While LeBron James had maybe the worst year of his career on the court, things couldn’t be better for The King off the court. This summer, James is set to film Space Jam 2 with a myriad of other entertainment projects either in the works or already off the ground.
And while all of that is excellent, his biggest win of the year has easily been the I Promise public school in Akron, Ohio. The school was built to help underprivileged and at-risk students help close the academic achievement gap and proved a safe learning environment.
The school has seen fantastic results in its first academic year, according to USA Today.
- 90% of students – who started the school year at least one year behind grade level – met or exceeded their expected growth in math and reading.
- Test scores increased at a rate higher than 99 out of 100 schools, per Northwest Evaluation (NWEA) school norms.
- Third-graders went from the first percentile to the 18th percentile in math, moving from intensive tier of support to targeted levels of support.
- Fourth-graders went from the second percentile to the 30th percentile in math, going from intensive tier of support to low universal tier of support.
- All IPS students were below grade level in reading, and in the latest testing scores, 23% of students scored at or above the 25th percentile in reading, putting them at or near grade level
The first line is easily the most impressive. Students in traditionally poor and underserved neighborhoods often fall into cycles in which they’re perpetually behind on math and reading scores—not because they don’t have the ability to improve, but because the schools, teachers and families of these students don’t have the time or resources to give them the extra help and support needed to close that gap.
James’ I Promise school is offering smaller class sizes so students can receive more one-on-one time with teachers. The school also provides “daily breakfast, lunch and snacks for students, also provides education, career and emotional support for parents.”
So even though James will sit out of this year’s postseason, he can go into the summer knowing he’s changed the lives of 240 children and the future of his hometown.