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Friday, January 18, 2019

What You Should Know About Lebron James’ I Promise School

Lebron James, founder of the I Promise School

Nationwide — One of the most celebrated basketball players of all time opened a school this past year. LeBron James’ I Promise School is a public elementary school for at-risk students in Akron, Ohio. The school is a partnership between the Lebron James Family Foundation and the school district.

While many celebrities start charter and private schools, James decided a traditional public school is what his hometown needed. He reflected on his own experiences growing up to produce a state-of-the-art facility that has about a 20:1 student-to-teacher ratio. When he was a 4th grader, James missed 83 days of school; it was always a surprise to him whether or not he’d be attending school on any given day. That’s why he took the initiative to open an institution that offers opportunity and focuses on building bright futures for children.

The curriculum mainly prioritizes science, technology, engineering, and math. Students whose academic performance trails a year or two behind their peers are selected to attend. The school years and school days are designed to be longer than normal, so kids can fully engage in the school’s programming and focus on their education instead of their struggles outside of the classroom. In fact, one of the pillars at the school emphasizes dropping external “baggage” at the door. Additionally, the I Promise school offers after-school tutoring, attendance incentives, and free transportation for students within a two-mile radius.

Upon a student’s arrival, they’ll receive a free school uniform and an incredibly warm welcome. In addition to placing a strong emphasis on instructional frameworks, student learning, and emotional and social support, the school also values nutrition and fitness. Each student receives free meals (breakfast and lunch), snacks, and drinks. They even get their own bicycle!

Additionally, if a student completes their education at the I Promise school and graduates from their high school, they’re guaranteed a full-tuition, four-year scholarship to the University of Akron. It isn’t just the students that benefit, though—their parents do as well. The school offers GED classes, job placement assistance, and an on-site food bank, so families can learn and thrive together. Teachers also receive resources, such as personal training sessions.

Currently, the school has an inaugural class of 240 third- and fourth-graders. Next year, it will also serve first- and second-graders. LeBron James’ I Promise School hopes to host first- through eighth-graders by the 2022 to 2023 school year.