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.
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!
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....
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.
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.
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.
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.
I think it is the best!! I hope they win another reward!!! Yay yay ya !!!
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.
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.
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.
My child is at Blaine and had some good teachers. One teacher was very good, one teacher ok but never communicated anything to the parents and one teacher was terrible. The principal yells at the students for trivial matters which makes sending my child there stressful. My child is afraid to go to school because of the principal. I decided there are better options.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The school begs for money much and often. I get blasted with emails for money, about giving money, but in four years, have never been provided with a budget or information on how the money is distributed. The school has a closed doors policy and they do not like parents in there and are not welcoming of parents presence. There are just of few of my favorite things...
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.
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.
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.
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