Back in July of 2018, LeBron James opened the 'I Promise School' to serve the at-risk youth of James' hometown in Akron, where less than a year later students have met or exceeded individual growth goals at the highest rates in the city.
It's been reported that the 90 percent of I Promise students who met their goals exceeded the 70 percent of students district-wide, placing them in the 99th growth percentile of the evaluation association's school norms. Additionally, the district said that students' test scores had increased at a higher rate than 99 out of 100 schools nationally.
The New York Times stated that the third and fourth graders at the school "were, by many accounts, considered unredeemable" upon their arrival, as they were "identified as the worst performers in the Akron public schools and branded with behavioral problems." Now, as the inaugural 240 students have recently finished their Measures of Academic Progress testing, the I Promise school is "helping close the achievement gap in the city."
"These kids are doing an unbelievable job, better than we all expected," James said upon hearing the news, "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."
Along with a top-level education, the accelerated program offered at the I Promise School currently houses a free food pantry for students and their parents, and will offer free tuition at the University of Akron to its graduates starting in 2021.