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PK-8
Public district
Chicago, IL
Students enrolled: 901
Before care: No
 

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1420 West Grace Street
Chicago, IL 60613

(773) 534-5750
Nearby homes for sale
Map of Blaine Elementary School address.

July 15, 2015
Saw the principal has done another op-ed in the Chicago Tribune. the CPS budget cuts are bad. But maybe he should think about cutting back on the bloated administrative positions: a principal and two vice principals are not required for a school this size. Perhaps his biggest fear is that budget cuts may require him to actually do his job as principal instead of having taxpayers fund his political aspirations.

- submitted by a parent

June 24, 2015
In response to the 6/6 poster: I can't speak to whether there has been a dramatic change at Blaine or not in the past four years since Principal LaRaviere took over. But I can attest the quality of the middle school is substandard -- across the board in science, math and reading. Whatever was inherited, there has been plenty of time to make improvements and he has not.

- submitted by a community member

June 06, 2015
The recent comments posted about Blaine are overly exaggerated and I think many are written by the same family or friends within the same group. Although I can't speak to the comments about the 8th grade dress concerns, I can speak to the comments about the elementary school and early middle school and will say the elementary school continues to be excellent and the middle school is better than it was a few years ago. I have been a Blaine parent for over 6 years with 3 children in attendance. With both my husband and I working full-time, I am not one of the more active parents but try to do what I can. The strength of this school has always been the community, the student base and the supportive, intelligent, and caring parents. As much as people have tried to comment that there has been this DRAMATIC change since Troy Laraviere took over, the Blaine community is largely the same as it has been. Proof is in the real estate market. Inventory is low as families have not fled and to the contrary, homes being built continue to attract families with professional backgrounds and a high concern for education. I do agree that the current principal is overly political and would prefer he stay more focused on Blaine, and not espousing his personal points of view. However, he continues to staff a strong and talented group of teachers. The teachers have always and continue to be the other strength of Blaine. Face it, the school is in a great neighborhood, attended by well behaved students with parents who are willing to support classroom learning both with their time and donations. This is very attractive for teachers, which is why Blaine attracts the best and brightest. Prior to Laraviere, the principal at the school was weak for reasons very different than Laraviere. But fortunately, the strong parent community and teacher have made this school one of the top in the city. I have loved having my kids attend Blaine and have enjoyed our fellow Blaine families. The families I know who are not happy and who I am guessing have written many of these reviews, generally complain about a lot of things and I doubt will be happy at their next school either.

- submitted by a community member

May 02, 2015
My previous post was also deleted .. I had written to corroborate the sentiments expressed in the April 3 post. In particular, I wanted to bring attention to the extent to which Troy LaRaviere loves to toot his own horn, and how he loves to fancy himself as some political messiah. It made me nauseous to hear his speech at my son's graduation - all he talked about was how he managed to raise himself up from his poor beginnings, and how he became so successful in spite of his seemingly insuperable obstacles. Not one word about the kids who were graduating that day. What a phony .. he's so full of himself, it's pathetic. Instead of constantly bragging about himself, and acting like such a prima donna, he should get off his high horse and give thanks that he even has a job. Blaine is a great school because it has, for the most part, great teachers - but most importantly, because it has great parents. LaRaviere has nothing to do with it.

- submitted by a parent

April 29, 2015
When my brood started at Blaine a few years back, it was the #1 non-selective elementary in Chicago. Hawthorne has since surpassed. Blaine is definitely trending in the wrong direction. There are many wonderful teachers there, but many bad ones too (beware the middle school!) Maybe if the principal just spent a little more time on managing the school than on a political agenda...

- submitted by a parent

April 05, 2015
So thrilled to see more parents seeing the light! Huge thank you to the April 3, 2015 post, it speaks the truth. Also thank you to the March 30th post for being brave to the biggest bully at Blaine (Troy LaRaviere). The post on April 3, 2015 is all accurate information. If you don't investigate this post you have failed everyone and that would be shame on you Blaine LSC. LSC do the right thing for the children. You hired him you can fire him!

- submitted by a parent

April 03, 2015
REPOSTING: Blaine was once a beacon of light among CPS schools, a shining example of collaboration between parents, teachers and administration. While there are many caring teachers who love what they do and teach with passion and compassion, the administration is quite the opposite driving parents to seek alternate schools resulting in declining enrollment. Our "celebrity-activist-principal", with a complicit LSC board, has created a culture of retribution, silence and fear among both students and parents. From rumored staff affairs, mismanagement of IEPs, reports to DCFS and IBSE, misappropriation of kindergarten funds raised by parents, bullying of parents and students, improper methods used to fire staff, current investigation of 8th grade picture debacle - it's a wonder why anyone would stay at Blaine. For all the positive hires of great educators one can't overlook the fact that our activist principal has brought parents and students to tears, to court, to counseling while the LSC gives great latitude to speak his mind and "fix the woes" of CPS. Ironic that the woes that need fixing the most are just beyond the closed door of his usually empty office.

- submitted by a parent

March 30, 2015
Not sure how/why my earlier post was deleted, but I'll keep reposting... as previously noted by another parent, my 8th daughter was among those "shamed by the Blaine school administration. Some girls may have been outside dress code policy on picture day, but mine was not. But instead of speaking to any one who violated the policy privately, a whole group of 8th grade girls were lined up and humiliated while the administration measured their hems, even made to bend over during the process. Girls who are 13-years old BULLIED AND DEBASED by the very adults who are entrusted with their education. Of course, since this happened, the administration has done nothing but DENY, DENY, DENY -- but we moms know what really happened and will continue to escalate this at CPS and bring this to the attention of the media.

- submitted by a parent

March 30, 2015
I see the Blaine LSC has not posted meeting minutes since 2/14 -- more than a year. What are they hiding? Have they already renewed the controversial principals contract without announcing a public comment period? I'm sure they'll come swooping in here with some rationale and excuses. But be aware they're not doing completing one of the basic functions of their job.

