History of COSEBOC

In 2002 the Schott Foundation for Public Education, led by then Executive Director Rosa Smith, cast a spotlight on black boys as the canary in the coalmine of public school education.  Dr. Smith issued a call to build a movement committed to the goal of generating a positive future for black boys.  The Schott Foundation planning processes identified three elements required to build that movement – focus on public policy, engage new and broaden existing community efforts, and build public will for change.

In response to Dr. Smith’s call, leading educators convened discussions and gatherings. Educator Ron Walker launched a seminar series at Wheelock College in October 2006 on The Education of Black Male Youth; David Banks, Director/Principal of Eagle Academy, was the first speaker.  In December 2006, Ebony Magazine published a cover story entitled Can Single Sex Schools Save Black Boys?  It featured 17 schools including Eagle Academy.  Walker and Banks invited Wheelock College President Jackie Jenkins-Scott and Panasonic Foundation Director Larry Leverett to join them in convening a gathering of the leaders of these seventeen schools.  This first gathering was held in Boston in June 2007 with the purpose of developing collegiality amongst these somewhat isolated school leaders and building visibility for this field of work.  

Woven through the conversations about academic strategy at both gatherings were signs of the urgency and passion the school leaders see as necessary to the work.  Educators noted the need for a national coalition to convene, generate resources, research, and advocate for schools and educators who focus on supporting boys of color to achieve success.  COSEBOC was born.  It was formally incorporated as a 501©3 non-profit organization in 2008.  

The mission of the Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color is to connect, inspire, support, and strengthen school leaders dedicated to the social, emotional and academic development of boys and young men of color.  Our primary goal is to build a network of school leaders who are able to increase their school's success with boys and young men of color.

COSEBOC believes that the school leader is the critical leverage point for changing the schooling experience of male students of color.  School leaders set the vision, hire and supervise, allocate resources, provide conditions for ongoing professional development and create a learning community.  Effective school leaders mobilize a community of educators and allies, a learning community in the service of student achievement.  

COSEBOC’s theory of change is that if we:

  • define standards, and identify exemplars and promising practices of schools whose male students of color are achieving academic success;
  • train and support school leaders to develop their own leadership skills, replicate promising practices and develop their own evidence-based exemplars;
  • generate public support for schools where male students of color have high educational achievement. 


  • school leaders, working with a community of allies, will transform the schooling experience for boys and young men of color;
  • boys and young men of color will attain higher educational achievement as indicated by improved test scores, increased high school graduation and college attendance rates;

The first COSEBOC Gathering of Leaders held at Wheelock College.

The first Gathering of Leaders held at Wheelock College, Boston, MA, 2006.