Portola High School

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Portola High School
The Portola "P"
1001 Cadence

, ,

United States
Coordinates33°40′23″N 117°42′48″W / 33.672945°N 117.713236°W / 33.672945; -117.713236Coordinates: 33°40′23″N 117°42′48″W / 33.672945°N 117.713236°W / 33.672945; -117.713236
School typeComprehensive high school
Established2016 (2016)
School districtIrvine Unified
NCES District ID0684500
SuperintendentTerry Walker
PrincipalMr. John Pehrson
Grades9, 10, 11, 12
Enrollment~1310 (March 2019)
 • Grade 9~450
 • Grade 10~440
 • Grade 11~420
 • Grade 12N/A
Hours in school day7-7.5 Hours
Campus size43 Acres[1]
Color(s)Purple, Black, Silver[2]
NewspaperPortola Pilot
Last updated: March 3rd, 2019

Portola High School (PHS) is one of five public high schools in the Irvine Unified School District and is located in Irvine, California. The groundbreaking ceremony was held in October 2014 and the school opened in Fall 2016. The campus is situated on 42[3] acres of land and can accommodate approximately 2,600 students.[4] The school mascot is the Bulldog.

Neighborhoods served[edit]

Students residing primarily in the northeastern area of the Irvine Unified School District attend Portola. Portola's geographical boundary covers the second largest surface area in the district, behind only that of University High School. Neighborhoods served include:[5]

  • IUSD portions of the Great Park Neighborhoods
  • Lambert Ranch
  • Los Olivos
  • Parasol Park
  • Pavilion Park
  • Portola Springs
  • Stonegate
  • Woodbury
  • Oak Creek
  • Orangetree

Student body[edit]

The school opened in fall 2016 with 400 9th-grade students.[6] In each successive year, a new grade level will be added, 9th and 10th grade students attending in 2017–2018, grades 9–11 in 2018–2019, and grades 9–12 starting in the 2019–2020 school year.


Portola's campus is located on land formerly occupied by the Irvine Ranch and Marine Corps Air Station El Toro.[7] It was constructed to meet criteria established by the Collaborative for High Performance Schools.[4]

Site map of Portola High School

Volatile organic compounds were detected in soil gas samples in 2014,[8][9] but on May 19, 2016, the Portola High School site was declared safe by the California Department of Toxic Substance Control.[10]

Physical features[edit]

PHS contains specialized buildings outside of normal classrooms. These features come in part from IUSD's Ed Spec standards.[11]

Innovation Lab[edit]

The Innovation Lab is run through the staff in the library (aka. the Student Commons) and contains multiple methods and machines to produce products using multiple formats such as plastic, metal, wood, etc.


The school is laid out in groups of buildings:[7]

  • VAPA Arts
  • Theater
  • Stadium and associated buildings
  • Science Building
  • Math Building
  • English and foreign language classes
  • Administration and food services

(Note: Some groups are omitted due to lack of occupied classrooms in sections)

Classroom building groups are linked on the second story by walkways.

Many spaces have multiple uses; the cost savings allowed for construction of the theater, stadium, and aquatics center in the first phase rather than in a later expansion.[7]

All academic buildings are numbered with four digits, the first two of which represent the building group and range from 1 to a number in the 10s. The third number is either 0 or 1, for a ground-level room, or 5 or 6, for a room on the second level.

The middle of each floor in the building contains a student collaboration area with multiple arrangements of seating, a projector, whiteboards, and whiteboard tables. This space can be used both for quiet work and for collaboration between classes.

Student Union and lunch areas[edit]

The Student Union is an indoor area used for lunch and small events. Outside, tables form a "quad" where students can eat and converse. However, students are free to roam through the campus to eat during lunch, provided there is sufficient supervision.

Learning Commons[edit]

The Learning Commons functions as the school library, containing databases that students can use for research as well as multimedia resources including two TVs, and also providing study space.[12] It is separated from the Student Union by a retractable glass wall; they can be combined to provide space for events.[7]


The 720-seat theater holds an advanced A/V setup with wireless audio, manual and automatic lighting, orchestra pit, and a full stage. The seating areas are split between two floors. The building, along with a normal theater with stadium seating, contains a black box theatre for specialized uses.


The school uses an eight-period, alternating block schedule plus one day a week on which all courses meet for a short period.[3]


Portola offers academic programs spanning Social Science, English, VAPA, Science, and more with CP, H, and AP programs. The most recent program and class list can be found at https://portolahigh.iusd.org/counseling/course-information/phs-course-offerings


Portola High School's athletic teams, known as the Bulldogs, compete in the California Interscholastic Federation/Southern Section. Portola participates in the following sports:

Student life[edit]

House system[edit]

Lacking a traditional inter-class competitiveness, the Portola staff established a house system. There are four houses, which compete for points: Orion, Poseidon, Hercules, and Pegasus. The ASB of Portola is charged with creating and hosting competitions and events which give students the opportunity to earn house points.


The Portola News Network, or PNN, releases a bi-weekly news show that is shown in advisement on Tuesday to inform students on events around the school as well as spotlight on students, teachers, and clubs by forming stories.[13]

Portola Pilot[edit]

The Portola Pilot is the school's newspaper. It publishes its papers bi-monthly and is free to students.


The 1:1 Chromebook Program provides each student at the school with a free Chromebook.[14] This system allows teachers and students to incorporate new teaching and learning elements in the classroom with equal accessibility to all students.


Best of the Best K-12 Education Award - California - January 30, 2018[15]

Best of the Best K-12 Education Award - National - January 30, 2018[15]


  1. ^ https://www.cwdriver.com/c-w-driver-announces-completion-portola-high-school-irvine/
  2. ^ http://phs.iusd.org/bulldogs/
  3. ^ a b "Portola High School: School Accountability Report Card. Reported Using Data from the 2016-17 School Year" (PDF). Irvine Unified School District. January 21, 2018. Retrieved October 9, 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Facilities Planning and Construction: Portola High School". Irvine Unified School District. Retrieved October 9, 2018.
  5. ^ "Portola High School Q&A" (PDF). Irvine Unified School District. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-08-15.
  6. ^ Tomoya Shimura (August 25, 2016). "New $300 million Portola High School opens in Irvine to 400 freshmen". The Orange County Register.
  7. ^ a b c d "Leading-Edge Learning for a Fast-Growing City". HMC Architects. Retrieved October 9, 2018.
  8. ^ Alex Chan (March 11, 2016). "State orders more soil testing at Portola High". Daily Pilot. Los Angeles Times.
  9. ^ Eileen Frere (March 23, 2016). "Irvine residents concerned about future Portola High School site". KABC-TV.
  10. ^ Sarah De Crescenzo (May 21, 2016). "State toxics agency: Irvine's Portola High site is safe". The Orange County Register.
  11. ^ "Site Analysis & Conceptual Master Plans" (PDF). Irvine Unified School District. May 30, 2012. Retrieved October 9, 2018.
  12. ^ "Learning Commons". Portola High School. 2018-01-31. Retrieved 2018-04-15.
  13. ^ "Portola High - Irvine Unified School District". iusd.tv. Retrieved 2018-04-14.
  14. ^ "1:1 Chromebook Program". Portola High School. 2018-02-07. Retrieved 2018-04-14.
  15. ^ a b "Portola High School Receives Best of the Best K-12 Education Award". IUSD.org. 2018-01-30. Retrieved 2018-04-16.

External links[edit]