After years of hard work planning, LeBron James officially opened up his I Promise public school in Akron, Ohio and right out of the gate, it’s clear that this is no ordinary public school. The school opened to 240 third and fourth-graders who make up the inaugural student body and along with getting to say they go to a school founded by the best basketball player on earth, each student will be receiving free uniforms, a free bicycle, and free food and drinks for breakfast and lunch.
Of course, the school isn’t just being praised for its cool perks; The school’s curriculum will be designed to provide the best education possible for students who are in danger of falling behind at a young age. To make sure students are retaining what they will be learning, James’ school will have longer days than most schools along with the school year beginning when most schools are still out for summer.
Additionally, the school has prioritized quality in their staff. Along with the typical teachers one might expect at a public school, the I Promise school will have four intervention specialists, an English as a second language teacher, and a tutor for struggling students. The I Promise school is also aware that many kids in impoverished communities struggle with a lack of after-school activity, which is why the school is prioritizing providing opportunities for students to engage in after-school programs.
But James isn’t just looking to provide support for his students, he wants to support their parents as well. The school provides multiple services for parents, including job placement assistance, GED courses, and an on-site food bank, which will allow parents to take home food that is easy to prepare for family meals.
And that’s not all. According to Cleveland.com, each day students will have some form of social-emotional learning and will be encouraged to participate in a “supportive circle” after lunch, which is meant to help students regain focus to do quality work in the afternoons. During the summers, students will also be able to participate in a seven-week summer session that will include STEM-based camps.
As a three-time NBA champion and the winner of four MVP awards, James is unquestionably one of the most accomplished athletes of all time. But according to James, his legacy on the court is nothing compared to what the school means to him.
“Walking these hallways and seeing, when I was driving here, just the streets that I walked, some of the stores are still up when I was growing up,” James told ESPN. “It’s a moment I’ll never forget — and hopefully the kids, starting with the 240 kids that we have going in here right now starting today, will never forget it, either.”