This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Portola Junior High School4
Posted October 29, 2014
- a parent
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.
We are so pleased with our up-and-coming middle school! We have a dynamic, engaged principal who is 100% present on campus and behind the scenes. Under his wonderful leadership, we see a welcoming, positive student culture where all students feel at home. My daughter had a great two years here, and is prepared for high school academically, and (perhaps more importantly), she is prepared emotionally. We love the diversity of Portola, the heterogenous classes, and the involved parent community.
We are happy at this school. This is our second year here, and we notice that LOTS of kids from our elementary school are enrolled this year, and all the kids at the school seem sweet and welcoming. We are looking forward to another great year!
With the new campus set to be opened during the 2015-16 school year, and the temporary campus getting love from parents, teachers, and students, there is a really positive vibe at Portola. Well-loved programs like band, math club, Writer Coach Connection, drama, and leadership are going strong. Plus new programs like chess club, after school language programs, and the dual-immersion Spanish-English program are taking off. Teachers will be getting additional support and training this year from a Scholar-In-Residence. Though the diversity of the campus creates challenges to educate and care for children with different backgrounds and needs, it is also a boon for my child who gets to experience many different cultures and perspectives. Despite the hard work ahead to insure a high quality education for every single child who attends, this is a school on the right track. My student is proud to attend her neighborhood middle school!
I am so delighted in how the effects of Parent participation have changed the energy of this school year. My hopes are that the teachers will be able to focus on our children without the worries of the economy. Portola is now a safer school with the help of Portola Parents. Our Principal is very much supportive and supported.