VIDEO: Jordan Elementary in Orange welcomes state schools chief on Read Across America Day

Celebrating Read Across America Day, the state’s new schools chief paid a visit to Jordan Elementary in the Orange Unified School District on March 1.

While he was there, California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond read to students, toured Jordan’s STREAM Lab and engaged in a conversation with district officials about how the state can better support schools in Orange Unified and elsewhere.

District staff documented Thurmond’s appearance in the brief video above.

Thurmond was invited by Jordan Principal Lorena Rubio, and as you can see in the video, he received an impressive welcome from the students and staff.

On hand were OUSD trustees and members of the district’s leadership team, the Orange Unified Education Association, parent volunteers and community members.

Because his visit was timed with Read Across America Day, which annually celebrates childhood literacy, Thurmond donned a Cat in the Hat hat and read a pair of books to more than 60 students from Jordan’s TK, special education, first- and second-grade classes.

He also shared his vision for public education and advocated for increased school funding, noting that California ranks 41st nationally in per-pupil spending.

“Our kids are more than a number,” Thurmond said. “They are more than a test score. We need to show them that they are No. 1 and we start by increasing funding for districts like Orange and schools like Jordan.”

Jordan Elementary is a designated Title I school, meaning it receives federal funding to better serve students from low-income families. Nearly 89 percent of the school’s 422 students are eligible for free or reduced meals based on family income levels, and nearly 64 percent of students are identified as English-language learners.