Rite of Passage Programming

Annual Gathering of Leaders

Rite of Passage Programming is a school-based mentoring program that aims to increase attendance and graduation rates and post-secondary college/career success in high school male students of color. It is an initiative of the Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color.
If you are interested in bringing an Rite of Passage Program to your school, contact Kimberly E. Zouzoua, Managing Director of Professional Services, at kzouzoua@coseboc.org.

A Rite of Passage program centers on the principles and ideals of manhood. This process allows young men to transition from one stage of awareness to a more enlightened state of consciousness so as to achieve their full potential. The program is designed to help students who are experiencing a range of life’s challenges that impede academic and social success. It strengthens their academic achievement and provides affirmative social, emotional and cultural identity development.

Common Program Characteristics

  • 4 caring adults (2 full-time Right of Passage facilitators and 2 academic teachers) work in partnership to foster strong, caring relationships with 44 students
  • Dedicated learning space and supportive environment created within the school
  • Extensive use of African rites of passage rituals, experiential learning and study of African, African-American
  • and Latino culture, history, and literature
  • Transformative Rite of Passage experiences include Higher Learning Day at a university, Man-Up Retreat, Cradle 2 Grave Violence Prevention Workshop, presentation at annual Gathering of Leaders, Seniors’ Rites of Passage Affirmation Celebration
  • Holistic support to students – exploration of social/cultural identity, social skill development, academic support and motivation, career and college exploration, artistic expression, spiritual development, recreational activities, family and community outreach
  • Guest speakers, community service opportunities, field trips, and student internships

COSEBOC's Rite of Passage program in the Philadelphia Public Schools produced the following outcome:

  • 94% promotion rate
  • 89% fewer violent incidents and adverse behaviors
  • 85% average school attendance
  • 98% graduation rate for 2013–14 seniors
  • 90% of all evaluative measures ranked mid range or higher on Philadelphia performance matrix
  • 80% of all evaluative measures ranked Exceptional on Philadelphia performance matrix

The real power of the Rite of Passage program comes from the stories of students:

The high school student who was on the streets and ignored school as a freshman. After three years in the program, he now competes for straight A’s in his courses and is on schedule to graduate.

The student who was suspended in middle school and high school for fights with teachers and other students. Now he resolves his conflicts with words, not violence, and helps his friends avoid violence.

The student who said “I was a foolish child and lacked self- discipline before Sankofa. Now I want to help others to learn to be a man just like I did.”

If you are interested in bringing a Rite of Passage Program to your school, contact Kimberly E. Zouzoua, Managing Director of Professional Services, at kzouzoua@coseboc.org.