All of the students at this experimental Ohio school had been declared “irredeemable” because of their behavioral issues or social circumstances – but their latest test scores showed that they just needed a little bit of love.
The I Promise School, which opened in Akron in July 2018, currently serves 240 students, all of whom are in the 3rd or 4th grade. Though the disadvantaged students had previously experienced some of the lowest grades and test scores in the district, they are now breaking records.
In just six months of classes, 90% of their pupils have outpaced their fellow district students with their math and reading goals – and according to The New York Times, the “students’ test scores increased at a higher rate than 99 out of 100 schools nationally.”
“For the average student, your percentile doesn’t move that much unless something extraordinary is happening,” Akron public school coordinator Keith Liechty told The Times.
The public school was launched by basketball legend LeBron James as a means of showing that the state’s educational system could be changed to accommodate even the most troubled students.
“These were the children where you went and talked with their old teachers, and they said, ‘This will never work,’” I Promise executive school director Dr. Michele Campbell told the news outlet. “We said give them to us.”
Though I Promise receives the bulk of its funding from the state, it also receives an extra $600,000 in funding from the LeBron James Foundation. With the help of this additional funding, the school is also equipped with a free food pantry that is open to the students and their families; a GED-testing program to help educate parents alongside their kids; and a counseling center which provides trauma, health, and legal resources for the families.
With the recent announcement of the school’s stunning test results, critics are excited to see how I Promise will serve its students in the future.
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