- submitted by a parent

March 22, 2015
Our daughter came home from school yesterday 3/18 upset, confused and disturbed by the approach that was implemented by Mr LaRaviere to assure all girls were "appropriately dressed" within the dress code provided by the school. The description we received of the girls being singled-out and reprimanded for their attire not meeting exact dress code rules is not only appalling but has the potential to have life-long negative implications to these young girls. It is this approach you used to check dress code...The calling out of all the girls to line up so you could evaluate them, the shaming and finger pointing and measuring dress lengths (front & back) by making them bend over...you made them feel terrible about themselves, you took away that innocence of dressing up for picture day, you shamed them and YOU objectified them. You did that to our daughter. And for that we hold you personally responsible. We expect an apology to her and to us as her parents. We expect that you will NEVER do that to our daughter again. You should be ashamed of that and while you cannot give it back to them.

- submitted by a parent

February 23, 2015
After reading the review regarding Blaine's Science Teacher. I felt compelled to share a note I receive from a parent. I just want to say thank you for all you are doing for the kids.Repeatedly, I hear stories about your class and how much my daughter loves having you for a teacher. I have been meaning to send you a note for several weeks because I truly think you are extraordinary! I always say that I could never be a teacher so I am very appreciative of your profession in general. Since she is my oldest, I continue to learn how to spot a good teacher. I have to tell you a story that I have since told anyone who asks about our fifth grade experience:A few weeks ago, I told Kara that I would help her study for her science test. I started asking questions and was astonished at how well she knew the detailed material. I told her I was so proud of her and that she was clearly paying attention and studying. She told me that she knew the information 'because my teacher' and continued to elaborate that '...she prepares her students so well...'. You make my daughter want to be a better student and she truly wants to do a good job for you. I cannot thank you enough.

- submitted by a teacher

February 19, 2015
Let's celebrate all the wonderful teachers at Blaine. Our children have been BLESSED by their education. Ms. Suzuki taught my daughter the foundation she needed and how learning can be fun. Ms. Kelsey taught her how to be an above average reader and passed on her enthusiasm for books. Ms. Sinanoglu made sure she learned how to be independent and responsible. My daughter has made life long friends at Blaine & I too have become friends with many of these parents. If your child clashes with a teacher, it's provides your child with a valuable life experience. Let's look at the positive. We have a safe, high level school a few blocks from our homes.

- submitted by a parent

February 12, 2015
Is this truly the best non-selective enrollment grade school in Chicago? If so, guess I see a house in the suburbs in our near future. Although the instruction in lower grades was fine, middle school is truly awful. I've seen othera talk about the quality of math education (and rightfully so). But what about science: my daughter pointed out that her 5th grade science teacher hasn't taught a lesson in over a month. On a typical day, the students independently read their text books in class, do worksheets in small groups, then review and grade their own papers. Not exactly a quality, vital learning environment.

- submitted by a parent

January 29, 2015
In response to the January 27th post, it should be noted that of the 6 parent reps on the LSC, 4 live within the Blaine attendance area. The LSC works hard with no compensation. To suggest that they are not acting in the best interest of the school is irresponsible.

- submitted by a parent

January 28, 2015
Best choice I made was not sending my child to Blaine, but taking him out. When problems arise, do not bother the network chief. That office will not mediate any problems and I don't know why we pay our tax dollars for all these echelons of administrators that don't have a function because as long as the test scores are high, they could care less about anything else. Thank you for letting me pull my child out in the middle of the year! My kid not only knows what a semi colon is, but he understands gerunds, infinitives, appositive phrases, and even participial phrases!!!

- submitted by a parent

November 13, 2014
Why so much negativity written in these reviews? Parents should focus on the good things. Yes, the principal holds a book club once a month, it is a way to find out the way Blaine works, teaching methods and discussion on education in general. It is a good thing that the school has these social meetings, you get to know the school better. Parents criticize having a second assistant principal...again, I think it is a good thing..more involvement in the classrooms. I had my kids in this school for the past 10 years, the changes in good are tremendous, parents should appreciate an active principal, who speaks up for all children, who makes an effort to bring better ideas to the table. Teachers are helpful, I respect and I am proud of this school.

- submitted by a parent

September 23, 2014
I think the principal should send out an email telling the parents he can't run the school because he needs to advance his political career. He was complaining there is no money and now he has 2 vice principals. How does the school board allow this? CPS should look at all the children leaving this school for other local CPS schools.

- submitted by a parent

August 17, 2014
This school has been a struggle from the start. I am wanting to switch my child out so bad. Any child with an IEP is not supported at all. This school, specifically the principle, is very focused on status and political agenda vs growing strong successful children that are set up for success. They may talk that their focus is the children, I wish it really was.

- submitted by a parent

March 23, 2014
As a parent with children attending middle school at Blaine, I find the quality of education to be fantastic for a Chicago public school. There are definately areas that need to be improved, such as the large class sizes, and lack of communication skills of some of the teaching staff. The parental support, committment, and volunteer service at this school is outstanding! Not elitist. I admire these parent volunteers very much, as I work full time and can not commit as much time as they do. Bravo to the Blaine parent volunteers! I must admit, I am a bit perplexed by the two March 19 reviews (who are obviously by the same person, using the strange phrase "raving reviews" multiple times).Sentences such as "having a seventh grader is bad enough," should raise a red flag. Is it possible that it was not the school that failed this parent's seventh grader, but the parent? I strongly agree with this March 19th reviewer on finding actual Blaine parents to speak too. You would get a much better idea of the quality of the school.

- submitted by a parent

March 19, 2014
If I could give this school less than one star I would. This is a horribly, elitist school led by an elitist group of parents & principal. Teachers are disorganized & apathetic to their student. They outwardly chastise the student for their disorganization. Who is the adult here? They are criminally ineffective & passive/aggressive with both parent & student. Teachers are on the defensive when contacted (IF they email back). Administration offers plenty of lip service without follow through. They only care about test scores to maintain their elitist rating amongst the other exclusive & high-end clientele schools of Chicago. It is a disgrace and appalling to witness how this school operates. Don't go by the 'raving' reviews in Great schools; talk to a few random parents after school and judge for yourself; then seek schooling for your child elsewhere.

