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.
Most of the reviews below should start with " Hello beautiful people," that is Blaine's principal. Many think the "raving" reviews on Great Schools are being written by Blaine's Principal.I agree the higher the test score the bigger his BONUS, except he forgot the kids are people, not test scores. The Principal made his rounds during ISAT testing from 5th grade on; telling the kids how important the test scores are to his teachers and the school (10% of the teachers review comes from test scores.) I wish my child was not a test score but a student. As a parent my greatest concern is; 20 students out of 78 got into selective enrollment high schools. The middle school teachers failed these kids and so did the principal. Please, show up on the field and ask the parents, they can tell you Blaine is not the school it used to be. Our kids are test scores now. The principal receives a bonus with better scores! (Ask any parent if their child can spell or knows what a semi colon is.......they do not.) I have now paid for a tutor to teach my child because Blaine does not. Having a 7th grader is bad enough; having an administraion that does not care is worse!
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.
What I hear from friends who have children at Blaine is positive. According to them, the problem isn't the school, it's a segment of the parent population. It seems that some parents will never be happy. Most recently, the Feb 14 reviewer seems to be a person who is: 1. Uneducated, given the horrible writing and claims like "kids are naturally smart," Seriously? 2. Bitter with an axe to grind, and probably why a teacher would be happy to "see along" his/her child, because if I were a teacher today, I wouldn't want that kind of headache either. Sad, yes, but probably true. I'm sure the Feb 14 nutbag isn't the only one, and I would think misguided people like him/her can ruin schools. *SPECULATION* The family probably doesn't even live in the attendance area, but Blaine is better than the neighborhood option, so cool it or go home! I also know so many WONDERFUL parents at Blaine. I know my friends go to school functions, fundraisers, & student productions all the time. They rave about the education that their children continue to receive despite a CPS' historic cuts. I'll be sending my kids to Blaine, and I hope crazy people like some reviewers here are gone before I do!
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.
My review is in response to the parent who hastily criticized Blaine on Feb 14. The teachers do a great job challenging students with advance curriculum, from my experience with my daughter, it helps tremendously getting into a good high school. The drop off comment, Blaine can always use parents at drop off to help making it less nightmarish, so stop complaining and get helping. The administration is ready to help with any issue, emails are answered. Wonderful school, proud of it.
The instruction is very very weak. Teachers rush or dont even teach. They love to brag about we teach one grade level ahead. I have questioned the administration on this and they have no solid reason. The place is a mess in regards to instruction. Families in the school are wonderful and caring. Kids are naturally smart or there parents get them tutors to get them to learn material. Such a shame. PTA is wonderful but they dont like to get involved in confronting the principal about these issues. Drop off is also a nightmare. This school with good leadership has potential to be good. PTA should take over admins job! 7th grade they throw the A's at the kids so the parents dont get annoyed, no teaching.
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.
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.
The teachers have all been wonderful so for that I give 5 stars! Again teachers and PTA all get an A+ from me. Other staff members need to work on things but VP seems great! I did read the large class size comment so that is a concern for me now. Lower level classes are good at 23-25 students. So if you have a younger child it may not be a concern for you. For a city school it is a good choice.
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.
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.
The June 24th poster perfectly reflects the entitled nature of some parents. They think they can actually "void" someone's opinion when they happen to disagree or because they believe it was written by a teacher! As my daughter would say, "that's just crazy." Yes our principal has been under investigation - it's not a secret since he reported it first at a public meeting. The question is why have none of the allegations been proven to be true? The answer is because they have been made by a few disgruntled current and FORMER parents who did not get their way with the new administration. So they have made it their personal mission to bring our new principal down. But the problem with their strategy is that he does excellent work, parental involvement is higher than ever and already high academic performances have gotten even better under his leadership. Is he perfect? No. But he also has done nothing to warrant the investigations (all of which have been proven unfounded). So in the end, all this small handful of parents has achieved is to create time-consuming distractions, when energies would have been better spent focused on further strengthening the school.
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!
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?
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.
Oh and to the parent who says the principal is so accessible: I've called the principal two different times and never received a return call either time. If we're going to talk respect, acknowledgement of a parent's call would be a good start.
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.
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 :)
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!
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