LeBron James' School Has Seen 'Extraordinary' Results In Its First Year

by Thea Glassman
Image via Jason Miller/Getty Images

LeBron James opened a school in Akron, Ohio and it’s turned out to be a huge success

This past July, LeBron James opened the I Promise School in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, which admitted the city’s worst performing students with behavioral problems. His mission to provide academic, legal, professional, and health support for the children and their families has been a huge success. And they’ve got the numbers to prove it.

There are 240 students enrolled in the school and a whopping 90% have met or exceeded their goals in math and reading, according to The New York Times. “For the average student your percentile doesn’t move that much unless something extraordinary is happening,” Keith Liechty, a coordinator in the Akron public school system’s Office of School Improvement, told the Times.

So, what exactly are the extraordinary things happening over at I Promise? There are smaller class sizes, additional after-school programs and tutoring, and a ton of important support for the families as a whole. They offer parents the resources for G.E.D prep, legal services, health services, and work guidance. There’s also free clothing and free food, like cheerios, peanut butter, and jelly.

According to The Times, in reading, where both classes had scored in the lowest, or first, percentile, third graders moved to the ninth percentile and fourth graders to the 16th. In math, third-graders jumped from the lowest percentile to the 18th, while fourth graders moved from the second percentile to the 30th.

The school’s motto is “We Are Family,” and they’re certainly living up to that promise. James, who was once considered an “at risk” student in Akron, explained in a statement that the extra support can mean the world to a struggling student.

“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,” he said. “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.”

Clearly, he’s very, very correct. The basketball superstar took to Twitter to celebrate his school’s achievements. “PROUD is an understatement,” James wrote. “Kids you are smart, amazing, talented, and nothing short of INSPIRATIONAL! Teachers & all the staff ya’ll are the right ones, the real ones on this journey changing lives & numbers don’t lie. Let’s keep GROWING.”

This incredible news didn’t go unnoticed. Barack Obama himself chimed in on Twitter and sent hearty applause to all of the hard-working kids over at I Promise. “Another good story worth sharing: From one ‘kid from Akron’ to a new generation of Akron kids, some remarkable early achievements at @IPROMISESchool,” he wrote. “Great work, @KingJames—and even better work by those students. Proud to be a witness to their success.”

Many, many more people shared their admiration for James and this huge, important step forward for these kids in Akron.

Sending all of the applause to James for creating this program, all the teachers and support staff who are doing amazing work, and the kids who are making incredible strides.