- submitted by a parent

February 21, 2014
In comparison to other CPS schools, Blaine is still a "top shelf" academic institution. I've done the research. I have always maintained an excellent rapport with my children's instructors because I make it my business to do so. Can the need for parental reinforcement within the educational process seem paramount at times? Absolutely. Are there times when the work load of the teachers fails to meet parent expectation in the middle? Absolutely. Does this make Blaine a less-than-stellar academic institution? Absolutely NOT. As a very hands on parent I can honestly say that I see learning taking place. Yes, I also see some "empty" memorization happening at times too but that's all in the name of the academic numbers game across the board, in ALL schools. But in our school the former definitely outweighs the latter. It's easy to stand on one side of the fence and bark, but until the day comes where human teachers are replaced by robots with a magic microchip, there will continue to be much work on the part of both parents and teachers to find that happy medium that leaves NO CHILD left behind. No teacher is perfect & I believe that teachers should be met with a little more compassion.

- submitted by a parent

February 13, 2014
Blaine is a great school in many ways but there are some real instructional problems in the elementary school. There seems to be an academic push that requires students to learn a lot of information that isn't mastered or even really "taught." Explanations can be lacking particularly in math and it's not because a child needs a tutor either. Be prepared to provide deeper clarification and help. Don't expect teachers to return your requests for an email, or phone call even if you use the Parent Portal. They often ignore you until it gets to the point of needing to meet with them and then they will act as though everything is fine. Kids who are good students will have grades that make no sense from time to time. It makes you wonder about what their "real" grades especially when homework scores are high but other scores are not. If you are lucky enough to get into the accelerated program, you may find the teachers to be better as previous comments have mentioned. That isn't the case in the other classrooms.

- submitted by a parent

February 12, 2014
So happy we made the move into Blaine district. I had a wonderful face-to-face with the principal to share a concern that my child was having in class. Mr. Laravere suggested I talk to the teacher, which of course made perfect sense. My concerns were addressed, and two weeks later, the principal asked me how things were going. I appreciated the follow up. Amazing teachers. Amazing parents, too. People really reach out to make sure I know ways to be involved, and now that I volunteer when I can, it makes a world of difference in my connection to the community. If you're thinking about moving into Blaine district, but you're just not sure, trust me: it will be a good decision. Great preparation for high school and beyond.

- submitted by a parent

September 30, 2013
For those using this site to research Blaine School, please take the negative reviews with a grain of salt. There is clearly a very agitated parent on here who is having it out with other parents and the administration, and posting multiple times to get his/her points across. To really get a sense of a school community, go to their PTO events. Make an appointment to meet the administration and form your own opinions. Visit other schools to get a real comparison. True, there sometimes is a negative vibe among SOME parents at the school (and where doesn't that exist? show me where it doesn't exist!) but the majority of parents are productive and positive thinkers and doers. It's very easy to be a complainer. BUT, isn't it nobler to be a problem solver? I reckon it may even make for a happier, more well adjusted person. And there are PLENTY more of the latter at this fine school. But don't take my word for it. Talk to the parents in the know. Talk to the parent council members. Seek out the PTO. You will be more better informed when you do.

- submitted by a parent

September 18, 2013
My child has been attending Blaine for 7 years. She has received an exemplary education throughout the time at the school. Yes, I agree, 38 children per classroom is too many, but the teachers have done an exceptional job with making it work. There are some teachers who are weaker than others but the school should not be faulted for a few people that compete with some of the top teachers in the city. The new principal has had to make some adjustments, but change is good. I have never had a problem getting a meeting with him. Though I have only sought him out a handful of times. In every school, there will be issues. My suggestion is...be the change you hope too see. If your child needs help, be that help regardless of whether it is a tutor, an advocate, or a friend to help her voice be heard.

- submitted by a parent

June 13, 2013
I agree with the last post that the investigation into our principal confirmed nothing other than that Blaine is an exemplary school! The problems we experience are due to CPS issues (funding, etc.), but our administration is great and is clearly trying to work with parents to identify and address any issues. Our patent community is wonderful and involved, and our children are happy and learning-that says great school to me!

- submitted by a parent

May 21, 2013
The post submitted on May 13th is sadly taken out of context. It s true that there have been investigations of our principal, spearheaded by a few parents (some who no longer even attend Blaine), that have received a disproportionate amount of attention from our principals superior, that have cost our administration countless hours of preparing reports in defense and have ended with the CPS legal department finding NOT EVEN ONE SINGLE SUBSTANTIATION TO THE ACCUSATIONS. Not one. Our LSC visited with the network Chief Officer and CPS legal department (more wasted time) and were told that not only was there no foundation for the accusations and investigations, they found Blaine to be exemplary in many of the areas that were questioned. Saddest part of the whole story, all of this was also discussed at the April 30th LSC meeting, but did not find its way into the prior post. Our principal is often lost in his thoughts and can be distant and is not as outgoing and friendly as our amazingly outgoing and friendly AP, but he is a passionate, prepared, empowering, innovative instructor of educators. Isn t this the highest priority?

- submitted by a parent

April 18, 2013
It's unfortunate the tuition-based preschool will most likely go away. I understand it's not essential, and the school needs space. But I feel horrible that my child will have to go somewhere else for a year, new teacher, new classmates, etc. - My child has been so happy this past year. Hopefully all the children will be ok. I just I can find a good replacement for the next year. I appreciate the principal calling a meeting and giving us advance notice. All of this just sucks and the children are the ones who will have to deal.

- submitted by a parent

December 05, 2012
I will admit: I don't go to LSC meetings. I don't go to PTA-run "coffee clutches" with the principal. I'm sure the principal wouldn't know who I am nor would have a reason to go out of his way to talk to me. Perhaps I'm one of those adults who just prefers to low-profile. I don't spend anytime at drop off and pick up because I work and I rely on after school programs and hired help to support my schedules. BUT... my kids tell me that they are happy. They are learning. They are challenged by the work given to them. They have adapted to switching classrooms/teachers, and are thankful for the break in monotony and change of environment during their school day. The teachers offer up their emails. They have websites. I don't bother them much with questions because I figure they are busy teaching. I assume the administration folks are busy administering direction and keeping order. My kids are learning and love going to school and want to work hard for their teachers. To me, THAT, above all else, is the mark of an excellent elementary education. Every teacher my kids have had in the past 4 years at Blaine have been nothing short of dedicated to students. this yer is no exception.

