Elevate Conscious Discipline 2023: Renew Your Passion and Purpose was a conference not soon forgotten! This highly anticipated event in Orlando, FL October 19-21 hosted educators, administrators, parents, and professionals from around the world with the intent to connect, inspire and refresh. Boasting a variety of accomplished keynote speakers such as Dr. Becky Bailey, Latoria Marcellus, Amy Speidel, Ginny Luther and Tanyelle L. Hannah, and emceed by the brilliant Kenedria (Kiki) Thurman, there is no doubt that Elevate quickly emerged as the professional development event of the year.  

“Conscious Discipline provides events that are vastly different than most professional development offerings out there— Elevate especially,” Dr. Bailey said. She envisioned a conference for educators, by educators, that cultivates connection and inspires implementation through experiences and practical application— And the success of 2023’s Elevate conference shows she got it right! 



Brilliant banners, bold posters, swag bags and inviting lighting effects welcomed participants into an experience to remember. Dinner, dancing and pricey raffle prizes celebrated educators at the welcome reception on opening night. Bright and early the next morning, participants were greeted with fresh pastries, warm croissant sandwiches and piping hot coffee before moving into Latoria Marcellus and Amy Speidel’s fascinating keynote titled Finding Where You Fit and the Power It Takes to Stay There, and enjoying Elevate’s signature feature— a diverse range of interactive breakout sessions delivered by educators who work in the field. This year’s sessions included 40 offerings, ranging from Integrating Conscious Discipline with RTI/MTSS facilitated by Amy Niemeier, to Self-Care the Conscious Discipline Way by Katie Ahearn, to Cultural Responsiveness and Conscious Discipline: The Dynamic Duo with Dr. Valerie Parker, to Conscious Discipline for Every Learner: Teaching Older Children with Neurodiversity delivered by Brooke Haberle and Cheryl Cotter, to Supporting Children’s Potty Learning led by Joan Morgenstern. 

Between breakout sessions, attendees browsed the onsite store, enjoyed photo opportunities, and explored model classrooms for various ages. The model classrooms were filled with implementation tools, authentic class books and other materials borrowed from working Conscious Discipline classrooms. Teacher-helpers and Certified Instructors roamed the model classroom area while answering questions, problem solving and sharing their classroom expertise with attendees. 

Whether in session, in the halls, or in the model classrooms, attendees had ample opportunity to delve deeper into implementing Conscious Discipline with fidelity and sustainability through engaging discussions, the sharing of personal experiences, connecting with experts and fellow practitioners, and reflecting on the mindset shifts that are essential to implementation. “Conscious Discipline started out with changing our relationship to conflict,” Dr. Bailey stated in her opening keynote, “But you can’t have outer peace without inner peace.” 


Friday’s event closed with Ginny Luther’s moving keynote, Blue Star Grit: Releasing Resistance into Resiliency and Renewal, and started anew Saturday morning with breakfast and the dynamic Tanyelle L. Hannah’s keynote There is Joy in the Journey—Plan, Pursue, Prevail. Another round of breakout sessions cemented attendees’ knowledge base as the event began to wind down.  

Recurring themes of safety, connection and problem solving wove through many of the sessions. Conscious Discipline’s foundation rests in the Brain State Model and the understanding that optimal learning can only occur when there is a felt sense of safety and connection. Dr. Parker’s poignant and timely breakout session, Cultural Responsiveness and Conscious Discipline: The Dynamic Duo captivated audience members by providing personal and professional insights about how being culturally responsive lays the groundwork for safety in the classroom and in life. “Here is how we help kids feel safe: We acknowledge their human experience, who they are, and how they show up in the world. And not just who they are today.” Dr. Parker explained that this includes the appropriate pronunciation of names, the awareness and removal of micro-aggressions and stereotypes, and how to respond rather than react in challenging situations.  

Dr. Becky Bailey’s powerful closing keynote Saturday afternoon brought it all together by focusing on the heart-brain synchronicity. “The heart sends more messages to the brain than the brain does to the heart,” says Dr. Bailey to emphasize the deep and powerful impact our feelings have on our brain states. “How many could feel the energy of other people the last few days?” she asked attendees, who erupted in positive response. “We put out a frequency, and everyone picked up on that,” she confirms from stage, “Your heart can change another person’s brain state.” Among her other core messages for attendees was for them to identify and turn toward their goals, and to keep returning to those goals, even when pulled in the opposite direction. “As changemakers in the world, we change our hearts first,” she said. 



Conscious Discipline is committed to a long-held belief that “we are all in this together” as we strive toward adult-first self-regulation. But this goal can be difficult to keep sight of when stressors hit and we aren’t surrounded by like-minded others.  

The Elevate Conscious Discipline conference enables practitioners to gather with others who are committed to changing their perspective, shifting their attention, seeing behavior as an opportunity to teach new skills, approaching relationships with positive intent, and so much more. It’s not just another professional development conference, or even an educator’s networking event; it’s a homecoming for those who are new to Conscious Discipline and a family reunion for those already on their implementation journey. Wherever you fall on this spectrum, we can’t wait to see you at Elevate Conscious Discipline 2024 in Las Vegas next year!

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