The LeBron James Foundation and Akron Public schools partnered to bring the I Promise School. Today that dream comes true as it marks the opening.
240 third and fourth graders attended school Monday morning for their first day at IPS. It was a sight of joy as the students were amazed by the beauty of the school. James was in attendance to welcome the new students.
The goal of IPS is to help at-risk youth in Akron, Ohio enter college by 2029. 1,200 students are guaranteed free tuition to the University of Akron when they graduate. By 2022 the school hopes to teach students from first grade to eighth grade. The school is preparing the children for excellence young by providing longer school days and a school year.
The executive director of the James Foundation, Michele Campbell, told USA Today, "Every one of these kids, maybe they don't become LeBron James on the basketball court, but they become the LeBron James of their passion and dream in life. We're coming to them at a time when people came to LeBron and Gloria and wrapped around them and believed in them before he was this great basketball player."
IPS offers a variety of special features for the students. A music room lined with guitars, a media lab built by WKYC Channel 3 News, and murals of legendary black figures. Jesse Owens, Martin Luther King Jr, Muhammad Ali and LeBron James to name a few.
IPS students are fed breakfast, lunch and snacks. The uniforms are free and they'll be provided with free bicycles and helmets. Free transportation is serviced to students within 2 miles.
Teachers will have a lounge called the "Locker Room." The staff members will have access to a free personal trainer two days a week. Healthy snacks will also be available. Across the hall from the teacher's lounge is a pantry that parents can get food from. This will help parents save a little bit of money. The pantry will be replenished by Akron-Canton Regional Food Bank.
Vikki McGee will be the director of the Family Resource Center. McGee has over 29 years of experience. Her work includes being a rehabilitation provider at Oriana House and working in the Department of Justice in Cleveland. Job and Family Services will be open daily at the school.
"We're trying to remove every barrier possible for families so they can actually become successful in their lives," McGee said.
A room called the "Embassy" will feature 23 staffed high school students. They'll mentor and tutor the younger students and also help supervise the children so their parents can receive job training counseling.