From left are Kandice McLurkin, COBA president; Simone Charles, immediate past president; Dr. William Parham, American Board of Professional Psychology, and Dr. Jamila Gillenwaters, COBA vice president. (Courtesy photo)

Academic excellence for African American youth will take center stage at the 44thAnnual Black Child Conference and Scholarship Luncheon on Saturday, May 4, at the Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles Airport Hotel.

The educational symposium, sponsored by the Council of Black Administrators (COBA), will share strategies and resources to aid teachers and parents in ensuring that students perform in their studies at the highest level possible.

According to Kandice McLurkin,COBA president, the theme is “Power of the Past, Force for the Future:  Continuing the Legacy of Academic Excellence for the Next Generation of Black Students.”  The agenda includes several workshops outlining methods to support children academically, socially, and emotionally.

“COBA has a legacy of nurturing culturally responsive practices to all students in the Los Angeles Unified School District,” McLurkin said. “Through this conference, we aim to assist educators in enhancing their delivery of instruction, aid administrators in utilizing district resources, and help parents to reinforce learning at home.”

Among the conference highlights is the presentation of 20 scholarships to L.A. Unified School District graduating seniors. The grants will include the Dr. Owen Knox Four-Year Recurring Scholarship, which will be awarded to the student with the highest academic achievement; and the inaugural Dr. Michelle King Trailblazer Scholarship, which will honor a student who made significant accomplishments at their local school community.

Also, the Dr. Lawrence H. Moore Humanitarian Scholarships will be awarded to four students for their outstanding charitable efforts at their schools. The youth will be representatives of COBA’s Multicultural Humanitarian Coalition partners, the Association of Jewish Educators, the Alliance of Asian Pacific Administrators and the Council of Mexican American Administrators.

Dr. George McKenna of the L.A. Board of Education will participate as well as Dr. Francis Gipson, LAUSD chief academic officer, LAUSD staff, parents and community members, added McLurkin.

“We strongly believe that it takes the efficacy of all stakeholders to ascend students to become competitive and strong candidates to universities across the nation,” she said.

The conference is open to the public. To register or learn more, call (323) 296-2040 or visit