- submitted by a parent

October 12, 2012
I agree with the previous review. The quality of the education at Blaine is outstanding. I am proud of this school and I feel lucky to be able to send my kids to this school. They have a new tech teacher, a brand new computer lab and a future science teacher that will teach science through art and this is a public school!! Accolades to the new administration :)

- submitted by a parent

October 11, 2012
I could not be happier. The changes that have been made to my children's school under the new administration are PRICELESS! Aside from the fact that our new Principal brought in another Principal as his Asst. Principal which was thoroughly impressive to me, over the summer we also received 3 BRILLIANT Bd. Certified teachers (I did my research), 4 cert. T.A.'s (2 of whom have their Masters in positions that DO NOT require it!) and a new curriculum. I have been further impressed by the very apparent initiative I see in the teachers as well as their renewed sense of academic latitude and FULL support of the current Administration. My children are being challenged academically and now all students have access to an impressive curriculum that no longer separates students by labeling them. It's amazing. We are a growing community and as I stroll through the neighborhood I take GREAT pleasure in sharing with the parents of future Blaine Blue Jays what a wonderful school we have become. I heard with my own two ears from my daughters teacher that FINALLY we have an Administration that actually listens to the teachers. And for me, happy teachers equals happy students! I love it!

- submitted by a parent

September 26, 2012
Our daughter has been at Blaine since kindergarten and has had a great experience overall. Not every teacher is great, but many are. The "old principal" to whom many parents refer in their reviews built the school out of nothing. The new principal is fine too. Apparently some parents like blandishments to supplement their children's education and thus prefer the new guy. We just like the education.

- submitted by a parent

July 17, 2012
My son started attending this school about a year ago. My child's third grade teacher- Ms Messbarger is the best teacher ever. She is an outstanding teacher who has gone beyond expectation to instill knowledge and values into my child. The parents here are highly dedicated but my first experience with the administration was shocking and I think these staff members needs to be well trained.

- submitted by a parent

June 12, 2012
The new principal brought the school to a new level, he cares for the children, very approachable, a wonderful person. All the negativity comes from the entitled, rich people who should stop hating and look at the big picture and have in mind the future of their kids.

- submitted by a parent

May 02, 2012
I have been going to this school my whole life! It has been the greatest experience ever!

- submitted by a community member

April 25, 2012
I am a student at Blaine. Its a great school and I enjoy going there. You probably should read the more recent comments because they are with the new principal. Our old principal was old and wrinkly and, well, eww! Our school is MUCH better then it was last year and is getting better every day.Sadly, i can agree with one old comment-the "Blaine moms" form little groups and can be really snotty. Ignore them. They're evil

- submitted by a community member

February 02, 2012
Hats off to Mr. LaRaviere and his decision to take Blaine's future in exciting new directions. His intolerance for negativity is refreshing. His focus on improving teacher and teaching quality is outstanding. His commitment to the school is notable. His hiring decisions have altered the atmosphere of the school in the best way possible (esp. with addition of new assistant principal). My kid is going to be at Blaine for the next 8 years and I'm excited for his future.

- submitted by a parent

December 07, 2011
I love the school. It is very welcoming, and the new Principal is the best the school has every had. I hope that Blaine School rises to be the best school Chicago can have!

- submitted by a community member

October 25, 2011
Blaine has just got a new principal and I have to post the positive upbeat atmosphere at our school as a result. Thank you Mr. LaRaviere for bringing much needed change to our classrooms, parent/LSC meetings, and a smile to teacher faces. The new Blaine website is incredible and gives a sense of the direction this school is headed under new leadership. Now, if only we could sort out CPS....

- submitted by a parent

October 24, 2011
I've been an involved parent at this school for eight years. Most of the teachers are excellent and have been more and more engaged each year. It has been a pleasure to see a school that my family chose become a neighborhood school of choice. Looking forward to seeing the new principal lead this school forward as he listens to his wise team of professionals.

- submitted by a parent

July 13, 2011
I couldn't agree more with the parent who said the administration for Blaine Elementary is authoritative and although the teaching staff and Mr. Rice (counselor) are so wonderful, the front desk woman, the principal (Vacarezza) and the vice principal (Pumarejo) are intimidating, unpleasant and above all discriminating towards certain students. I am glad my child is out of that school. I hope that with Mrs. Vacarezza's retirement, changes will be made and management will be much more humane and unbiased.

- submitted by a parent

June 03, 2011
We've loved our teachers and had phenomenal open communication with each of them. My biggest beef with the school has been issues that are problematic system-wide, such as irresponsible budget cuts, the over-abundance of testing and the short school day from 8 to 1:45. But that's not Blaine's issue alone, so it's the brunt we bear with children in CPS schools. On the other hand, Blaine has dedicated parents who are ever-present in many different roles, even before school starts making sure kids get out of cars safely and into their classrooms. When we go to a school assembly or student show, the parents come out in full force, often overflowing the auditorium. If you are new to Chicago and considering this school, note that you must live in-district in order to get in. If you go to the CPS website, search for the school locator application that automatically finds your neighborhood school by address. No school is perfect, but I give Blaine 5 stars because at the end of the day, my kids are learning things both at and above grade level and they genuinely love to go to school. That is the mark of a great school.

- submitted by a parent

May 25, 2011
It's above average, yes, but compared to the options in the neighborhood, it doesn't measure up. Most teachers are great, which is what you want from a school. But, they all seem to live in fear of the administration as do most parents. It's not a welcoming school to new parents nor does it embrace the contributions of those already in the school. The front office staff eyes you up and down when you walk in like you're not supposed to be there. The LSC runs like those obnoxious cliques you remember from high school. It's got a nice field, though.

- submitted by a parent

May 17, 2011
I think it is the best!! I hope they win another reward!!! Yay yay ya !!!

