Police officer starts Right To Read tutoring program in Avondale school

Posted at 6:42 PM, Jan 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-19 20:11:16-05

CINCINNATI -- Officer Don Jordan has a passion for reading. That passion is contagious. 

"Everything I do at this point of my life is for my son," he said. "What we do is, we actually take time out every night for him to read at least 15 minutes a night."

But when Jordan learned about Ohio's third grade proficiency test, and how students that don't pass can't move on to fourth grade, he realized the stories he shared with his son could be the solution to what he's faced on the streets.

"Typically, they take the test scores from this third grade test and those kids that fail that test, they are estimating in the future, prison beds for those kids," Jordan said. 

Jordan started a Right To Read tutoring program. Officers visit South Avondale Elementary to tutor students every week. Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Ronald McDonald House, Xavier University and Avondale Comprehensive Development are also partners and send tutors. 

After four years, they said they can see it's making a difference, and educators like second grade teacher Michelle Langford agree.

"When they get it, it's just like that light bulb comes on and you can see the smiles on their faces, and it just brings tears to your eyes," she said.

For officers like Matthew Mauric, it's a chance to meet the children in the neighborhood they patrol. 

"I think it's one of the best ways that we can improve our relations with the community, is to reach out to the younger generation and show them we're not here just to take someone to jail, just to put a Band-Aid over a solution," Mauric said, "We're here to try to never create a problem in the first place."

As for Jordan's son, he passed the proficiency test with flying colors. Now others will, too. 

"You absolutely know you're making a difference," Jordan said. 

Jordan said he's like to see the program spread to more schools and, maybe, someday even go nationwide.