Resources for Leaders

A Dream Is Born

COSEBOC becomes a reality when great ideas connect to form an integrated plan.

I am happy to report that the dream that began nearly three years ago is becoming a reality. In October 2006 David Banks, founding principal of The Eagle Academy for Young Men, made the following statement to me: “We need someone who will begin to connect the dots.”

David’s statement was made in the context of what typically happens when well-intentioned individuals are doing important actions. It is almost predictable that the outcome is many separate and unconnected initiatives that, over time, diminish due to lack of resources, infrequent if any communication with other similar efforts, and no plan for scale-up or sustainability.

It was David’s simple but powerful statement that lit the flame that would become the Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color, or COSEBOC. And, as Providence would have it, his statement resonated with me. It aligned with my four decades of experience as an educator, including the last 15 years as a leader of a national school reform project. The notion of connectivity producing a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts was not a foreign concept; it was a natural progression.

The establishment of a network of schools diverse in their configuration but united in their commitment to educate and affirmatively develop boys and young men of color is critically important. The circumstances and data that describe the national urgency around the education of male students of color is becoming obvious for all who care to see.

On one hand, too many young men of color fail to complete high school. In 2009 , Schott Foundation for Public Education released Given Half a Chance: The Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males which details the grim statistics. And, on the other hand, according to the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), fewer and fewer young men of color enter or stay in college. Dr. Karl Reid, Executive Director for UNCF, says that there are four elements required in order for young men of color to succeed:

  • Confidence
  • A sense of identity
  • A positive peer group
  • A trusting adult relationship

While these points are not new or revolutionary, they are not always intentionally implemented with integrity. COSEBOC believes that these essentials, integrated within a school context where standards for teaching, learning, assessment, character development, and community engagement are held in high regard, are likely to afford successful outcomes for male students of color.

The mission of COSEBOC is to ensure that every boy and young man of color has a full opportunity for in-school success and out-of-school positive contributions.

Following our successful third Annual Gathering of Leaders held at Dillard University in New Orleans, COSEBOC will soon be ready to roll out its three-year strategic plan:

We will:

  • continue to strengthen our website and other avenues of communication.
  • begin planning for the fourth Annual Gathering and create additional models of professional development.
  • produce details on a membership plan.

As the Founder and Executive Director of COSEBOC, it is also my goal to identify and support the growth of emerging new leaders. It is my belief that the success and sustainability of COSEBOC will be inextricably tied to any well-connected leadership transition plan. In this way, COSEBOC will continue to model and honor the act of “connecting the dots.”