- submitted by a parent

March 17, 2011
I was a parent at this school and I had a really, really, bad experience with the Principal and the assistant principal. She IS not, repeat IS NOT welcoming to parents and she really doesn't care about what you have to say. I visited SO many other schools and they all had better communication and social life. The schooling and programs are fine, but the principal is like the queen bee of all the other teachers. She is really old, and does not clique with the modern education. Main Point........IT'S TIME FOR HER TO LEAVE...along with the assistant principal.

- submitted by a parent

December 15, 2010
My child has come into Blaine from another school. I was looking for something better for my child. Academincs seem adequate but my child feels it lacks heart. So far it seems cold and sterile and not much human warmth except from parent volunteers. I guess you can't have everything. I noticed that open house was over very quickly. We felt unwelcomed and we had to leave the building exactly at the time set for the open house to end. Celebrations seem not to be encouraged.

- submitted by a parent

October 24, 2010
After an unsatisfactory 2 of 3 years, we left. A very closed administration that tends to a "circled-wagon" policy surrounding any real need that may reflect badly on the public face of the school. Bullying is ignored, quality of teachers is very mixed (one outstanding teacher, two deplorable teachers - basic mastery of English usage literally very checkered, for example); "arts" program, as many have said, is an absolute joke. A very skewed set of priorities by a very authoritarian principal and administration, and we finally had enough.

- submitted by a parent

May 25, 2010
Like most things in life, Blaine is neither "all good" or "all bad." I think everyone has made valid points about both the excellence and short-comings of Blaine. My daughter has attended Blaine for 4 years. I find that my experience of Blaine has been primarily influenced by her teachers. For the past two years she has had wonderful teachers who are available and responsive. Her first two years at Blaine were the opposite. I have to agree that with others here that the administration and the principal keep parents at arms-length, which is counter to the spirit of an educational institution, and not typical of most schools. And while I agree that parents have a responsibility to maintain that relationship, it has been my experience so far that, despite my efforts, Blaine admin doesn't reciprocate.

- submitted by a parent

May 20, 2010
I agree with the parent two below. There is little or no intervention in the situation of bullying in this school. The parents that are lucky enough to have only one spouse working have the luxury of being overly active in the LSC and PTA, however, being active has nothing to do with parents not being welcome in the school in which their children attend. I think that other schools offer a good education in CPS, and possibly better, but also welcome the parents. You can have both. As for the comment on the "fine arts magnet" curricula, I agree that it is a joke. You are better off not donating your money and seeking private lessons in a professional setting.

- submitted by a parent

May 20, 2010
Very curious there is a review made a matter of 2 days after receiving an unsatisfactory review, after 2 months and then 6 months prior of reviews. (original review from May 18, which appears to have been removed). At any rate, to the comment "are the parents complaining about not knowing anything attending....." you name it. Yes, a classic line by the school - to publicly blame the parents for everything that goes wrong, and plenty goes wrong. I think most parents are pretty sick of attending meetings, only to find them the cliquish cult spoken of throughout these posts. LSC, PTA, FOB are nothing more than odd, almost puerile pecking about trivial matters, plays of politics to please a controlling administration (see reviews on this) and all the rest. Don't be deceived - between what is publicly promulgated, and what actually takes place, exists a monumental chasm.

- submitted by a parent

May 19, 2010
I wonder how involved these parents are at Blaine that are complaining about not knowing anything. Are they attending LSC Meetings? PTA Meetings? Friends of Blaine meetings? Are they a presence at school through volunteering? Or are they part of the majority that are never there. I do agree that there is a closed door policy from administration that can be frustrating, but I feel like I have access to all of the information I need through other channels. It's not ideal but I'm just happy that my kids are getting a good education through CPS, an impossibility even 10 years ago.

- submitted by a parent
no rating
October 27, 2009
Hi, I'm a parent of a Blaine kindergarten student and am so far very pleased with the school. My son is excited to go to school everyday. Attends one of the many after school programs offered here, and in my experience parent/teacher communication has been great. This is a great Chicago Public School.

- submitted by a parent
no rating
October 03, 2009
Blaine is a great school with committed teachers and staff who are able to integrate the arts in to the education of children from a diverse ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds.

- submitted by a parent

September 29, 2009
I've read the other reviews and have to agree with most. We moved into the neighborhood because of the reputation of the school. I am so completely dissatisfied by the lack of communication it makes me sick. When this is brought up to the administration it's dismissed like it's the parents' problem, not the schools. I have absolutely no idea what my son does all day! It is common knowledge that their communication is poor. It's sad that the parents let the administration get away with it.

- submitted by a parent

June 04, 2009
After a long, very disappointed school year we are pulling our child out of Blaine. My son has been in here for a couple of years but every year we had a different set of unsolved problems because the teachers care less and so does the principal. Only a small set of parents have hold over decision making who can afford to raise donations and bring in big checks. Comprehensive Gifted Program is a joke here. Everything is going on under politics rather than fair educational environment. This year my son's teacher is so cold and non communicating!I am very disappointed with Blaine in this year.

- submitted by a parent
no rating
June 03, 2009
This school is Great...on paper. My daughters transferred there from Peirce Elementary due to the location and because of Blaine's reputation. I dont see it. Since my daughters have been there: My fifth grader is repeating lessons she learned in 4th grade like cursive. She does a weeks worth of homework in one day because she already covered it two years ago. My sixth grader is told she needs to buy a book for class because the school was out. Are you kidding? With all the fund raisers and the neighborhood. C'mon it's in Lakeview and The Chicago Cubs donate to the school. Where is the money going? One parent's reviewed the school as having politics. More like snobs. Communication is also an issue. There is none. As a parent I'd say Blaine was ok. Just ok. Academics are not their best feature. Fund raisers are.

- submitted by a parent

December 24, 2008
I have been to another school and it far beyond '5 stars'. But this school, well its average, some teachers are great, average,or not so good. But the thing is the teacher might be really bad but have great communication. Same for good teachers [and great]. I have had 1 teacher that is bad in learning but has had absoult no communication, a great teacher with good communiaction and another great teacher with okay communication. It is truly a mix up with teachers, the office + vice and regular princable are more focased in other stuff than us kids and learning. The office has some staff members that have an 'I don't care attitude' but the other staff members are okay. The school should have a bigger lunchroom, and more time for lunch. We learn great things though it just needs some inprovments for equitment. And the speacial teachers are good.

