Portfolios in this high school process can mean different things to different schools. For example, what LaGuardia wants in a portfolio (detailed info is on their website) is remarkably different than what Beacon wants in a portfolio (info for that is on their website as well). 

A quick aside - most high schools, except for arts based programs, don’t ask for portfolios and are quite clear in what they’re looking for when it comes to admission. 

But, what’s similar is that at the end of the day, is the onus is usually on parents to pull it all together. Some schools help in some ways but many don’t. And that goes for portfolios that have school work submissions in them as well. My own experience: one middle school gave my child a packet of graded work at the end of 7th grade in case she needed a piece going forward, my other child’s school didn’t. In fact he had so little graded work that it was a struggle to find something.

7th grade families: hold onto work this year! You might need it. 8th grade families: if you’re stuck, ask a teacher to help out if they can.