Portola has an AMAZING academic record and is a great place to go to. The drama teacher Mr. Richardson teaches the students very well while they still have fun. The yearbook advisor, Mr. Kowalick, leads the yearbook staff in a good direction into making our great award winning yearbook! Some great teachers at this school are: Mr. Kowalick (6th grade honors english & history), Ms. Coda (7th grade honors english), Mr. Richardson (drama), Mr. Aeen (creative writing & 6th grade teacher), Mrs. Gutierrez (7th grade honors math), Mr. Lyman (P.E for all grades), Mr. Baker (P.E. for all grades) and PLENTY more! The teachers (from my experience) except 1 all taught me well and made sure i enjoyed my time. The campus is nice and leadership provides contests and music on fridays during lunch. The afterschool program also is great if you would like to put your child in it. This is one amazing school. The ONLY reason why you would hate this school is because there are some stuck up rude people in school you have to ignore, and that you just had some bad teachers :) I hope every good student who needs a good middle school will attend here and learn plenty!
Our son attends the Portola HGM Magnet and we are all pleased. The transition from elementary school to this school was a little rocky at first but now he is smooth sailing! The teachers are always challenging him and he is thriving in this rigorous program. He is in 6th grade and we are blessed that this school is available.Mrs. Olson, Mrs. Garcia is a wonderful magnet coordinator and works very hard for all for our students. The campus is clean and the office staff is friendly.He has lots of friends. The principal, Dr. McClay is very welcoming and keeps us all informed at what is going on in the school. Awesome!!! Mrs. Shah...science program jammed packed with cool things to do...Awesome!!! Mrs. Olson...English taught by the finest.....Awesome!!!Mrs. Caulkins...What an amazing music teacher.....Awesome!!! Mr. Atamian... Thanks for getting him moving!!!Mr. Stevenson... Thank you for all the Great History Lessons...Mrs. Toborowski...Thank you too..GREAT AMAZING MAGNET!!
I have to say that I am sorry my daughter is graduating now that there is a competent Principal in place. Dr. McClay has brought structure to a school that was a disgrace before with Ms. Shaha. There is now a good band, orchestra, even school plays with professional acting coaches ! Dr. McClay is just wonderful and if she would go to a high school, I would have my child follow ! There is still work to be done with some of the teachers competence, but she is on top of it I am sure.
Portola is good if you're in the Highly Gifted Magnet, and the magnet kids are all friends with each other because the magnet has only about 240 kids. As for my experience? Excruciating. I'm in honors, and most kids in the honors program here are very stuck up and cliquish. It's so hard to make friends here because it's such a huge school for a middle school. I had a friend but she moved to Agoura and is now at Lindero Canyon Middle School. Unless you know kids at Portola from your elementary school, you won't make friends from day one. The math and science honors teachers are so lazy. The school, unlike Millikan, S.O.C.E.S and many other middle schools, has a very mediocre drama program. The instructor does not put on any real plays or musicals because he lets the kids make re-enditions of them, thinking that 12-13 year olds can write plays! I have been in so much agony these past 3 years. I got bullied twice in 6th grade. The homework amount is ridiculous for pre-teens. This was good when my mom attended it, but now it's for the birds. I can't wait to graduate in 3 months and have a better experience in high school, at Calabasas or El Camino, which have amazing programs. :)
This school is the BEST! The adults all know my name, yet it is my first year at Portola. I am a sixth grader in the Magnet program. The new principal knows my name, both ladies in the main office, and most of the yard aids. This school has a strict no bullying policy, so the school is bully-free. There is the occasional bullying, but that can usually end up in detention, paper-pickup, or suspension. We have a 30 minute drive every day, but it is worth it. I would definitely recommend this school to anyone and everyone who asks, "What school do you think I should go to?" BEST SCHOOL EVER!
GPMS is a good school, our child has been in this school for 1 year , from mid 7th-8th, and has no complains so far.
I would give this school zero star if I could. The worst middle school honors program in the valley. Unless you are in the HG magnet, stay away from this school !!!
This school does not prepare students adequately for high school. Even in the honors program, my straight A son could not pass a take home test my neighbor's son had from his school. Over the years, we have been disappointed overall with the quality of the teachers and the principal, and now there is a fair comparison of how prepared my son REALLY is. The new principal seems to have a strong impact on the teachers as there is a definite change in atmosphere (for the better ! ) but I fear it is too late for my son to feel any change in the teaching levels. Overall, the academics here is not very challenging - I'd like to believe my boy is very smart - he gets great grades, but it seems that this is due to the teaching and/or material not being challenging enough. He'd get crushed at a different middle school.
