GSE alumna Linda White receives state honors

Linda Bradford White, IAL ’02, is the 2017 Oregon Middle School Principal of the Year. The award comes from the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators (COSA) and the Oregon Association of Secondary School Administrators (OASSA). She is the principal of McLoughlin Middle School in Medford and described by colleagues as “outrageously positive.” White is a graduate of the PSU Initial Administrator Leadership (IAL) program, which generates a majority of school administrators throughout the Oregon. White was surprised with the award at an all-school assembly on April 25. She has been principal at the school for four years and prior to that was an assistant principal at North Medford High School.

McLoughlin Middle School has 820 students, and 100 percent are qualified to receive free and reduced meals. The school’s attendance area in Downtown Medford has a homeless mission and according to the district reports, 10 percent of Medford students are homeless. In spite of these challenges, her students are performing well. White introduced the school motto: “Believe It. Achieve It. Reach New Heights.” Under her leadership, attendance has increased from 65 to almost 79 percent. Her students are performing above state standards in English Language Arts (ELA), with economically challenged and English language learners showing double-digit increases. According to the state report card, McLoughlin’s economically disadvantaged students met or exceeded math and science standards at rates above state and comparable-school averages.

White’s colleagues say, “She has done this through systematically aligning the curriculum, looping teachers with students for two years, publishing growth data, emphasizing academic vocabulary, and removing barriers to learning while providing effective, scaffolded supports.”

In addition, she created a summer school program for 250 of her students by partnering with local community groups and foundations. The program features academic supports to mitigate the “summer slump” and provides enrichment opportunities like swimming, arts, field trips, science experiences, and computer instruction.

Many after-school programs are available to students at McLoughlin and supported by four late buses. Her school celebrates National No One Eats Alone Week to build and strengthen social behaviors.

As a former math teacher, White has solid roots in the classroom. She supports her staff by not only offering professional development classes but teaches the classes herself. She applies tactics from programs like Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) and Keeping Learning on Track (KLT) and consistently seeks successful strategies that will benefit her school.

In addition to the school’s celebration assembly, White will be recognized at the annual COSA Conference in Seaside, Oregon, in June, and is qualified for the National Middle School Principal of the Year award, to be announced in Washington, DC, in the fall.

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