This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Blaine Elementary School1
Posted December 12, 2014
- a parent
To the parent a review or two back: total agreement about the middle school math teacher. He provides very little direct instruction; most of the classroom time is spent with kids working in groups trying to solve complex problems around concepts they have not been taught. My son went from getting "A"s in math to now getting "C"s. He is very frustrated. (How much does a math tutor cost? Where do you find them?)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.