Friday, October 5, 2018


By Boise District Data Analyst Becca Anderson

Earlier this year, LeBron James made headlines with the opening of his new school in Akron, Ohio, I Promise. The school is not a charter or private school, but actually part of Akron Public Schools, and James received praise for his support of public schools.

But here’s what’s even better: the LeBron James Family Foundation’s annual two million dollar investment cements the long-term funding of support services to students and families at the school, including a daily food and household items pantry, GED and job search support for parents, counseling and more. “I think the missing link in public education is that family wraparound support,” said Brandi Davis, the school’s principal in an interview with NPR.

Though SB Nation’s headline read, “How LeBron James' new public school really is the first of its kind,” these wrap-around services are something Boise Schools believes in, as well, and has embraced. The concept is called Community Schools, and in the 18-19 school year, Boise Schools has six Community Schools: Taft, Whittier, Garfield, Whitney, Morley Nelson, and Frank Church.

Community Schools supports strategic community partnerships designed to eliminate barriers to learning. As stated on the Boise Schools website, Community Schools’...

“integrated focus on academics, health and social services, youth and community development, and family engagement leads to improved student learning, stronger families, and healthier communities.”

If we break down the barriers to school success, what happens to student achievement?

Nationally, the Community Schools model is promising. “The evidence base on well-implemented community schools and their component features provides a strong warrant for their potential contribution to school improvement,” a National Education Policy Center brief finds.

In a national study, high-implementing CIS (Communities in Schools) schools “outperformed non-CIS schools on measures of dropout and graduation rates. Studies demonstrated significant improvements… in dropout, retention, academics, attendance, and behavior measures.”

In Boise, we are tracking increased attendance, positive behavior outcomes, involvement in enrichment activities, and parent participation, among other data, to see the impact of Community Schools. Though it’s early, the commitment we’ve made to Community Schools complements our dedication to strong neighborhood schools and helps to ensure every student is ready to learn every day, and we expect it to pay dividends.

Watch a video about Boise Community Schools here.

Read more about LeBron James and Akron Public Schools here and read the master plan of I Promise here.