The school derives its name from John McLoughlin (1784-1857), who was the chief agent of the Columbia Fur District of the Hudson’s Bay Company at Fort Vancouver. He came to be known as the “Father of Oregon” for his role in assisting the American cause in Oregon Country at a time when it was occupied by both Britain and the U.S. His general store in Oregon City became the famous last stop on the Oregon Trail.
McLoughlin Middle School was first known as Pasco Junior High and was renamed when the new school, Stevens Junior High, opened in about 1963. The previous McLoughlin school building is now Pasco City Hall and was Pasco High before that. Former school board vice president Bill Leggett is a former McLoughlin principal; he opened the new school in 1982. As John McLoughlin was a notable figure in the Pacific Northwest’s formative years, so, too, is McLoughlin Middle School a notable school in Pasco. Each year, upwards of 700 people are drawn to visit the school’s Vision of Hope Museum. All 8th grade students read and study the Diary of Anne Frank in their language arts classes and then devote their energies to a project from that time period. Their work results in a collection of models, quilts, slideshow presentations and other creations that are put on display for visitors.
McLoughlin Middle School offers an AVID program that helps students develop the skills and the knowledge necessary to be successful at the middle school, high school, and college level. The school is also home to an award-winning MESA team and the District's Two-Way Dual Language middle school program, whose students become bilingual and biliterate in both Spanish and English. McLoughlin also is implementing a program named Character Strong.