Borel opened on April 11, 1929, as an elementary school with 150 students and 4 teachers. The school was named in honor of Antoine Borel, a San Mateo community leader.
In 1939, Borel became the first intermediate school (grades 7 and 8) in San Mateo. Since 1929, Borel has had fourteen principals: Ellen Gassenberg (1929-1938); Winifred Burke (1938-1939); Daniel Cooper (1939-1942); Warren Natwick (1942-1945); John Hiler (1945-1963); Gene Hall (1964-1965); Dr. William Kramer (1965-1976); David Schooley (1976-1981); Dr. Susan Hearn (1981-1985); Paul Grippa (1985-1986); Clathel Zach (1986-2006); John Cosmos (2006-2013); Connie Cirimeli (2013 - 2015); Kenyetta Cook (2015 - present).
The original main building was completed in 1929. The Home Arts building and the gymnasium were added in the 1940’s and four classroom wings were added in the 1950’s. The “new” main building was opened in September 1969.
During the 1991-93 school years, our present lunch court, kitchen facilities and two handicapped bathrooms were built with monies from the Measure C bond. New turf lawn and a blacktop were installed in the summer of 1993. All new student desks and chairs were installed during the 1995-96 school year, the first widespread purchase of new furniture in at least a decade.
Borel contains regular classrooms, a complete library/information center as well as facilities for music, art, science labs, computers and other technologies. The Home Arts Building, the oldest building on our campus, was remodeled in 1999. The Home Arts Building now houses our physical education locker rooms, weight room, physical education offices and equipment storage space.
With the use of California State Modernization funds and local school bond monies, Borel underwent modernization from June 1999 until September 2000. New heating, ventilation and air conditioning were installed. Wiring was brought up to date to accommodate computers, provide Internet access and cable TV school wide. Improvements included seismic upgrades, handicapped access, Internet access, plumbing, paving and painting as well as a new gym floor, stage and ceiling lights. Parent volunteers landscaped the front of the school.
The majority of students attending Borel come from the following elementary schools: Baywood, Highlands, Park and Sunnybrae. We receive students from nearly all other elementary schools in our district as well. The majority of our eighth graders will attend high school at Aragon, San Mateo and Hillsdale High Schools. Our mascot is the Bobcat, and our colors are blue and white.
Our students have distinguished themselves in the areas of scholarship and citizenship. The United States Department of Education selected Borel Middle School as one of 202 schools in the nation to be honored in the 1983/84 Secondary School Recognition Program. During the 1995-96 school year, the State of California recognized Borel as a California Distinguished School. In 2007, Borel’s scored 804 on the API, breaking the 800 state target mark for the first time in the No Child Left Behind era. Achievement levels continue to rise as our 2012 API score is 832.
In 2007, Borel was the recipient of a United States Department of Education Federal Magnet Grant to assist our school in the implementation of the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program. In March of 2011, Borel was notified by IB America of its official authorization as an IB World School. We are now in the sixth year of incorporating the IB-MYP as our magnet theme. Through the IB-MYP, we continue to strive towards excellence in an effort to prepare students for an ever-changing and increasingly interrelated world. We transitioned from IB-MYP program in 2018.
The CA Department of Education recognizes outstanding educational programs and practices each year. Borel received the Golden Ribbon Distinguished School Award in the spring of 2017 for our work with collaboration and connecting student learning to the real world. Borel also earned the CA Distinguished School Honor Award in 2019.