Last Thursday (July 27), the Akron Beacon Journal published a report in regard to LeBron James’ I Promise School following a city board meeting that took place days prior. According to said article, none of the institution’s current eighth grade class passed math tests in three years. In addition, two of I Promise’s biggest subgroups, Black students and those with disabilities, are said to be testing in the bottom 5 percent in the state.
Board President Derrick Hall called the figures “disappointing,” despite the fact that COVID-19 and remote learning were “known factors.” “I just think about all the resources that we’re providing,” he said. “It doesn’t appear like we’re seeing the kind of change that we would expect to see.”
On Monday (July 31), an official statement was shared by The LeBron James Family Foundation, which oversees I Promise School and provides $1.4 million annually to bolster its faculty. “When we started this work to wraparound students through education, we entered this partnership with Akron Public Schools for the long haul because this work requires a long-term commitment, hard work, and a lot of love and care,” the statement read. “We’re here for the ups and downs, and will continue to wraparound our students and their entire families, so they can be successful in school and in life, no matter the challenges and obstacles that come their way.”
I Promise‘s newly minted principal, Stephanie Davis, added via WKYC, “At the recent board meeting, our preliminary OST data was shared, but it’s important to note that proficiency is based on mastering grade-level standards… When working with students who are achieving below grade level, growth is as important as a measure of progress as proficiency. And the type of growth that is important to us is not made overnight. It takes time.”
As the Akron Beacon Journal noted, students are entered into a lottery for I Promise if they are in the bottom 25 percent of reading scores in the district. This does not include those who are already being served through other specialty programs for significant disabilities. Upon being chosen, parents are invited to enroll eligible children.
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