LeBron James 'I Promise' Documentary Shows What Happens When Schools Invest in At-Risk Students
Lebron James is committed to beating the odds, but he's doing it off the court and in the classroom this time.
In a YouTube Originals award-winning documentary, "I Promise," James takes viewers behind the scenes of the day-to-day trials and tribulations of creating his I Promise School in his hometown of Akron, Ohio.
I Promise School, which opened in 2018, does not center on recruiting the top-performing students around the city. Instead, the school is dedicated to giving students who are already failing by educational standards a fighting chance using alternative teaching methods.
The documentary is told mainly through the eyes of the young inspiring students and teachers who are a part of the inaugural class. In the promo, a young Black boy says, "I worry about going to the fourth grade." Another student, a Black girl, says, "At my old school, teachers told me that I wouldn't be able to make it." Through their stories, viewers gain insight into what makes James' I Promise school special. In the raw and, at times, emotional film, viewers see the ups and downs, challenges, and victories of investing in at-risk students.
I Promise School, an effort of the Lebron James Family Foundation, is promoted as offering a new and unique approach to help bridge the opportunity gap for struggling and disadvantaged students. The school's model is a holistic, family-first educational environment that embraces the trauma many underprivileged students come to school with. According to organizers, the school has a STEM-focused approach, is led by love, and offers social-emotional learning.
Directed by award-winning, independent filmmaker Mark Levin and executive produced by Lebron James, the film provides insights and tools that educators in every community can recreate and implement in their classrooms. Educators across the country can promise the students most at risk of failing that they won't give up on them. The promise the school's name refers to is reciprocal: Students at the school are not only given a commitment from James but also profess their promise to school faculty that they will work to finish school.
The documentary is available now on the YouTube Originals channel.