Less than a year ago, NBA superstar LeBron James' I PROMISE School opened in his hometown of Akron, touting itself as a new way of teaching the city's at-risk students. Now, winter test scores appear to show the school is meeting that goal.
According to the Akron Public Schools Office of School Improvement, 90 percent of the school's 240 third and fourth grade students met or exceeded their expected growth in reading and math over their first semester, with the school's test scores as a whole improving at a rate higher that 99 percent of all schools nationally. In third grade alone, students improved from the worst percentile in both math and reading to 18th and ninth, respectively (100th percentile being the best). Fourth grade students also moved from the second-worst percentile in math to 30th, while jumping from the worst percentile in reading to 16th.
Data also shows more than half of the students who found themselves in the school's "intensive tier" of support (with scores below the 10th percentile) have since improved enough to be ranked in the 10th percentile or above in both math and reading. Additionally, while all students who entered the school were reading at or below grade level when the year started, 23 percent are now at or above the 25th percentile, meaning they are near or at grade level.
"Overall, the winter test scores provide evidence that the I PROMISE School’s 3rd and 4th grade students are starting to close the achievement gap," Akron Public Schools said in a statement.
The school is expected to be fully housed with students from grades one through eight by 2022.