- submitted by a student
no rating
November 06, 2008
Blaine is a truly remarkable school, just check the test scores. It's not just the test scores because the standard is high throughout the year not only at testing time. Great parent involvement exists at this school and it shows. Sure there are politics but where isn't there in a driven school? I have two children that attended there and I am saddened to say that we moved out of the state and have not seen the same high standard of learning as we did in Blaine. My children thrived in this school and found themselves in a supportive environment. Private schools in Chicago also don't cut it when compared to Blaine. The only possible downfall is the lack of communication from the administration. The way to solve that is to stay involved as the other parents do. Blaine is a grade A school, hands down!

- submitted by a parent
no rating
October 16, 2008
I really love this school, my daughter has been going here since kindergarten and she has really had a wonderful time. She has made some AMAZING friends and she has been a honor student for quite sometime now. :)

- submitted by a parent

June 16, 2008
My oldest son attended Blaine for two years of pre-K. The first year we had a wonderful, passionate, caring teacher who kept us informed and involved. My son's second year was the complete opposite. The teacher didn't seem at all interested or engaged with the kids. We had no communication from her whatsoever and I had to bug her for 3 months before she sent home a newsletter about the kids' activities in class. We didn't get another one all year. The communication at Blaine overall is slow and incomplete at best. We still haven't heard if our son is in or out for kindergarten, and it is June! My son will be attending another school in the fall. I will not miss the politics and inconsistency.

- submitted by a parent

June 03, 2008
I have two daughters going to Blaine and it's a 'verry good school '. The principal Mrs. Vacrezza is 'execellent' and thank's to her the school is excellent and I agree that everything must go threw her first . The parents should learn more about the school and staff before talking.

- submitted by a parent

June 03, 2008
Blaine is a great school and my child has done extremely well. I'm a working parent and don't have a lot of time to spend at the school but the other parents have always been great (not clicky). I use the Kiss and Drop and see many parent volunteers working no matter how bad the weather. My child is excited to go to school, is reading well and has lots of friends. My biggest complaint is that lunch could be a little longer. One consideration is that we are in the CHICAGO PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM. We have chosen to live in the city and with that comes a city school and all that implies. I see many e-mails from the same FEW people complaining over and over. As far as city schools go. Blaine is a great choice. Many families move to the area to send their children to Blaine.

- submitted by a parent

May 30, 2008
I am very happy at Blaine as are my children. I have one in the accelerated program. I did not write a check to get her in. She tested in and is challenged and motivated in this class. Blaine sends out weekly red folders full of information that parents don t bother to read and then complain that they don t know what s going on.I think some of these unhappy parents are expecting the school to do everything for them. I m glad that Blaine does not let parents into the class room. How do you expect teachers to teach a lesson fully if parents come & go as they like? And about safety? Would you feel safe if any parent could waltz in to any class room? I would not. Blaine puts our children first and so should we!

- submitted by a parent

May 25, 2008
After a long, disappointing year at this school, we are pulling our child out. It is a strange, cliquish, unwelcoming environment with nasty politics. There is extremely poor communication from both the school and with the teacher. We had no sense of what our child did each day; we weren't even informed when new classes were added to our child's day. Parents are not welcome in the school or the classrooms per order of an extremely controlling principal. I was even told this by two separate Blaine teachers! There is no spirit here, no soul, no sense of community. I wondered if it is was a Chicago public school problem but I have friends at Stone, Burley and Franklin who have had completely different experiences, enjoying open communication, feeling welcomed and encouraged to participate. Goodbye Blaine!

- submitted by a parent

April 15, 2008
My son is getting a great education here. The teacher he has is wonderful. Tons of additional, special programs here that other CPS parents probably only dream about. One negative is your checkbook dictates just about everything that happens at Blaine.The Principal does not run this school. Parents with large bank accounts do. Big contributers get big perks. Think your kid is gifted? He/She will be if you have the money to back it. The price of area private schools and Blaine is about the same. Consider that when you are looking for schools. Constant drama between parents. Right now there is an LSC battle that is frankly embarrassing to Blaine. If you can overlook all of that and just stay out of the drama, write checks and walk away your reward is your child will get a great education here. The teachers are phenominal and communicate well with you.

- submitted by a parent

March 29, 2008
Live in district, sent child to Blaine for K-3 and participated in fundraising. School run as gulag with parents not welcome and literally not allowed per the autocratic principal. There is also much unnecessary politics by small band of parents who are cliquish with principal. Special needs students should be especially cautious. This is old school 'chicago public schools.' Many other public elementary schools in area are better and more welcoming.

- submitted by a parent

March 28, 2008
Great staff, good parent involvement, always progress on making it better.

- submitted by a parent

December 13, 2007
Clean school and safe, yes. The fantastic teachers are keeping the school great, they are dedicated and carring despite the administration. The school grounds are beautiful, they have a soccer field and 2 playgrounds for the kids. However, the communication is terrible from the principals office. You will not know what is going on w/ your childeren unless you get second, third or fourth hand information from a parent who is directly involved in the schools politics. Great school for the 2nd grade and under croud. Not good for older children who need more school time and after school programs. This is a basic bare bones Chicago Public School w/ no xtra programs for the older grades. They are always cutting programs because of lack of funding even though I give to every fundraiser. I am moving to the suburbs this spring to get an adequate middle school.

- submitted by a parent
no rating
December 04, 2007
Blaine is clean, safe, and our children are learning. On the flip side, the communications are spotty and the politics are fierce. Last year our PreK teacher was a good communicator. You'll want to find a way to go around it and get the info you need unless your teacher is one of the rare few. The principal mandates that all communications get her approval - as a result no one communicates. Meanwhile, you'll get a [lot of] requests for money - I just wish they were balanced with more communications about what my kids are doing.

- submitted by a parent

September 06, 2007
Principle and the staff have a 'I don't care attitude' The vice principal Mr Cessario seriously needs to relax, he forgets these are children, young kids, young minds, not criminals. Its unfortunate that he now works for Blaine, Mrs. Vacarezza is alright, but the children and their education are not always her main focus. Both the principal and the vice principal treat parents as dirbances. Teachers are however wonderful and encouraging.

