“I Promise” School

If you aren’t in the loop, or even if you don’t care about hoops, here’s the latest multi-platform topic: LeBron James is opening a school to at-risk third and fourth graders. Those students in attendance will receive free tuition, free uniforms, free breakfast, lunch, and snacks, free transportation within 2 miles, a free bicycle and helmet, access to a food pantry for their families, and guaranteed tuition for graduates to the University of Akron.

When I Google’d “LeBron James I Promise School”, I was hoping to find some sweet articles about the GOOD that LeBron James is doing for the community in Akron, Ohio, but the media coverage was all over the place, which is why I would like my readers to note that I am in school studying education, which I’m hoping ensures some valid credibility in the educational field. I am extremely passionate about this topic, which is why I will emphasize the facts here:

The school is NOT a charter school. Traditionally, charter schools are publicly financed but independently managed, but this is not the case here. The “I Promise” School is a perfect example of revolutionized education, as the Akron Public School Distract and the LeBron James Family Foundation will be working together with funding and educational structures. The school will ultimately function within the Akron Public School District. This new kind of partnership opens avenues for hope within the educational reform system, and the national media coverage shows the public prime examples of education reform actually happening. For example, the school will be open for more days and longer days than the traditional school year, and there are also wraparound services like social and emotional support for the community. These are examples of personal missions being included and reinforced under the public-private partnership but funded by the Akron Public School System. 

There are a few details I really like that I want to note that back my support for this school:

1.There is an expansion plan set on track already. Right now, there is a plan for 240 at-risk third and fourth graders to attend the school, but there are plans to educate over 1,000 students a year in first through eighth grade by 2022.

2.This is personal, which allows for students to understand and connect with complex topics in the real world. LeBron has cited in multiple interviews that youth sports were extremely important to him, and that school allows a safe venue for competitive sports to happen.

3.There are attention to details. LeBron has noted that his bicycle gave him a lot of freedom as a child, which is why he is including the bike and helmet for his students. He told reporters, “A bicycle, for me, was the only way to get around the city. If I wanted to meet some of my friends, travel across the city, go to school, play basketball-anything-the bicycle was the way I got around.”

There are a LOT of amazing things happening here in the educational realm and for the communities in Akron that would not be happening without LeBron James.

Image via Akron Beaton Journal.

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