I've had four very different children go through Portola in the last decade. They each were able to not only find their own academic successes, but they navigated the difficult social world while dealing with their own personal changes. There were definitely some bumps in the road along the way, but their teachers were very accessible and helpful. I feel very fortunate that my children were able to go to such a diverse and challenging middle school. Not only did it prepare them well for high school, but it created a strong foundation for college.
I don't think you can get a more diverse student population with learning differences: the campus houses a highly gifted magnet, an Academy of Integrated Arts and Technology (serving gifted and twice-exceptional students), special ed students, traditional honors students and traditional students.
Dr. McClay is an exceptional principal, who listens thoughtfully and considers students first. She engages parents and will answer questions. Dr. McClay seems to be a good manager who also works well with her staff.
The teachers and administrators focus on character in their students. The school culture and diversity encourage such understanding and tolerance: the campus houses a highly gifted magnet, an Academy of Integrated Arts and Technology (serving gifted and twice-exceptional students), special ed students, traditional honors students and traditional students.
Portola is a fantastic school with a wonderful and caring principal who truly cares about the students. She has also done a lot to create more of a community feeling at the school over the last two years. The teaching staff is wonderful. My kids have had some of the most talented and fantastic teachers and have received a terrific education. Mrs. Miller, the honors/gifted coordinator truly takes care of the students' needs. She is kind, caring, and goes above and beyond the call of duty. It's a wonderful school community.
I am a student currently attending Portola Middle School. All in all, that school isn't a good fit for many people. Yes, it's a MAGNET school and it has all those Honors classes, but that doesn't mean a thing. I was new there in 7th grade, and unless you've got extremely high social skills, a friend attending there, or extremely pretty, you're bound to be a loner there. I HATE that school. The honors coordinater, Susie Miller, she doesn't pay care, along with the counselors. The counselors are either never there or too busy to talk to you. The teachers are okay. The music teacher is too judgemental. If you've got a choice, I suggest that you don't go here. If you're not in MAGNET, they are mean to yoU. I warned you.
This is our 1st year at the school and I love it so far. I believe it is one of the best schools around. Parent involvement is wonderful. The kids in the Highly Gifted Magnet are adequately challenged but not overwhelmed.