It's a pretty good school, compared to many other schools in the area, but the current principal is sometimes a little harsh and impatient. Overall, the curriculum is pretty good, except their common core math is kind of slow and tedious, teaching simple things below grade level, and repeating it over and over. The teachers, and especially the office staff are comparably friendly.
My son will be attending Portal for the 3rd year, and I couldn't be happier. I am always impressed with the projects they complete in class. I know that he is getting a great foundation for future learning.
I have 2 kids in this school (1 passing out this year) and I love it. The multi age village system is very good for the kids. They get to grow in the same familiar environment for 2 years; first year as a younger resident with many older kids helping and guiding them and the next year they take on the role of the guide. I haven't heard of any bullying etc. which can be a concern in a multi-age class. I love Project Cornerstone. Teachers go the extra mile with academics and school plays. I did not feel the need to send my kids' to extra academic training outside of school. 2 Parent-Teacher conference every academic-year is great as compared to only 1 in other schools. I wish they had the gifted-kids program & spell-bee/geography-bee/math-Olympiad/science-fair/ elocution/ debate kind of competitions. School used to have after-school Hindi etc. classes, don't know why its been discontinued. I like their band program too. The parents get many opportunities to volunteer, be it in class or field-trip. Overall the school is doing a wonderful job.
I was little worried about my daughter when she got admission to Portal School because of she being the youngest in the class. But with the support of teacher I could see the immense change in her in a year. Love the way they teach and motivate kids to learn and even motivate parents in participating in all the activities that occur. And one best thing I liked is the way they keep note of each and everything the child does. I always get a note for what my child did in each subject. For example; During sharing time what all my child spoke all points were noted down and handed over to us. The conclusion is that the best school with best teachers.
Overall, I think this is good school. My daughter has been there for some years and the new principal feels like a good leader. I think she does not want it to be as academic oriented as it used to be and I welcome that because it seemed like it was getting too academic and the scores were most important and it was not about the school experience. Just my opinion. I wish there was a gifted program for kids because I feel my child can do more, but isn't always allowed to move further ahead. But I like the school and she has a great time.
The multi-age, village based learning environments are just one of the few reasons Murdock Portal is such a great school. It has year round academic calendar aimed to ensure that students retain more as they grow... and some of the homework is project-based letting them use their own creativity and collaboration with parents. The Principal is deeply committed and is a constant presence in most of the activities. The teachers regularly communicate with the parents through emails and blogs and that keeps the parents well-informed all the time. The PTA (PSCO) manages quite a few activities throughout the year including Lunch Clubs, Enrichment Programs and Instructional Aids just to name a few. Overall, Murdock Portal Elementary is a great combination of an effective learning program, efficient teachers and steady leadership of the Principal.