Giving Compass' Take:

• The Lebron James I Promise School is utilizing a whole-family intervention approach that provides extra workforce training development, GED programs, job placement services and a food bank serving all types of family needs. 

• How will Lebron James school impact the surrounding community in Akron? 

• Read more about the benefits of LeBron James I Promise School. 

The goals of the LeBron James Family Foundation’s new school in Akron, Ohio, extend beyond educating at-risk third and fourth graders. The school is a bold, public experiment in whole-family community intervention, and it is rooted in strong evidence and a proven model.

The “I Promise” ethos runs throughout the school’s mission. Students promise to work hard and complete school. Teachers promise to love the community’s students and families. James and Akron Public Schools promise every student free uniforms, meals, and a bicycle. James’s foundation will pay students’ tuition to the University of Akron after they graduate from high school.

But I Promise’s designers recognize that to create an upwardly mobile community, what happens outside the classroom can be just as important as what happens during school hours.  The school’s dual-generation education strategy provides wraparound services for families, including a food bank, GED programs, and job placement services for parents, managed by two full-time employees. It also eases the burden of finding child care by offering longer school days and school years.

Parents seeking to improve their job prospects through education and training often run up against scheduling conflicts and child care challenges. Urban Institute research finds that local workforce systems help parents overcome these boundaries to improved earnings, employment, and job stability. Parents in family-focused programs, encouraged by their children’s success, may pursue more credentials and obtain better jobs and improve their parenting skills and certification and education levels.

I Promise’s family-centered model draws from other successful community collaboratives.

Philanthropy, nonprofits, the public school system, teachers, parents, and students all play a role in supporting a shared goal: building cradle-to-career solutions in communities to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty.

Read the full article about LeBron James school by Patrick Spauster at Urban Institute