- submitted by a parent

July 11, 2007
I had a lot of trouble getting my daughter enrolled in this school when we moved in the middle of the year. She had to miss an entire week of school while we were waiting for the required proof of residency. I really didn't appreciate being talked down to and treated like some sort of scammer by the vice principal. I, too, find that the parents are very cliquish and some of the children seem to have learned the behavior. But, I do have to say that I'm pretty thrilled by the education she's receiving there. She also had an amazing teacher. These things almost make up for the negative experience.

- submitted by a parent

October 03, 2006
I love the teachers at Blaine, I love the music program, I appreciate the academic standards. However, the communication is terrible and the parents are cliquish. There is a tremendous amount of lobbying to get out-of-neighborhood kids into the school, and it gets tiresome. Some parents are then surprised to discover that this is a Chicago Public School, after all the hoops they go through to get in. However, the education is fabulous, and that makes up for the politics. If you live in the neighborhood or have the connections to get in, by all means, go for it.

- submitted by a parent

September 26, 2006
amazing school! people should come because the principal is awesome and the students are well behaved! I have to say its really really clean for such an old school! come to Blaine is so so amazing!

- submitted by a student

May 10, 2006
WOnderful school with caring teachers.

- submitted by a parent

May 08, 2006
Blaine is a wonderful school as a CPS school. The lack of funding for CPS is taking it's toll on the resources. Blaine has wonderful committed families who strive to make this into a top educational environment

- submitted by a parent

March 04, 2006
Blaie is a fabulousschool with excellent support from parents. The teachers and the administation really want what is best for the students!

- submitted by a parent

March 01, 2006
Blaine School is a wonderful. Parent involvement is very high. We have a PTA who brings awareness to the parents, students & teachers on important issues; school funding, safety, health and more. We have Friends of Blaine who is the major fund raising group for extra programs, and any other areas where our funding falls short from the state.

- submitted by a parent

February 28, 2006
Blaine is a wonderful school. A good number of highly involved parents help guide the school and raise money for it through the LSC, PTA and Friends of Blaine. The principal Ms. Vaccarezza is a warm person who takes an interest in each child. The class size is larger than ideal, 28-29 per class but better than some Chicago schools which can have 30-31. The teachers we've had seem to do a good job engaging the students and keeping them on track. We've been impressed with efforts to tap into the rich culturakl activities Chicago provides from regular trips to museums to visiting dance troupes and the like. It has been a struggle to get our kids into some the after school activities Blaine offers some are full and others are not offered for our 1st and 3rd graders, but overall we are pleased with Blaine.

- submitted by a parent

January 22, 2006
Blaine demonstrates that all the knocks against public schools -- and Chicago public schools in particular, don't have to be true. Academic excellence, a nurturing and diverse environment, an active, wise, and caring principal, an involved parent population (including PTA and the fundraising 'Friends of Blaine.' The principal has brought in programs like daily Spanish and free violin lessons, among others. It all adds up to an excellent experience. And no, I don't work for the school. I have 2 kids there now, and I can honestly say that even if offered free tuition, there is not a private school in Chicago I would pick over Blaine.

- submitted by a parent

December 01, 2005
Blaine is a high quality neighborhood school. The principal is committed to continuing to improve the school, meeting the educational needs of the children, and fostering a partnership with the parents to achieve success. The teachers we've encountered are bright, enthusiastic and caring. Blaine has an amazing and huge library media center, an integrated fine arts curriculum with both music and art taught by specialists, and daily Spanish starting in preschool. Parent involvement continues to grow--look what those parents did last year to raise money for 2 full time kindergarten teachers! Blaine is a CPS success story, and we are so grateful to have this public school choice.

- submitted by a parent

November 29, 2005
I cannot believe all that my daughter is learning at this school!Sometimes I feel like we should be getting a bill every month. My PreK daughter is learning Spanish,Suzuki Oroff music instruction,has gone on two field trips,has PE class and access to the library. This school, its teachers specifically Ms Rice and Ms Terraza are wonderful.

- submitted by a parent

November 09, 2005
An amazing school with excellent leadership from its principal and staff.

- submitted by a parent

April 01, 2005
I went to Blaine, graduated in 2002. Overall it was a great school. I played volleyball, softball, basketball, and I was in chorus. Volleyball we placed in regionals, and were ranked 2nd in state one year. I heard that the teachers I had are no longer at the school, which is a shame. Mr. Walton was a great art teacher, Mr. Garcia, because of him I'm still good at math. I'm a senior in high school now. Overall testing scores when I was at Blaine, they were superb. The PTA was awesome, you would always see parents at sports games. It was an organized school. Although I wasn't too fond of our principal, out of the 6 elementary schools I went to, Blaine was my favorite. Now I plan on playing volleyball at UCLA. Thanks to Ms. Ilanes.

- submitted by a student

February 18, 2005
I like this school very much. I feel my son is safe while attending his classes. Both, the administration and the faculty care about the students, regardless of their race, ethnic background, special abilities or special needs. Among the elementary schools I know in the city of Chicago this is one of the best. It is the right size, it is very clean and the programs in it are first class. It is beautiful to see that in the desolate educational system of the City of Chicago, there is a beacon of light for the lucky students who attend Blaine school. My son is always talking about school activities, his classes, his teachers, everything! He is a happy child and I am a grateful parent. I wish all schools in the City were like Blaine. I wish parents were less critical and could see how much Blaine is contibuting to society.

- submitted by a parent

January 19, 2005
I am a graduate of Blaine and a product of the CPS system. My niece attends Blaine and her parents and I are very happy with her education at Blaine. I would like to congratulate the faculty and staff for making the Top 10 in neighborhood schools. I am proud to say that I graduated from Blaine. Keep up the terrific work. The hard work of the administration and faculty shows with test scores that continue to go up. The only thing I would change are the parent groups. They need to find a common goal, which I believe are the students and put aside their own agenda. I have one question, what role does PTA play at the school. Friends of Blaine are more interested in supporting the school and are not afraid to tell me what they do with the money that is collected.

