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Call Him Principal James! LeBron Opens Nontraditional Public School In Akron

Call Him Principal James! LeBron Opens Nontraditional Public School In Akron

 

Basketball superstar LeBron James has often talked about the importance of education. And in fact, the NBA player has often supported education initiatives in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, as well as nationwide.

James took a big step forward earlier this week and officially launched a public elementary school he co-founded. The I Promise School is “a joint venture between the LeBron James Family Foundation and the Akron, Ohio Public School system. The school’s inaugural class will include 240 third and fourth-grade students who were selected based on socioeconomic status and educational performance,” CNBC reported.

James, who has many other investments, has also promised that students who graduate from the program will earn free tuition at the University of Akron starting in 2021. The school will focus on low-income and at-risk students.

LeBron James
LeBron James speaks at the opening ceremony for the I Promise School in Akron, Ohio, Monday, July 30, 2018. The I Promise School is supported by the The LeBron James Family Foundation and is run by the Akron Public Schools. (AP Photo/Phil Long)

 

I Promise has been in the works for a while. It started as a nonprofit “aimed at boosting achievement for younger students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Now the movement has the means to educate these students year-round,” SB Nation reported.


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James could have gone the private school or even charter route, but he chose to open  public school, making it more inclusive. His foundation will supplement the city’s school funding to run the school and its unique programs, that include an emphasis on STEM programs as well as longer school hours. “I Promise will feature longer school days, a nontraditional school year, and greater access to the school, its facilities, and its teachers during down time for students. That’s a formula aimed at replicating some of the at-home support children may be missing when it comes to schoolwork. The school has also anchored its curriculum in math and science-based teaching, dipping into the STEM–science, technology, engineering, and math–curriculum that prepares students for the jobs of the future,” SB Nation reported.

I Promise not only hopes to make a difference in the education of its students but to also help them at home and in their communities. “To truly provide emotional and psychological services for at-risk children and their families requires well-trained and supported teachers. The I Promise School gives teachers access to psychological services. Every Wednesday afternoon will be reserved for career development. James even hired a personal trainer to work with teachers who want a guided workout,” SB Nation reported.

LeBron James
LeBron James speaks at the opening ceremony for the I Promise School in Akron, Ohio, Monday, July 30, 2018. The I Promise School is supported by the The LeBron James Family Foundation and is run by the Akron Public Schools. (AP Photo/Phil Long)

The school will also get involved with the parents and try to fulfill their needs to create a better home life for the students. “Parents can use the institution’s job and family services, study through its GED program, or design meals at the on-site food bank to cook at home. There are also counselors on staff to help children deal with the trauma that may arise in their daily life,” SB Nation reported.

Eventually, James looks to expand to a first through eighth grade lineup by 2022.

“We’re going to be on ’em like a school should be because we want them to be successful not only in the school, but successful in life,” James said. “We’re gonna give ’em everything that they need and give them criteria that they all can meet, depending on the individual. But it’s going to be pretty cool to see the kids at the school the first day we open.”