Teacher & Student Inspirational Speakers
Passionate. Dynamic. Motivational. Donna Porter and DJ Batiste have a story that is sure to inspire all audiences. Porter has dedicated her life to the field of education, and has gained a breadth of wisdom and experience that she now pours into audiences across the nation. Early in his life, DJ Batiste was expelled from Head Start. His educational career was filled with constant discipline issues resulting in suspensions, expulsions, and enrollment in alternative education. In the fifth grade, he organized a gang and continued to effectively lead gangs throughout his high school years. In the community, he endured arrests and time spent in Juvenile Detention. DJ was traveling on a path of complete destruction until he stepped into Ms. Porter’s Oral Communications class his senior year. From their first novel encounter, both of their lives were forever changed through the power of a judgement free relationship. Read More >
Connection in the Classroom
What if ninety seconds could change the way you see your students forever? What if a simple shift in perspective could turn your quintessential “problem” students into your most passionate learners? What if one moment is the key to unlocking an infinite realm of life-changing possibilities for each student you encounter?
In this moving presentation, you will hear the story of DJ, the attention-seeking troublemaker, Donna, the teacher who saw things differently, and the ninety seconds that changed both of their lives forever. On that fateful day many years ago, DJ walked into Donna’s classroom with one goal: to get kicked out as quickly as possible so that he could continue his self-destructive life of gangs and violence. But then – Donna saw DJ differently, and everything changed. This story will make you laugh. It will make you cry. But most importantly, it may very well be the one moment which will change your life too.
Let Donna and DJ transform the way you teach and kindle a renewed passion for education by showing you how to see “problems” as “opportunities.” With a unique blend of philosophy, strategy, humor, and warmth, Donna and DJ have captivated audiences across the nation with this marvelous tale of the ninety seconds which changed everything, and how those ninety seconds can happen every single day.
You may have mastered the subject which you teach. But have you mastered the classroom environment in which you teach it? Education which transforms our world starts with building school communities which transform our students.
Combining the best insights from multi-dimensional research and extensive praxis, Donna and DJ offer a unique approach to classroom management seen through the eyes of both teacher and student. DJ’s life was literally saved by Donna’s approach to modeling the importance of the three R’s within the school community, and they now travel the nation sharing the blueprint for replicating this philosophy in classrooms of all shapes and sizes.
Their philosophy is based upon a simple but revolutionary insight: effective classroom management is driven by positive, assertive empowerment of students which transitions the classroom from an autocracy to a democracy. A democratic classroom allows students to take ownership of the environment in which they learn, and their investment creates immeasurable returns. This presentation will reshape how you think about classroom management, with proven strategies and anecdotes of success.
Ensuring that students graduate from high school is one the key goals of the educational community. Achieving this goal requires a dynamic commitment to a multi-faceted strategy which serves the needs of students far beyond grades.
While teaching high school, Donna developed a unique approach to dropout prevention which utilized peer tutors as a way to provide empowerment and accountability. This strategy encouraged students to invest in each other as members of the school community, and take ownership in the success of their friends.
The program was an instant success: graduation rates increased, the State Department of Education recognized the program, and Donna’s efforts were replicated in schools across the state. Wipeout Dropout was also integral to ensuring DJ’s continued journey along his path to success, as peer mentors became a support group during DJ’s transformation. Donna and DJ will share their proven strategies with you, demonstrating how you can build a community of peer support which complements the classroom environment and equips students with the tools which they need to successfully achieve all of their goals.
Are you similar to DJ Batiste and need a Donna Porter to help you overcome your obstacles? Or do you want to learn how to make a complete 360 with your school life? Donna and DJ will work with you to meet the needs of your specific community. Whether you need a student assembly to motivate and inspire all students, or an intimate intensive conversation with students who are struggling, Donna and DJ will take the priorities and concerns of your community and provide the answers you need. This is a customized presentation that can be for a student assembly or an intimate small group.
"The presentation went well!! Donna Porter and DJ Batiste were excellent. They said exactly what was needed to be said for the educators in this district. There were a lot of tears shed in the auditorium as we learned the importance of "CONNECTION Before CORRECTION." I was told this was the best Institute speaker had in a very long time."
"DJ exceeded our expectations on Friday as our keynote speaker! I was in attendance and heard only positive comments from the crowd. DJ has an amazing gift of connection. Even the sound guys at the church where we had our institute were moved by his speech."
"It was AMAZING!! Our teachers absolutely loved it and are still talking about it today! They are awesome."
"They did a fantastic job. It was a wake-up call for some of them in attendance. Overall, I feel they did an amazing job."