- submitted by a student

January 19, 2005
I found this website and I could not understand why a former student who is now at Cleveland would be concerned about Blaine. Aside from that, Blaine should be concerned about continuing the exceptional education that they are providing for our students and not worry if they do not offer cheerleading.

- submitted by a parent

January 19, 2005
I am another parent who has their child at Blaine and work for CPS. After many years of working for CPS, I have learned that many of the things that we would want from our schools, administration and teachers, is not given to us from central office. Today, CPS floods everyone with needless paperwork that should have been done yesterday but was given to the schools a week later. Its a miracle that Blaine and any other school is able to concentrate on the more important daily responsibilities of running a school. No school is perfect but in my opinion Blaine is as close to perfection as any one can dream of for a neighborhood school.

- submitted by a parent

November 15, 2004
I graduated from Blaine School in 2004. I go to Lane Tech now. Blaine was a great school and all the teachers were great. My only concern with the school was the principal. Mrs. Vaccarezza had an 'I don't care additude' as stated in another review. She let things go that were important to the students. One example is she turns students away from school functions like sports games. If you showed up, she would call your parents to come and get you. Discipline was also very low at Blaine. All students got for punishment was a misconduct report and sent to the office for a few minutes. Everything else was fine. The teachers were kind and concerned about students and they weren't too strict or too soft on students. Personally, I think that Baine is a great school to sent your child to, but needs a few minor changes.

- submitted by a student

October 18, 2004
I used to go to this school since preschool until fifth grade. Now i go to Cleveland which is better in sports equipment.The principal should buy new sports equipment. They should add a cheerleading squad and flag football.and improve the uniforms.They should also have dance classes. Like they have in Cleveland.They should also prepare the eight graders for high school. For example swithching classes like they do in high school.I am now in eight grade at Cleveland school. Some students in seventh and eight grade take algebra and pre-algebra.Science fair should also start earlier. Here at cleveland we started science fair three weeks ago.Clearly the students will not survive in high school if they are not prepared. The stdents at cleveland start switching classes in fifth grade.This school also has no disciplin. They should serve detentions.All they get are mis-conduct reports. That does not do much.

- submitted by a student

September 15, 2004
I feel that Mrs. Vaccarezza, along with the LSC and parent involvement, has done a tremendous job with turning test scores around and providing a safe and nurturing environment for all of the children Pre-K to 8th. My daughter is currently in Kindergarten and I am a very active parent. I am looking forward to the future growth under Mrs. Vaccarezza's term as the Principal. The new programs are phenomenal and the Tuition Based After School program has been much needed and is now much appreciated by children and parents, alike.

- submitted by a parent

June 05, 2004
I have the unique position of being both a parent of a child in a CPS school and a teacher in one. The whole 'lack of communication' issue is simply a system-wide one. CPS, in reality, does not usually deal with concerned and involved parents and are therefore woefully inept in dealing with them. For every parent or family that is involved, there are four that aren't, which leaves the bulk of kids' concerns on the system, which by any standards is overworked and overburdened. I absolutely love my daughter's 1st grade teacher--she is simply a wonderful teacher, but that has more to do with her own personal expectations of herself than the system's. I feel at this point the principal has done a great job, but needs to be replaced with someone more experienced with working with parents who are actually involved/committed. Amazing potential is there.

- submitted by a parent

April 27, 2004
I've been an active parent at Blaine for two years now. I love Blaine because the faculty is dedicated, the student body is bright and diverse, and the parents are eager to be involved with the school's improvement. Overall the atmosphere here is down to earth and vibrant with change. Also, test scores seem to increase with each passing year. My one complaint so far is the lack of communication on all levels. Information concerning budget issues and how they affect the staff and curriculum at our school is virtually kept secret, LSC hasn't posted their minutes since October, parents aren't informed about SIPPAA mtgs until the day before they're scheduled. All this is very discouraging. The lack of communication seems to build walls between the schools' organizations, and walls between parents/teachers and teachers and administration. I think this communication must be improved in order for Blaine to improve.

- submitted by a parent

March 15, 2004
Blaine is a great school but the busing has been a real problem. My first child was eligible for busing since his K year but the office always discouraged us away. This has created a huge problem for our family.

- submitted by a parent

March 05, 2004
My two children go to Blaine. My daughter is in 2nd grade and my son in K. My wife and I are very active in the school. The faculty at Blaine is very responsive and open to parent concerns and ideas.

- submitted by a parent

February 18, 2004
My two children have attended Blaine for three years. Their teachers have been nurturing and stimulating, and I find the diversity of the student body a real plus. My son has wonderful friends from many different backgrounds. Before he started school, I had concerns over how he would do socially as he is incredibly nerdy; I feared he would be made fun of for doing well academically. This has not been the case, and he seems to have found a real home at Blaine. I am proud to be a part of Chicago Public Schools, and to be a part of Blaine.

- submitted by a parent

January 31, 2004
Blaine does not meet our standards. There is no leadership at the top. We transferred our daughter because she was not receiving a good quality education. She is now on the honor roll thanks to great teachers! Our daughter is happy at her new private school. The main reason for the transfer was because we felt that the principal and the staff had a 'I don't care attitude'. We complained to top public school officials and they had the same 'I don't care but I'm sorry attitude'. That is unacceptable. Many other parents transferred their children also, so it's definately not just one parent's concern. Please research your options carefully when considering Blaine for your children.

- submitted by a parent

January 17, 2004
My children (2) have been attending Blaine since Kindergarten. There is not enough space here for me to express how happy my family and I are with the education and experiences that my children are receiving. I have visited other schools and I have not found a principal more dedicated to the students, than the principal at Blaine. We are very proud to support our city's public schools and we are very proud of Blaine.

- submitted by a parent

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Blaine Elementary School
1420 West Grace Street, Chicago, IL  60613
(773) 534-5750
Last modified Blaine Elementary School is a Public school that serves grades PK-8. It has received a GreatSchools rating of 10 out of 10 based on academic quality.
Blaine Elementary School Rating: 4 out of 5 based on 111 reviews. Top