Educating Students with Pride at Brand New Portola High School
November 17, 2016

Irvine Unified School District is celebrating a new addition to its highly acclaimed school system. Portola High School, located near the Villages of Irvine, kicked off its inaugural fall semester this August and is already upholding its promise to serve the local community. Conveniently located close to Portola Springs neighborhoods, Portola High School provides an array of amenities for students and faculty, including a high-tech video production studio and multiple science labs. The sprawling campus spans across 43 acres with an impressive athletic department that includes eight tennis courts, two softball fields and Olympic-sized aquatics center. On top of these features, Portola High School hosts a variety of extracurricular activities, clubs and other academic offerings to ensure students stay well-rounded and on-track for a successful future.

Newly opened in 2016, Portola High School welcomed the Class of 2020 as its first group of students. The school plans on adding a new class each year, which will fully encompass grades 9-12 by the 2019-2020 school year. Working with HMC Architects over a period of 30 months, Portola High School was built from the ground up, showcasing contemporary design and cutting-edge tech spaces. In conjunction with full Wi-Fi capability, Portola High School incorporates flexible, nesting furniture that can readily transform indoor and outdoor locations into active learning spaces.

When it comes to campus culture, Portola High School adheres to its model of Bulldog PRIDE (Perseverance, Respect, Integrity, Drive, Empathy) in day-to-day activities for both students and staff. Demonstrating a curriculum that revolves around “Learning Outcomes,” the constituents at Portola High School are focused on creating a well-rounded community. More specifically, coursework is delineated to create “Capable Creators, Communicators and Contributors,” that will make a significant impact.

Portola High School furthers personal growth among its students by encouraging students to participate in a “Senior Passion Project.” This consists of seniors at Portola High School creating a proposal that outlines an approach and solution to a unique, community-based issue. The student will have the opportunity to present his or her proposal to a panel of experts who specialize in the field of study, whether it be the arts, academia or business.

To further communication and collaboration among students and faculty, Portola High School’s curriculum includes dedicated meetings with teachers for professional development, goal-setting and tutoring. Students at Portola High School get an enriched education in an array of math, science and literary courses. Curriculum outlines a range of math and science programs, including Honors Algebra and earth sciences. Comprehensive reading and writing programs, including college prep and honors courses, are devised to train students in critical thinking, public speaking and a breadth of literary arts. Portola High School also provides students with an in-depth look at social sciences with a focus on world history and cultural studies.

Leading the way for a future of success, Principal John Pehrson arrives at Portola High School by way of acclaimed University High School in Irvine, where he served for 10 fruitful years. The local community celebrated the opening of Portola High School with a groundbreaking ceremony. Recounting the exciting celebration, IUSD School Board President Sharon Wallin commented, “It was the perfect opportunity for all of us at the district to mark the special day and to honor the many people who were committed to the exciting vision of a new school to benefit families, students, teachers, administrators and all of Irvine for years to come.”

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