Last week, CTC hosted a special Lunch and Learn session inspired by the recent Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color (COSEBOC) conference in Memphis. Through the generous support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, two of our Shalom Zone Neighborhood Connectors – Jasmine Champion and Enesiya Almanza-Martinez – were able to attend the COSEBOC conference and learn from leading scholars and practitioners in urban education. Jasmine and Enesiya coordinated the Lunch and Learn session as a way of sharing what they learned.
Education in Memphis presents many unique challenges, including the particular challenges facing boys of color. And it also presents tremendous opportunities. According to Dr. Beverly Cross of the University of Memphis, COSEBOC chose Memphis because the city is “considered ground zero for urban education reform in the United States of America. When they [COSEBOC] were considering coming to Memphis, we reminded them that they would be coming to learn as much as share.”
“We have lots of great schools in this city that we can actually learn from in terms of educating boys of color,” Cross said. “I don’t know that anyone has even looked at some of our schools that are doing that work quite well. Quite well.”
The same spirit permeated our Lunch and Learn session, which was attended by more than a dozen leaders in education and community building from throughout the region. Teachers, school administrators, academics, community members, all recognizing that we have important lessons to learn and important insights to share among each other if we are to transform education in Memphis.
COSEBOC has released a set of standards for schools seeking to effectively educate boys of color. To view their standards, follow this link – http://www.coseboc.org/sites/coseboc.org/files/assets/Executive-Summary-2014.pdf
One of the questions we were left with after the Lunch and Learn is: What can the Shalom Zones do to adapt and apply these standards to their work with neighborhood youth, especially boys of color?
Here are several other recommended resources that came from our Lunch and Learn:
William K. Kellogg Foundation
No Child Left Behind
U. S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, Civil Rights Data Collections: Data Snapshot (School Discipline) March 21, 2014