Earlier this week, an inaugural class of 240 third and fourth graders walked through the doors of the newly opened, I Promise Academy in Akron, Ohio. The founder of this school is none other than basketball player, LeBron James.
An integral part of the school’s mission is to offer true wrap around services for its students and their families, offering the “most challenged students with education and support, it will provide educational, career and emotional support for parents,” as stated in a recent article published on the opening. The founding school team, along with the LeBron James Family Foundation, looked at reading scores of local youth and identified those that were one or two grade levels behind on their reading. The team then conducted a random selection to offer admission to its first inaugural class. It is this data-driven approach that will ensure the success of this school, as it is completely designed with the needs of the student population in mind and met with the services needed to support them.
During his own time in elementary school, James missed school very frequently and was fortunate enough to have family and friends along the way who pushed him to make the right decisions and go down the path he chose for himself, a career in basketball. This school is about doing the same thing for students who are at risk of becoming another statistic, a system that James and his foundation are determined to interrupt. The massive amount of media coverage and praise that James and his foundation are receiving for the opening of I Promise is well deserved. Students in low income communities need schools that offer true wrap around services. Schools should be reaching parents, families, and community members in order to reach the greatest number of people, all to facilitate the impact on students themselves.
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