Reopening brings latest features to diverse school
Portland Public Schools celebrates the reopening of Leodis McDaniel High School, a fully modernized 21-century learning environment for the former Madison High School campus in northeast Portland. Historical photo of Mr. McDaniel is on right. PHOTO BY MARK WASHINGTON
Editor's note: This story has been updated to show that the McDaniel High School grand opening ceremony will take place Saturday, Sept. 18 at 11 a.m. The public is invited to attend and tour the school with masks required under public health guidelines during the coronavirus pandemic.
A fully modernized McDaniel High School reopened at the former Madison High School campus in northeast Portland on Sept. 2.
A special grand opening ceremony will take place Saturday, Sept. 18 at 11 a.m. The public is invited to attend and tour the school with masks required under public health guidelines during the coronavirus pandemic. The school is ushering in a new 21st-century learning environment for a very diverse student population, with new facilities, programs and opportunities for success.
The fully remodeled 296,000 square foot campus features over 170,000 square feet of new construction, including two theatres, two gyms, and a student commons that serves as the heart of the new school.
McDaniel High was designed through a multi-year planning and design effort that gathered the ideas of hundreds of staff, students, and community stakeholders.
Students in the newly modernized McDaniel can access specialty labs for digital design, engineering, robotics, digital art, biomedical, sculpture, construction, and sustainable agriculture, in addition to a brand-new maker space. Plus, the school has dedicated facilities for the community including a child care center, public health clinic, and community food pantry.
Madison was one of two Portland high schools to go through a re-naming process in response to student and community concerns about the racist beliefs and actions of the U.S. presidents they were named for. The effort was started by Madison students who wanted a school name that reflected the values of their community.
The Madison Renaming Committee engaged the school and larger communities through robust outreach efforts, gathering nearly 2,500 comments. After careful consideration, Leodis V. McDaniel was selected as the new name.
McDaniel was a greatly respected, and well-loved Portland community leader who gained an impeccable reputation as an administrator at Madison High School in the 1970s and 1980s. He was one of only a handful of Black High school principals in Oregon in the 1980s and was tasked with leading Madison through desegregation and busing. McDaniel embraced these challenges as he did all of his work with the singular purpose of fairness to all.
School leaders said McDaniel was wildly popular with students and staff while earning numerous awards and accolades from the many community organizations to which he contributed.