LeBron James’ New I Promise School For At-Risk Children Is Truly The First Of Its Kind
You’ve probably heard that LeBron James opened a new school on Monday in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. What you might not have heard is just how pioneering that new school really is.
The I Promise School will serve low-income and at-risk students using a formula that has proven successful in other cities. The school will have longer hours, a non-traditional school year, and greater access to teachers and school facilities to provide children with the crucial support they may not be receiving at home. It will also have a STEM-based curriculum that seeks to prepare students for the jobs of the future.
However, the I Promise School will take things further than just about any other school of its kind. Because creating a comfortable home life for students is its core principle, the I Promise School offers a GED program and job placement assistance to parents. It has an on-site food bank that doesn’t just provide food, but also helps parents plan healthy meals. It provides every single student a bicycle so they can get to school themselves and escape the city’s more dangerous neighborhoods—something LeBron James said was crucial when he was growing up. And every single graduate will be guaranteed free tuition to Akron University starting in 2021.
All of that is impressive. But perhaps the most unique thing about the I Promise School is that it is not a charter school, or even a private school. It’s a regular public school. That makes the school more inclusive and accessible to the community, because students don’t have to transfer out of the Akron Public Schools. It also makes the school less disruptive to the public school system. The I Promise School is not trying to fix the education gap by removing at-risk students from the system. It’s trying to fix the problem within the existing system.
Of course, the I Promise School requires more funding than a regular public school. And that’s where the LeBron James Family Foundation comes in. They’ve put together a group of 120 donors, volunteers, and sponsors to provide the additional resources the school will need.
Those additional resources include extra support for teachers and staff. Not only will teachers have all their supplies paid for by the school—something that rarely happens in any school district—they will have access to psychological services and career development programs. LeBron has even hired a personal trainer to work with teachers who are interested in advancing their physical fitness.
The I Promise School is going to be a pretty special place.
Hat Tip – [SB Nation]