Closing the Gap Conference

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April 19, 2023

The 22nd annual Closing the Gap Conference will take place at John A. Logan College on Wednesday, April 19th. The theme of the conference is Harmony & Belonging: Empower the Future and will focus on the feelings of cultural tolerance and cultural sharing, unity, togetherness, agreement and supporting each other in our efforts for self-care, self-awareness, and emotional well-being.

As you are aware, the pandemic has been challenging emotionally and physically on all our educators and students. Our focus is to support educators and help them understand the impact and importance of relationships, unity and the impact stress has on the developing brain and its capacity to learn. We are focusing on providing professional development sessions that include insight, tools, and strategies that will benefit all educators and ESPs in efforts to support the students they serve.  Mark your calendar to attend the conference.

Date: Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Time: 8:00 a.m. - 3:10 p.m. (Check-in:7:30 - 8:00 am)

Location: John A. Logan College, Carterville, IL 

Participants should park in Lot A: John A. Logan College Map

Lunch will be provided for all attendees. 

We will open the conference with the 2022 Illinois Teacher of the Year, Kim Radostits. You will then either participate in the all day workshop or the breakout sessions.  Click on the tabs below for more details.

                                  2023 Closing the Gap Sessions

Building a Bridge to Belonging

We know that in education, relationships matter. In this keynote we will discuss the importance of community in empowering students to be lifelong learners that are confident, productive, responsible community members


Kimberly Radostits is the 2022 Illinois Teacher of the Year and one of this year’s National Teacher of the Year finalists. She is a secondary Spanish teacher in Oregon, Illinois with the goal of providing all students with a sense of community in a space where they feel safe and confident that they can excel.

In addition to teaching Spanish, Radostits leads a freshman mentoring program known as Hawks Take Flight, designed to keep students on track for graduation in four years. The program utilizes an early warning system to identify students who are struggling in order to provide them with assistance upon their entrance to high school. This work extends beyond the classroom and is firmly rooted in building strong relationships with students and their families in order to give them access to the skills and support they need to be successful learners and community members.

Conference Schedule:   

7:30 am   -  Registration & Continental Breakfast
8:00 am   -  Welcome and Opening Speaker
9:10 am   -  All Day Workshop OR Breakout Session 1
10:50 am -  All Day Workshop OR Breakout Session 2
12:20 pm -  Lunch - network with other participants, browse the vendor tables
1:40 pm   -  All Day Workshop OR Breakout Session 3