This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Gaspar De Portola Middle School5
Posted September 30, 2014
- a parent
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.
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!
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.