LeBron James’ new school is much more than a school. It meets the basic definition, of course, but not only will James’ I Promise School help some of Akron’s most challenged students with education and support, it will provide educational, career and emotional support for parents.
“We are going to be that groundbreaking school that will be a nationally recognized model for urban and public school excellence,” I Promise principal and Akron native Brandi Davis said. “We are letting people know it is about true wrap-around support, true family integration and true compassion.”
The I Promise School, which is part of the Akron Public Schools, opens Monday for 240 third- and fourth-graders. The school will expand year by year, going to second and fifth grades next year until it is grades 1-8 by 2022.
“Looking at reading data, we identified students who were a year, two years behind in reading,” said Keith Liechty, the Akron Public Schools’ liaison to James’ foundation. “From that, we had more than 120 kids. We had to put a cap on it so we could fit under one roof. We did a random selection of all students who met that criteria and got to make these awesome phone calls to parents and say, ‘How would you like to be part of something different, the I Promise School.”