Portola Hills Elementary School is an amazing educational facility. It has some of the best teachers in the world and it's PTA involvement and membership is off the charts which enables us to have incredible, music, art and dance available to the children. The principal is above and beyond involved with the kids. He is always seen interacting with them and has been known to play his guitar at many assemblies. I love this school. Both of my children attend and I would highly recommend it to anyone in the area.
Last year was our first year there and we LOVE LOVE LOVE it there I have two older children in private school and I am telling you this school is just as good actually better. We were blessed enough to get Mrs. L for kindergarten and I /we could not have been any happier with all aspects of the school. Including the office staff, even the times I would forget to call my child in sick they would always call me to check in and they were never nasty always caring and kind! And as many times as I would forget I gave them every right to get a little snippy but they never did, bless there hearts! They have a tough job but they do it with heart and soul along with all the teachers and yard duty staff. Thank you Portola School we are looking forward to coming back this year! Oh and academically my son has grown by leaps and bounds, which has exceeded our expectations. We had every intention of moving him over to a private school but not now we will stay her all the way through 6th grade!
My son will be entering 3rd grade in the fall and has been attending since kindergarten. Thus far, we have been very pleased with PHE. We have been impressed with each of his teachers and the level of education he has received. Parent support is awesome and the TLC child-care program has been a blessing. I would certainly like the class sizes to be smaller, but that is simply not an option due to the continued cuts to education. But from what I have witnessed, strong, seasoned teachers who have control of their classrooms are able to manage the larger class sizes (along with support from parents assisting in the class). PHE has a FT librarian and computer lab and has a wonderful arts program. I do wish that there be a science-focused program implemented, one in which the children could enter projects in a science fair type situation. I definitely recommend PHE!
I was just promoted to seventh grade from Portola, and I enjoyed each and every year here. All of my teachers were wonderful and offered the best education. The GATE program is good also; there are certain subjects that we are put in special groups to learn more difficult things. I feel like we were prepared for junior high, because the teachers told us what to expect, and they taught us above and beyond so we could know a little extra. To add on to the great curriculum, many of my teachers taught manners to the students. I loved Portola Hills, and I recommend sending your child here.
As a parent with two kids at PHE, one of whom is in an SDC class and the other mainstreamed with limited support, we have been thrilled with the curriculum and teacher dedication to it. Having come from a well regarded private school (regular ed), we found that the academic standards were actually much higher at PHE. I was in GATE my whole academic life and never found it to be much of a distinction from what my brother encountered in the regular classroom. My son's class had 28 students and his teacher knew every quirk, strength and area of interest my son had. I was shocked at how much she could recall about everything from his social habits, study skills, areas of weakness, etc. If he needed to work on holding the pencil differently, she knew it. She could recall which letters he most frequently wrote backward, etc. The special ed teacher was the same, and due to IEP standards, had charts of his behavior and perentages of goals achieved, etc. I have been in OC public schools my whole life as a student teacher, student and parent and I cannnot imagine a better school anywhere. I have heard Irvine schools are even more demanding, but unless you want to move, stick with PHE!!
Not sure why this school get rated what it does..but it goes to show you the ratings are nothing more than numbers...in actuality, the students are not being challenged to their highest potential..there is no development for each child to have growth..its just the standard memorize this and move on. Gate is a joke. Just harder spelling words and more math problems..nothing to challenge the development and intellectual ability of advanced students.
I agree with the other parent regarding GATE program at PHE. Even though the school and SVUSD says GATE students at PHE are placed in a GATE cluster class, it is not true. There is no such thing as a GATE cluster class in PHE. GATE students are randomnly placed in all classes so each teacher (GATE or non-GATE teacher) will have few GATE students in their class. So if you can, place your child in a GATE SDC school rather than at PHE. PHE is a great school if your child is non-GATE.
I was totally disappointed with this school. There was little educational support of my child's cognitive development. In addition, I found that I would spend a vast majority of time teaching basic concepts that my child should have learned within his classroom. I would definitely not recommend this school based on this alone. Education should be supportive of children and allow for the continual development of the child; however this was totally absent from the environment within this school.
If your child is gifted, consider moving elsewhere outside this attendance area like Valencia Elementary. GATE is running on fumes at PHE and essentially is little more than a label. Class sizes in 2011 are about 30 students per teacher. In fact the SVUSD's entire web site is outdated with information regarding GATE and you really have to push to get information from any of the schools. Expect to get a lot of terse, almost rude replies and the feeling of being a pest.