NBA players are lauded for their otherworldly feats on the court, but oftentimes their accomplishments elsewhere go unsung. The Los Angeles Lakers had more than their fair share of struggles this season, but thankfully their superstar forward LeBron James has plenty to brag about off the court.
USA Today reports that his I Promise School, the public school he founded for at-risk students in conjunction with his own LeBron James Family Foundation and Akron Public Schools, is off to an excellent start.
MAP (measures of academic progress) testing from the fall to the winter period at the school showed improvement, according to the Akron Public Schools Office of School Improvement:
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.
In layman’s terms, the above means the students are doing the damn thang.
“It’s encouraging to see growth, but by no means are we out of the woods,” Keith Liechty, a coordinator in Akron public school system’s Office of School Improvement, told The New York Times. “The goal is for these students to be at grade level, and we’re not there yet. This just tells us we’re going in the right direction.”
I think it’s safe to call the year-round school—which provides education, career and emotional support for parents, as well as daily breakfast, lunch and snacks for students—a resounding success thus far. The bulk of the school year runs from August to May, but students are required to participate in a seven-week summer-school program.
“90%. Ninety percent of our students have met or exceeded their expected growth in math and reading,” the school tweeted on Friday. “...and they’re just getting started.”
“We are reigniting dreams that were extinguished,” school principal Brand Davis said. “We want to change the face of urban education.”
Next year the school will expand to include fifth grade and plans to continue adding grades until it has grades 1st through 8th by 2022.
“When we first started, people knew I was opening a school for kids,” James said. “Now people are going to really understand the lack of education they had before they came to our school. People are going to finally understand what goes on behind our doors.”