This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Blaine Elementary School1
Posted April 05, 2015
- a parent
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.
In response to the parent who wrote "celebrate the teachers" on February 19: we would have said the same thing through 4th grade. In fact, we had most of the same teachers. But middle school is an entirely different story: the quality of education is sub-par (don't get me started about 5th grade math lack-of-instruction)... the administration is unreceptive to parents' concerns (and at times outright deceptive)... the amount of homework ridiculous and well beyond recognized standards. Talk to parents of 5th and 6th graders -- you'll find the experience is quite different. I feel badly that our daughter won't be back next fall since she's made "lifelong friends" as well -- but many of her former classmates have already switched to other CPS, private or suburban schools. I'm pretty sure you'll be saying the same thing too...
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.
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.
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.