How Boys Learn, Succeed, and Develop Character


From a respected educator who has advised Hillary Clinton and Cory Booker on scholastic issues, a “rare book that can bring tears to your eyes while showing the way to deep and meaningful social change” (New York Times bestselling author William Pollack).

David Banks knows a few things about at-risk boys. In 2004, he petitioned New York City’s mayor to allow an all-boys public school to open in one of the most troubled districts in the country, the South Bronx. He had a point to prove: when rituals that boys are innately drawn to are combined with college prep-level instruction and community mentorship, even the most challenging students can succeed. The result? The Eagle Academy for Young Men—the first all-boys public high school in New York City in more than thirty years—has flourished and has been successfully replicated in other boroughs and states.

In Soar, Banks shares the experiences of individual kids from the Eagle Academy as well as his own personal story. He reveals the specific approach he and his team use to drive students, from tapping into their natural competitiveness and peer-sensitivity, to providing rituals that mimic their instinctual need for hierarchy and fraternal camaraderie, to finding teachers who know firsthand the obstacles these students face.

Results-oriented and clear-eyed about the challenges and promises of educating boys at risk, Soar is “a must-read for those concerned with the welfare of young men” (Kirkus Reviews).
  • Atria / 37 Ink | 
  • 256 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781476760964 | 
  • April 2015
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About the Author

David Banks
Margot Jordan

David Banks

David Banks is the president and CEO of the Eagle Academy Foundation. He was the Founding Principal of the Eagle Academy for Young Men, the first school in a network of innovative all-boys public school in New York City. David resides in New Jersey. He has four children, Jamaal, Aaliyah, Ali, and Malcolm Rashaad, and one grandchild, Hayley.