|Photo courtesy of Lebron James Family Foundation|
Back in 2011, LeBron James launched the I Promise Initiative as a long-term commitment to the youth of Akron and to address the city’s high school dropout rate. Since that time, James has been involved in several activities to reiterate the importance of education to children including creating a four-year scholarship program with the University of Akron to which he pledged $42 million to finance tuition for 1,100 students.
In continuation of this initiative, the LeBron James Family Foundation (LJFF) is partnering with Akron Public Schools (APS) to open the “I Promise School” that will specifically target youth who have been identified by third grade as being at-risk in reading and in need of additional scholastic mediation to ensure academic success.
The school, which is slated to open its doors in the fall of 2018, has a proposed vision to create an innovative and supportive educational environment for students and their families by expanding upon APS curriculum with a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) experiential, problem-based learning focus. Third and fourth grade classes will be the first grade levels offered followed by first and second grades in 2019 and finally first through eighth grades by 2020.
“This school is so important to me because our vision is to create a place for the kids in Akron who need it most – those that could fall through the cracks if we don’t do something,” said LeBron James. “We’ve learned over the years what works and what motivates them, and now we can bring all of that together in one place along with the right resources and experts. If we get to them early enough, we can hopefully keep them on the right track to a bigger and brighter future for themselves and their families.”
Just as LeBron James commits to helping students thrive in school, students who participate in the I Promise Initiative also make a personal pledge in support of their own success. According to the LJFF website, these students promise to attend school, complete their homework, listen attentively to instructors, be willing to ask questions and seek answers, and never give up. Students also promise to try their hardest, be helpful and respectful, lead healthy lifestyles, make good choices, have fun and complete school.