Last summer, the LeBron James Family Foundation opened the I Promise Elementary School in NBA star’s hometown Akron, Ohio. More than halfway into the inaugural school year, I Promise students have seen “extraordinary results” in their first set of district assessments.
A recent article by The New York Times celebrates the great achievements made by the school. Of the school’s third- and fourth-grade students, “Ninety percent met or exceeded individual growth goals in reading and math,” writer Erica L. Green reports.
Proud of the school’s accomplishments, James said in a phone interview with Green, “These kids are doing an unbelievable job, better than we all expected.”
He added, “When we first started, people knew I was opening a school for kids. Now people are going to really understand the lack of education they had before they came to our school. People are going to finally understand what goes on behind our doors.”
James isn’t alone. “We are reigniting dreams that were extinguished. We want to change the fact of urban education,” said Principal Brand Davis.
The school’s 240 students were originally “identified as the worst performers in the Akron public schools and branded with behavior problems.”
Along with providing the best for its students, I Promise helps parents as well.
Nickole Wyatt, whose son Ti’Jay Wyatt is a fourth-grade student at the school, is taking classes at the school to get her high school equivalency diploma. “I was skeptical even of my own life, wondering, ‘Am I even worth for fighting for?’ When I come here every day, I know it’s going to be O.K,” she said.
The school also provides clothing and food to families in need.
James said, “I had the vision of wanting to give back to my community. The people around every day are helping that vision come to life,” he said. “Half the battle is trying to engage them and show that there’s always going to be somebody looking out for them.”