More than Basketball

James Opens School

LeBron Opens School

While he may be heading to California, LeBron James has made it clear that he isn’t leaving his home state of Ohio behind anytime soon.

Through his LeBron James Family Foundation, and with the partnership of Akron Public Schools, James has opened the I Promise School in Akron. 240 at-risk children will attend the school’s inaugural year. Classes start Monday.

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An idea hatched in November 2017, the I Promise School offers many unique features geared towards students in difficult situations. Longer hours will be aimed at helping kids who may be lagging, while services will be provided to children dealing with stress resulting from difficult situations at home. These include activities to prevent kids from having excessive idle time where they can get into trouble, as well as free meals to help students focus.

When James was in the 4th grade, he missed 83 days of school due to transportation issues. “It was challenging,” James said. “It was mentally challenging. Sometimes you think about a kid being in the third grade at that age, between 8 and 7 years old; in the fourth grade having responsibility or having stress — no kid at 8, 9 should have stress. And I was one of those kids, so I know exactly what those kids today are going through being a part of this.”

To combat such problems, the school will provide each student with his or her own bicycle, allowing them the means to escape a potentially negative atmosphere closer to home.

Principal Brandi Davis explained that one of the school’s aims is to create a supportive environment where kids can thrive, regardless of what they may be dealing with elsewhere.

“I think the missing link in public education is that family wraparound support,” said Brandi Davis, the school’s principal. “Because our students come to school and they’re worried about things at home. … We want to create that safe, that secure and that caring and loving environment for our families and our students so that our kids can focus on education.”


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