For 2006-2007, the school academic progress place it with an Academic Performance Index of 710 base with 720 growth, where 800 is the California state goal. The school boasted itself as being #1 in API compared to other surrounding schools in its November 2007 edition of its newsletter. For October 2005, the demographic makeup of the student body consisted of 36% Hispanic, 31% Black, 24% Filipino, 3% White.
The O'Farrell Way is a set of rules:
Hillary Clinton also mentions the O'Farrell way extending beyond these rules that also includes the graduation requirement of time for community service. However, the graduation requirement actually fits under The O'Farrell Standard which is just an award and recognition issued for those who have essentially accomplished (1) good academic performance, (2) portfolio compilation, (3) presentation of the portfolio, (4) 12 hours of community service equally distributed at home, work, school; (5) good citizenship The O'Farrell Way all of which were mentioned in the school's charter proposal.
The school is known to use a social structure called a Educational Family, but students use term Family. The faculty of the family taught interdisciplinary subjects. For example, one teacher taught history in combination of biology while another teacher taught Spanish in combination of dance. The family structure was introduced in the 1990s and more connected to newer branded O'Farrell Community School than older O'Farrell Junior High School.
It is organized in such a way one set of families serve the 6th grade then another set of families serve both 7 and 8 grade students simultaneously, especially the first class of the day is called homebase. Associated close with the letters are a name of a broad theme for example: I for Inspirations; E for Exceeders; F for Fantastics; D for Discovery; A for Achievers.
In later years, the school designated its families as Family 1, Family 2, ..., Family 6 with newer names such as "Great Force" for Family 5 and "Horizon Explorers" for Family 6.