Representatives for LeBron James' I Promise School Respond to Low Test Scores: "This Work Requires a Long-Term Commitment"

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.

via: Vibe

A spokesperson for the LeBron James Family Foundation has responded to that report, asserting their plan to invest in the students long term.

“When we started this work to wraparound students through education, we entered this partnership with Akron Public School for the long haul,” a representative told Complex. “Because this work requires a long term commitment, hard work, and a lot of love and care. And that’s what we bring each and every day because the I Promise School is more than a school.”

The spokesperson reiterated their commitment to standing alongside their at-risk students through the ups and downs to ensure their success later in life. One of the biggest “downs” was the COVID-19 pandemic which affected students and faculty nationwide, many of whom are still trying to find their footing to this day.

The I Promise School opened in 2018 and, per The New York Times, test scores increased significantly in just one year for these students who, at the time, were in the third grade. “These kids are doing an unbelievable job, better than we all expected,” LeBron James said back in 2019. “When we first started, people knew I was opening a school for kids. Now people are going to really understand the lack of education they had before they came to our school. People are going to finally understand what goes on behind our doors.”

“We are reigniting dreams that were extinguished,” Brandi Davis, the school’s principal at the time, stated. Their new principal, Stephanie Davis, has been lauded as the “perfect person to lead” the institution as they push toward the future.

“One of the things I’m most excited about coming into the I Promise School is the optimism and energy around getting our students to a level of achievement we know they’re capable of,” Stephanie said. “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. Our students have not yet met the grade-level mastery mark but they are demonstrating growth based on iReady scores.”

“Of our incoming 8th graders, 32 percent met their annual typical growth in reading while 11 percent met their stretch goal for the year,” Principal Stephanie Davis continued, acknowledging small victories as they work toward the larger goal. “Despite not mastering the grade-level standards, 42 percent of students demonstrated growth in iReady math across their 7th grade school year. 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.”

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