Akron, Ohio's public schools have had a problem for a long time.
Their low-income and at-risk students have been falling well behind their peers in their education.
NBA Superstar, LeBron James wanted to change that, and this week, he unveiled his solution, a new kind of public school.
The LeBron James Family Foundation and Akron Public schools have worked together to form a special school for kids from disadvantaged backgrounds that's goal is to help boost student achievement and help create responsible adults.
According to SB Nation, the school, called the 'I Promise School':
"..is a special public school that offers at-risk kids additional support on top of an enhanced education. It's designed to provide 'wraparound support' for kids who, for whatever reason, need it."
LeBron has said he created the school to:
"give kids opportunities to thrive despite difficult life situations."
To start, 240 children in 3rd and 4th grades will be attending. In 2019, 5th and 6th grade students will be added, and by 2022, the school will have students from 1st grade to 8th grade.
This is a PUBLIC school, not a charter school and not a voucher-receiving private school.
Students will have:
- longer school days
- a non-traditional school year
- greater access to the school and teachers during down time for students
Here's what's so special about this school, it offers to students:
- Free Tuition
- Free Uniforms
- Free Bicycle and helmet
- Free Transportation within 2 miles
- Free Breakfast, lunch, and snacks
- Staff counselors to help children dealing with trauma
- Guaranteed tuition to the University of Akron for every student who graduates
It also offers for teachers:
- all the supplies they need for the classroom
- access to psychological services
- a weekly day reserved for 'career development'
- access to personal trainers to help them workout
For families the school will offer:
- a food pantry
- therapy opportunities
- GED program for parents
- Job placement services for parents seeking employment
Last December, in an interview with Theresa Cottom of the Akron Beacon-Journal, LeBron said:
"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. We're gonna give 'em everything they need and give them criteria that they all can meet, depending on the individual."
After the opening of the school on Monday, he told Cottom, he's very excited about the potential of the school:
“I think schools build structure … and kind of sets you up for life after, when you become an adult. You have that structure, that stability, something to fall back on … I think the support system is more important than anything. This age, I believe, is a turning point for either going one way or the other. … When I was their age, I just needed some guidance. I needed someone to care.”