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.
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.
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.
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...
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.