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.
Troy LaRaviere, Principal