Conference Speaker

Atak was just one of the remarkable student speakers whose words brought us to our feet last month at our 25th Anniversary National Conference in Chicago. The 1,200 educators in the audience at #EL25 cheered for Atak’s tenacity, as well as the persistence of thousands of students, educators, and supporters who have carried us to our 25th year. 

EL Education has had an enduring impact in the last quarter century because, like Atak, we’ve relentlessly persevered in the pursuit of excellence, while staying true to our roots.

EL Education was born from a vision of teaching and learning that has moral courage, social justice, and civic contribution at its foundation. I am deeply grateful to work alongside educators and supporters like you, who share our belief that academic development is inextricably linked to character development. We have always believed in “getting smart to do good” and the power of education to help students create a better world.

Our vision could not exist without the curiosity, courage, and support of so many, including the entire EL Education network, our Board of Directors, and our 2017 National Conference Crew Sponsor, The Walton Family Foundation.  

Our student speakers—and so many others—reminded all of us in Chicago that the most important thing about 25 years of EL Education is not actually our past, but our future. I’m privileged to share more inspiring words from our students and many more proud moments from our 2017 National Conference below. We hope you’ll take their words to heart and join us in building a future where many more students like Atak will thrive.

At our 2017 National Conference, we kicked off a year-long celebration of students “getting smart to do good.” Take a look at the ways you can be part of the action that started in Chicago.

Answer Sydney Chaffee’s Call to Put Social Justice in Every Classroom

"We can’t be afraid of our students’ power. Their power will help them make tomorrow better."

We were inspired by keynote speaker Sydney Chaffee, the 2017 National Teacher of the Year and 9th grade Humanities teacher at Codman Academy Charter Public School, an EL Education Credentialed School.

Sydney challenged us to honor our students’ leadership and trust that their knowledge and character will help them lead with integrity. Watch Sydney’s full speech on FacebookLet us know in the comments how Sydney’s words inspire you to empower students to build a better world.

Share #EL25 Student Stories

National Conference Student Speakers

Meet the student speakers who shared how their schools and EL Education have impacted their learning, lives, and contributions to the community.

Kennethea Wilson, alumna of Genesee Community Charter School, Rochester, NY
Atak Natali, sophomore at Casco Bay High School, Portland, ME
Elena Fulton, alumna of The Odyssey School of Denver, Denver, CO
Spread the inspiration and share these students’ stories with your social networks.

Bring National Conference Learning Back to Your Community

National Conference Educators Learning At El Education

At National Conference in Chicago, teachers and school leaders learned from fellow educators in more than 90 Master Classes and interactive pre-conference sessions, but the learning doesn’t stop there! 

Download EL Education resources to bring learning back to your community and sign up for companion institutes taking place across the country in the coming months.

Celebrate Teachers and School Leaders 

Michelle Navarre, Head of School of Polaris Charter Academy, received the 2017 Silverberg Leadership Award.

"Our greatest contributions as educators are the children themselves, whom we support in creating work that matters.”

Lindsay Slabich of The Springfield Renaissance School in Springfield, MA received the 2017 Klingenstein Teacher Award, representing exceptional teaching across our network.

“To have open, honest and curious conversations, to ask hard questions, to build connection, to teach candor, that work is radical."

Help us congratulate Lindsay and Michelle by leaving a comment on their posts.

Celebrate Schools

Credentialed Schools In El Education Network 2017

Six schools reached a milestone in their journey to excellence by being named EL Education Credentialed Schools, joining 27 others. Celebrate these schools on social media and discover how schools in your community can join the network.

Share National Conference Moments and Feedback

National Conference Educators 2017

Here are some fun ways to celebrate and share #EL25:

  • Get a taste of the excitement in our photo album, or if you attended the conference, find yourself in these fun Photo Booth shots
  • Comment on your favorite stories from the event and share them with your community.
  • If you joined us in Chicago, please share your feedback on how we can improve your experience by completing the Conference Survey. We’d love to hear from you!