Most Students at LeBron’s I PROMISE School ‘Exceeded Individual Growth Goals’

As underwhelming as LeBron James’ first season with the Los Angeles Lakers turned out to be, his off-the-court efforts were far from failures. According to The New York Times’ Erica L. Green, 90 percent of the 240 students in the inaugural class at LeBron’s I PROMISE School in Akron, Ohio, “met or exceeded individual growth goals in reading and math, outpacing their peers across the district.”

More from The New York Times:

The scores reflect students’ performance on the Measures of Academic Progress assessment, a nationally recognized test administered by NWEA, an evaluation association. In reading, where both classes had scored in the lowest, or first, percentile, third graders moved to the ninth percentile, and fourth graders to the 16th. In math, third graders jumped from the lowest percentile to the 18th, while fourth graders moved from the second percentile to the 30th.

The 90 percent of I PROMISE students who met their goals exceeded the 70 percent of students districtwide, and scored in the 99th growth percentile of the evaluation association’s school norms, which the district said showed that students’ test scores increased at a higher rate than 99 out of 100 schools nationally.

Those results are remarkable, given both the short time frame (the school opened in late July), and that the students were chosen via lottery from a pool of the lowest performing third- and fourth-graders in Akron Public Schools.

“These kids are doing an unbelievable job, better than we all expected,” LeBron told The New York Times. “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.”

That said, students at the I PROMISE School have a long way yet to go. By and large, they are still performing below the standards of their respective grade levels.

“It’s encouraging to see growth, but by no means are we out of the woods,” said Keith Liechty, the coordinator of school improvement for Akron Public Schools. “The goal is for these students to be at grade level, and we’re not there yet. This just tells us we’re going in the right direction.”

After seeing those results, LeBron can only hope that the Lakers, fresh off a disappointing season and the shocking departure of Magic Johnson from the front office, will be able to engineer a similar turnaround of their own.


Josh Martin is the Editorial Director of CloseUp360. He previously covered the NBA for Bleacher Report and USA Today Sports Media Group, and has written for Yahoo! Sports and Complex. He is also the co-host of the Hollywood Hoops podcast. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.