community school coordinator, Ms. Latimer with the other school community coordinators from @PSC_Maryland

Institute For Educational Leadership Hosts Largest Ever National Community Schools And Family Engagement Conference in Atlanta

June 14, 2024 – The Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) is thrilled to celebrate another successful National Community Schools and Family Engagement Conference, hosted this year in Atlanta, Georgia at the Georgia World Congress Center, May 29-31. Each year, this national, interdisciplinary conference is filled with high-quality professional development experiences, uniting individuals from across the country and beyond, who share the belief that every child deserves a safe environment to live and learn in, and opportunities to thrive and flourish.

Plenary speakers Zakiyah Ansari, Topaz Arthur, and Gregory Taylor
Plenary speakers Zakiyah Ansari, Topaz Arthur, and Gregory Taylor

Organized around this year’s theme, “Level Up for Success!,” the conference was designed to inspire collaboration, spur action, and reignite a collective commitment to revolutionizing our educational practices, partnerships, and systems. Atlanta provided an in-depth look at how a variety of partners and leaders across Georgia are expanding Community Schools’ whole child strategies and improving Family Engagement among educators, parents, and families at different levels of a child’s education. Participants were able to learn about the power of Community Schools and Family Engagement strategies in the local area by participating in site visits to locations like Atlanta’s Banneker High School SAFE Center and Kennesaw State University, and hearing stories from plenary panelists like Alfred “Shivy” Brooks, At-large member of the Atlanta Board of Education and an active high school Educator; Marcia Coward, District Family & Community Empowerment Manager of Community Empowerment and Innovative Partnerships Division at DeKalb County School District; Amber McCorkle, Director of Education/Programs at Clarkston Community Center, and Pam Romero, Vice President at Community Schools United, United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley.

Drawing almost 5,000 participants from all fifty states and The District of Columbia, three U.S. territories, and Canada, with presenters from over 100 organizations, the event this year offered a plethora of learning and networking opportunities tailored to deepen attendees’ understanding of Family Engagement, Community Schools, and other holistic approaches to child and youth development and support. Through over 200 workshop offerings and other sessions, attendees honed their leadership skills, learned about implementing effective strategies, fortified family-school-community relationships, and came together around building a future filled with access and opportunity for all students and families.

During the first day of the conference, attendees participated in State Networking Meetings with peers from their state to learn more about influencing policy, increasing collaboration, and improving practice state-wide.

A variety of voices across education served as our plenary speakers, including Dr. Danielle S. Battle, Interim Superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools; Cori V. Cain, Associate Vice President at Strong Learners United Way of Greater Atlanta; Antonio Lewis, District 12 Atlanta City Council Member; Demar Goodman, South Atlanta High School student; Anashay Wright, Founder & Lead Consultant at Disruptive Partners Education & AI Innovation; our IEL President Eddie Koen; Tauheedah Jackson, Inaugural Director at EdRedesign’s Institute for Success Planning at the Harvard Graduate School of Education; IEL Senior Vice President Kwesi Rollins, and many more.

The Illinois State Coalition Building Meeting
The Illinois State Coalition Building Meeting

In addition to Site Visits, other conference highlights included pre-conference sessions, State Coalition-Building sessions, and our CSxFE Block party and awards ceremony.

Here are a few reflections from some of our attendees and partners:

#CSxFE24 was incredible. Great general sessions, great networking, great breakouts. Kudos to our our host team.” – Alexius Ferguson

“Our team had an amazing experience at the IEL #csxfe24 Conference in Atlanta! It was inspiring to connect with passionate professionals dedicated to enhancing family and community engagement in education.” – Parent Powered team

“Empowerment is an understatement! Grateful for the opportunity to absorb the knowledge, energy & resources at the Level Up For Success #CSxFE24 Conference with [my] team.” -Dr. Melinda B. Tyler

“Our team had the opportunity to attend the 2024 National Community Schools and Family Engagement Conference #CSxFE in Atlanta this past week! 🌟 Atlanta welcomed us with open arms, setting the stage for an immersive and enlightening experience! From engaging sessions to thought provoking keynote speakers, every moment was a testament to the power of community engagement in education. It was beyond amazing to connect with like minded people from all over the country & to share ideas, our passion and success stories. Big thank you to all the organizers, speakers & fellow attendees!” – Juana Valadez

Registration for the 2025 National Conference, taking place May 28 – 30 in Minneapolis, Minnesota is now open – register here!

2025 National Community Schools and Family Engagement Conference

The Institute for Educational Leadership’s (IEL) mission is to develop and connect adult and youth leaders who strengthen communities and education systems in pursuit of equity. Our vision is an equitable society in which shared leadership effectively uses all available resources for the betterment of their communities. We believe in shared leadership, resources, and accountability. When systems are stronger, leadership shared, and community members are able to advocate for their aspirations, young people thrive. 2024 marks IEL’s 60th anniversary. Our organization celebrates six decades of changing systems through people.

To learn more about the conference, please visit

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