We had a rough first year at Korematsu and decided to find a safer alternative. Our bright and gentle child was verbally and physically harassed on a daily basis. I do believe the administration tries to manage the issues at hand, but the communication between staff, admin, and parents is poor at best.
There are a few inspired teachers- but the head count is high, and often trouble goes unnoticed. P.E. is a nightmare.
There are a handful of inspired teachers with excellent lesson plans, but there are simply too many kids per class for effective education. There is also a number of teachers who have simply checked out, or use aggressive behavior to control their classroom.
I'm a 7th grade student, and I just started going to Portola. Even though we are in portables due to the construction of a new building in a different location and we are not Portola anymore, we are KOREMATSU!! The teachers are awesome and understanding, we have the best school librarian in the world along with our principal. it's a safe environment for everybody to learn
Yes. Students are held accountable for their actions, and there is not a lot of favoritism. Many teachers use the socratic method, and this helps kids relate to each other and see each other as equals. Also, the adults on campus are trained and sensitive to the extreme socio-economic range, so effectively avoid presenting challenges that automatically give richer kids a leg up.
We’re unexpectedly happy with this school. We were skeptical and even applied for a transfer to another District, but after months of form-dogging and not getting it, we decided to make the best of it. Our daughter thrived, and the school’s diverse student body, along with a handful of incredible teachers had a lot to do with it. Not every teacher is stellar to be sure, but she learned valuable lessons about how to deal with less-than-perfect leaders. Yes, there were moments of frustration. But she has also made some incredible and unexpected achievements and breakthroughs in writing, analysis, speaking, and algebra. My only regret is that she’s not part of the outstanding and very cool band program….
So summing, this school isn’t perfect, but it is good. It is repeatedly and dishonestly used in a political game by a lot of people who don’t have kids in the system any more. The excellent principal has a firm hold on the tone and culture. It has the most socio-economically diverse student body anywhere, and as parents, we’re proud of our daughter for seeing how rich this makes her.
My daughter is in her second year at KMS and she is thriving. She is very social and outgoing and has made many friends, most of whom come over to our house after school. We go through a lot of snacks! They are all nice kids and some of them are taking 9th grade math at the high school while in 8th grade at KMS. The class sizes are large but she's is thriving academically and tells me how much she enjoys her advanced history class. Her advanced English class seems engaging and challenging. She's not crazy about P.E. but I have yet to meet a middle school student that likes changing for P.E. Overall, she's having a good experience. This is our second child to go here and our oldest has done extremely well at El Cerrito High. The principal is wonderful and has encouraged her. He is very supportive of all the student.
It is hard to rate Portola because the quality varies greatly from one teacher to the next. In math, you might as well leave your child alone with his book and computer to figure all out by himself, but you might have a very positive experience with the English class. Parent perspective on school quality in WCCUSD is skewed by the many underperforming schools in the district. Portola ends up being a better choice than others, but that is not saying much. If you have a child and must live in the WCCUSD, this middle school is located in a safe neighborhood, and despite all, has a very good principal at this time. The band teacher is very active. It is probably the best thing about this school. They just changed the school's name to Korematsu Middle. A more meaningful change would have been to reelect all the school board members in WCCUSD, especially those who have lingered on for too long due to their political ambitions, not because they care to serve the children. Land deals and profits from expensive building projects govern WCCUSD. A good area to live in if you own a large construction company and want to get rich fast, not if you have school age children.
Portola Middle is disorganized and the leadership is poor and unable to inspire real improvement. While this school boasts itself as a diverse community, the reality is that students and staff are not treated equally. Teacher quality varies widely and teachers are not supervised properly. I question the safety of the students at Portola. The local police officer that works at Portola is often seen playing basketball or football with the kids instead of supervising the school. There appears to be a lack of supervision overall. The image of Portola as a great school is merely an image.