Porter High School is designed in Small Learning Communities to better serve students. In the last fifty years, the average size of high schools has changed from having fewer than 1,000 students to now having over 1,700 students. Research overwhelmingly supports the notion that students in kindergarten through high school are more successful when they attend small schools. In fact, smaller learning environments positively affect grades, test scores, attendance rates, graduation rates, and school safety. Moreover, smaller, more personalized learning structures seem to provide the setting for other high school reforms, perhaps because change is easier to implement in a smaller setting.
A Small Learning Community (SLC), also referred to as a School-Within-A-School, is a form of school structure that is increasingly common in secondary schools to subdivide large school populations into smaller, autonomous groups of students and teachers. The primary purpose of restructuring secondary schools into SLCs is to create a more personalized learning environment to better meet the needs of students. Each community will share the same teachers and student members from grade to grade. Porter High School is designed on the Career Academy Model. This type of SLC is a four year structure developed around a career theme or Career Clusters. This structure is characterized by career-related electives and integration of career themes across entire academic curriculum. The career themes are based on current research from the community and the trends in the most popular careers. The research overwhelmingly supports this concept and PHS is divided into three "houses," or small learning communities. They are: Engineering, The Arts, and Business and Criminal Justice.