This school may have a great magnet program . My child is an honor student. She is a straight A's student. But the honor class for 7th grader is just poorly taught by bad teachers with silly homework. The work the kids learn in class is below the honor level of other schools. My kid is bored out her mind, student in honor asking silly questions in class and the teachers does not stay with the subject. I am considering changing school or home school my kid. Public school are not teaching her the education she need to prepare for high school. I drive 35 min everyday to this school and feel like its a waste of time and gas. I would not take my kid here if I knew better . The last 5 weeks is just a waste of time. The teacher has not taught anything valuable.
Mr marsh is flat out amazing you could go to him with any problem and its solved in no time flat
The athletic coaches were amazing and they train there players to always win and not to lose
Portala has been wonderful for my daughter. She is in honors. I was worried about her attending such a large school, but I could not be happier with my decision. Socially and academically, she has grown beyond my expectations. I had always considered private school for her high school years, but because of my experience at portola, I may reconsider that decision.
I am very happy so far with the school. The school seems well organized and focused on high achievement.
My children attend the HGM at this school. The teachers are keyed into the different way the children in the program think and learn. They are talented, thought provoking and encourage discussion. The Music program is incredible. Mrs. Calkins is a gift to this school. Mrs. Toborowski and Mr. Okimura clearly have an impact on the students. They challenge the students to think outside their comfort zone. Ms. Garcia, the Dean for the HGM students helps guide both the students and the parents as they navigate through this pivotal time in the students' academic careers. The parent group is aggressive (in a positive way) and truly have a voice in how this school operates. Love it here!!!
I have had multiple children attend this school over the past six years and have always been extremely pleased. I am concerned about the pending change in Principal's as Ms. Shaha was wonderful. She was incredibly responsive and worked closely with my child and her special Ed needs. I find the majority of teachers and other staff to be personable and caring. It is clear there is a lack of funding which would help with more electives and extra curricular activities. My kids have stated they like the campus and the layout, especially my youngest liking the separation of the sixth graders from the older kids. Although there have been problems with some teachers it appears the issues were handled appropriately and in a timely manner. I would (and have) recommend this school to many family members and friends. If every school in LAUSD were operated like Portola the District's image would be greatly enhanced.
I am a parent and contacted the Principal's office after my child told me about the amount of movies being shown in class. I get that movies related to subject matter are appropriate - this is not the case. During last week's CST tests my child watched over 3.5 hours of movies during the school day. That is more than they watch at home in a week! I asked my child about movies in other classes and they made a list of 16 movies they have seen in band, math, science, english and homeroom. Seeing Toy Story, Back to the Future 1, 2 and 3, Thomas the Tank Engine, Mega Mind, Men in Black and several others which had nothing to do with classes is absurd. I never received a call back from the Principal. After repeated calls, I spoke to the assistant Principal who stated that the 3+ hours of movies shown in homeroom was due to the CST tests and he cannot ask homeroom teachers to prepare a plan to entertain the kids during that time. Why not? They are teachers accustomed to preparing lesson plans. I also reminded him that they are not there to entertain the kids, but to teach them. I am sure this fell on deaf ears. There is absolutely no commitment to learning here.
Portola has been an excellent school for my daughter. She has been very happy in the highly gifted magnet - the teachers are imaginative and challenging and her fellow students are great. Her electives and more recent PE courses have been taken with the regular school teachers and students and, though less academically challenging than the magnet courses, she has learned a lot from them and certainly enjoyed the students and teachers. The administration is wonderful. We had issues with some obnoxious boys the first year, but the administration handled that well. I could imagine that some students/parents might have a bad experience at Portola. It is a pretty urban school with a lot of diversity. Parents and students, and teachers for that matter come here with a range of life experiences. That has been a good thing for my daughter, but not without some rough patches - life is all about learning to navigate through those rough patches. This is a good school to learn, not just to navigate through life, but to be challenged and to excel! Portola is an incredible school and my daughter has been well prepared to enter North Hollywood Highly Gifted in the fall.
Great school, great teachers and staff. My child is very happy here and feels very at home. She is in the Honors Program and loves it. It is a big school and there are a lot of choices for her.
This is the worst school ever! The staff are very rude and teachers don't care about students. There is no communication between teacher-parent. If you want your kid to success then don't enroll him/her here : /
This school gets 840 API scores! How bad can the teaching be to have that as the api schoolwide average! The campus is landscaped beautifully. All teachers and the school info can be found on the website for homework assigned and emailing a teacher. The only problem I see is that there needs to be more openings for 7th grade HG magnet students as those that complete the eagle rock HG magnet thru 6th grade have a slim chance getting in to 7th HG magnet. 0ver 25 never got off the waiting list! They are suppose to choose to leave the eagle rock HG magnet early after 5th grade or complete that HG magnet to 6th grade and hope you are one of the top 3 grade wise to get in to the HG magnet at 7th. Disgraceful to have to make that choice and what, the wannabe 7th grade HG magnet kids of eagle rock HG magnet without being the top 3 grade wise should just digress from a HG magnet continuation?
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