"I listened to the speech and was genuinely moved by the presentation. Unlike a presentation, DJ and Donna allowed us to be a part of their story as teacher and student. They provided our administrators the tools that they need on Conscious Discipline and how it can be implemented in Alabama schools. I have received numerous requests from administrators in Alabama about them bringing this powerful story to their schools. It truly touched my life as an educator and I am grateful that I was able to bring them to speak to our organization."
"They were amazing! Absolutely perfect! Positive feedback abound! I do not think it could have gone any better!"
"Donna and DJ were amazing. Such a powerful presentation, and a very important message for the attendees to hear. They were received with great enthusiasm and affection. It was such a pleasure to meet them and to be in their presence. Thank you for all the assistance that you provided to make this happen. Our conference was never better!"
"I cannot thank you enough for the encouraging words and preparation for our first ever virtual convocation! The event was perfect!! Again, thank you for a heart-felt message this morning!"
"What an AMAZING event Donna and DJ brought to Burlington!!! I had dozens of staff members tell me that it was 'The best PD they have ever had' and many of them stated in the 20 years of teaching it was the best they have ever been to!! It is rare when they are able to hear a student's point of view and that is what made Donna and DJ together so wonderful and inspiring. The audience (and I) loved their interaction during their speaking engagement, loved how real they were and that it was really on point to what we needed and wanted to hear."
It is with a grateful heart that I sit here to compose this email of thanks to you for your support of the Excellence through Equity Conference. Your keynote speech challenged and inspired each attendee to be more and do more for our students who need more. I cannot thank you enough. I have heard nothing but great things about the conference and am convinced that in many classrooms across our county and region—today, this week and this year—things will be different, in a good way, for students. We are on the verge of great outcomes for all students and you helped to inspire us. This was indeed a special conference and I have you to thank for that. Best wishes as you continue changing hearts, minds and lives!
A huge “THANK YOU” to you and your staff for putting on the Excellence through Equity conference. I have been to countless trainings and conferences over my 24 years in education, and none come close to this conference. The quality of speakers was amazing. I have already started adjusting my budget so that both teachers and coaches will attend next year. Your work is changing lives.
"Donna and DJ delivered a very powerful and inspiring message on how one person can dramatically change the life of a young person. The session received a ringing endorsement from a veteran teacher with more than twenty years in the classroom who proclaimed, 'It was the best professional development that I've attended.' An uplifting and inspirational time that will be filled with laughter and tears - it was impetus we needed to begin our new school year."
"DJ Batiste and Donna Porter were the guest speakers at Bullard ISD 2015 Convocation and their presentation was nothing short of spectacular. This team provided an electrifying presentation which engaged the audience with sorrow and joy, laughter and a few tears. DJ and Ms. Porter are a dynamic pair whose passion for the subject matter is infectious and draws the audience into their story. Teachers left this presentation ready to change the world, and they will, one DJ at a time."
"From the very first time I heard Donna Porter and DJ Batiste speak about the transformational process that took place in her high school classroom, I was moved and challenged to be the kind of educator that makes a positive difference as Donna did for DJ! They have inspired our staff to develop the skills necessary to reach their full potential as educators and people. They have taught us the incredible power of relationships!"
"Both weeks with DJ went amazingly well! I was absolutely impressed! DJ has the ability to keep the students engaged throughout his speaking, which we all know is not easy to do. His stories kept the students interested and wanting to hear more, and at the same time, they delivered a strong message about determination and dedication. And when he got to the small group structure to speak to the students about their leadership and choices they were making, I was moved to tears. He has a gift of being able to reach inside the minds and hearts of students, and help them see that there are better ways, better choices, and endless possibilities ahead of them. Thank you for everything you did to help us make this event a success!!!"
"Donna Porter and DJ Batiste have been instrumental in changing the culture in the Petal School District. Last year we invited Donna and DJ to speak to our entire population of school personnel and there was tremendous response to the message they brought that day. The work initiated by Donna and DJ has literally transformed our middle school, and we are excited to report that we have the data to support this statement. Compared to the first nine weeks of the 2014-2015 school year, Petal Middle School reported a 70% decrease in disciplinary referrals for the first nine weeks of 2015-2016 school year. As a team, these two are literally amazing!"
"DJ and Donna were fabulous! We couldn't be happier with the event. They are both so genuine and passionate about Conscious Discipline and how it changed both their lives. They presented to teachers and administrators at the Early Childhood, elementary, middle and high school levels. ALL were so excited to be a part of the session."
"Our event was incredible! And Donna was 100 % correct when she said there wouldn't be a dry eye and that none of any of our attendees leave early. Donna and DJ are amazing and touched every single person that day in so many ways. Everyone had take aways as a teacher, mother, father, friend, mentor, etc. We all learned something that wonderful day! In fact, most of our attendees want Donna & DJ back!"
Email Your List
You’ve reached your maximum number of speakers for this list.
Email Your List