Oregon Business Magazine
By Linda Baker
The executive director of Oregon Connections Academy talks about work and play.
What I’m reading
I love reading with my daughter, and we had fun reading Bad Kitty, written by Nick Bruel. For professional growth, I just finished The Principal, written by Michael Fullan. In honor of the late, amazing Pat Summitt, I’ve just started Sum it Up: 1,098 Victories, a Couple of Irrelevant Losses, and a Life in Perspective.
What I’m watching
I don’t have a lot of time for TV, but I do like to keep up on the news, as well as highlights on ESPN’s Sports Center. My family just had a great time at Salem’s Cinebarre theater watching The Secret Life of Pets.
My iPhone, for sure!
Our school just moved to Google Apps for education. Outside of work, the 7-Minute Workout is the last app I downloaded.
Every summer we go camping at the coast with relatives for the entire 4th of July week. We also like to go all out on holidays with decorations and family events. Just having fun with family is our favorite “tradition”!
The sporting life
I love team sports. I was raised by a father who was a college basketball coach — and actually played for him in college. I received all-state honors in volleyball and softball in high school. I now coach my daughter in all of the sports I enjoyed.
No place like…
I have many favorites. I love experiencing new places, soaking up the surroundings and history of wherever I am. As long as I’m with good people, and good food is involved, I can pretty much enjoy anywhere I go.
We recently went to Disneyland. It truly is the most magical place on earth for little kids and even big kids like me. I cannot wait to take our daughter back!
New initiatives underway at Oregon Connections
#OutsideSchoolWalls encourages all Oregon families — regardless of how their students go to school — to use real-life experiences to show how learning can happen anywhere, anytime. Another project focuses on student engagement to assist with academic success. Special sessions are held statewide to help families as they enroll and transition to virtual school, and that support continues throughout the school year.
A memorable moment interacting with a student
Probably the most rewarding event is graduation. After getting to know these students for their duration at ORCA — to learn their struggles, their goals, their life’s experiences — and to see all of their dedication be rewarded as they walk across the stage at graduation is truly a memorable experience.
Online learning trends
One is the growing number of students enrolled in full-time public online schools nationwide. More parents are finding schools like ORCA to be a viable option, where education can be personalized to meet each student’s needs and learning style. Another trend is technology and internet access, like school buses in rural Oregon transformed into mobile Wi-Fi hubs so students can complete schoolwork on long rides to and from school.
A version of this article appears in the September issue of Oregon Business.