Soar: How Boys Learn, Succeed, and Develop Character the Eagle Way

David C. Banks, with G.F. Lichtenberg. Atria, $26.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-4767-6095-7
Advocating a holistic approach to education—the founding principle of the Eagle Academy for Young Men, a public charter school serving the South Bronx—founder Banks demonstrates that reaching young men at risk requires providing support beyond the classroom. As Banks, who went on to become president and CEO of the Eagle Academy Foundation, notes, “If it takes a village to raise a child, then our method is not just a guide to raising that child, but a system of mutual reinforcement for the hard-working villagers.” Banks’s reminiscences about his childhood show why community and parental support are such critical components of his philosophy. Most of the book details a “conspiracy of care,” which includes providing each student with a mentor from the community and creating a parents’ space inside the school to help parents to build a support system. He conscientiously weaves these ideas into the curriculum and culture of school to provide a remarkable 24-hour safety net for his students. While his school’s graduation rates and college attendance are rising, the author acknowledges struggles, and movingly demonstrates that the definition of success must be tempered by reality. Banks’s mission is backed by fierce dedication to ensure that, whether they want it or not, these boys will have a chance to succeed. Agent: Todd Shuster, Zachary Shuster Harmsworth. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 06/02/2014
Release date: 09/09/2014
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-4767-6097-1
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-1-4767-6096-4
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