A Message of Thanks, from a Chicago Principal

The post below is my Thanksgiving letter to the community of people I serve at Blaine Elementary School: students, parents, teachers and staff.  I imagine other principals around Chicago would agree that most or all of these sentiments apply to the people in the school communities they serve as well.  In this time of debate over the direction of our education system, I am thankful for our public schools, and for the people who bring life to them.


Hello Blaine Families:

​This week as we take time to reflect on what we are thankful for, I too, would like to take a moment to give thanks. I am grateful to be the principal at Blaine Elementary and to have an opportunity to work alongside of some of the very best students, families, educators and staff in the country.

​First of all, I am thankful for our students. They come to class every day and put significant effort into becoming more skilled and knowledgeable citizens. They are open to new ideas, new concepts, and new experiences, and we learn from them every day. They come from different circumstances and backgrounds to learn and grow together. That process is not always easy, but they struggle through the difficult moments together, and they celebrate their successes together. I am proud of them, and I am blessed to lead their school.

​The parents at Blaine are the most engaged and enthusiastic I have ever worked with, and Blaine would not be what it is without their support and the effective partnerships we and our teachers have built with them to ensure our students’ success. Thank you.

​What we do at Blaine could never be achieved without the dedication of the staff behind the scenes. From our maintenance staff to our engineer to our office and cafeteria staff, the persistence and initiative they demonstrate is uncommon, and I appreciate their dedication and professionalism.

​I could not do what I do without the help of Blaine’s assistant principals Angie Brito and Gary Norcross. Their dedication to Blaine is clear and their work is essential to establishing the organization culture, positive environment, and student-centered instructional program necessary for our students to grow and thrive. I am grateful every day for the opportunity to work with and learn from them.

​During this time of uncertainty in public education, I want to extend a very special thank you to our teachers. The teaching staff at Blaine is tireless. They constantly challenge their students and themselves to reach higher, and accomplish more. Every day that I come to work I am renewed by their energy, their enthusiasm, and their willingness to try new things while remaining grounded in foundational teaching practices. Our teachers are continually adjusting their instruction to help each child reach his or her potential. When people find out I am a military veteran, they often tell me, “Thank you for your service.” The work our teachers are doing is just as important for the future safety, security, and prosperity of our nation as my work in the Navy. So to Blaine’s teachers–and to teachers across our city–please accept my sincere appreciation as I say thank you for your service; your service to our students; your service to our school; and your service to our city.

​To all our students, families and staff, I wish for you a very meaningful Thanksgiving.

Very ​Respectfully,

​Troy LaRaviere, Principal

7 thoughts on “A Message of Thanks, from a Chicago Principal

  1. What a beautiful letter. Maybe if more principals treated teachers with this much respect teaching would be a better profession
    After teaching 18, and in love with our profession, the lack of respect that I experience daily is leading to many NYC teachers to leave.
    Bravo to this amazing administrator .

    Liked by 2 people

  2. For this principal to actually take the time to acknowledge the hard work that teachers do, says a lot about him as a leader of his staff. He should receive acknowledgement from his staff to let him know that being led by such a human being is worth the dedication and the hard work that his staff is willing to do. I commend him for being an example of what a principal leader should be.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!
    I am a CPS teacher and I thank you for all you have done and do. It is so great to see and hear from an adminstrator who is true to his convictions. I’ve known many Principals in my time at CPS, but few are willing to stand beside teachers, students, and families and tell the truth about what is really going on. It’s a welcome change! I believe you have been the catalyst for change and other Principals are now standing up and speaking out, parents are becoming more well informed, and hopefully, will take a stand for positive change in CPS.

    Liked by 1 person

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