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Richmond County school district backs Laney principal

Letter lays out expectations

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Richmond County school officials released on Friday a "comprehensive letter of support, concern and advisement of direction" given to Lucy C. Laney Comprehensive High School Principal Tonethia Beasley.

The letter, dated July 27 and issued by Interim Superintendent James Whitson, is not a reprimand and won't go in Beasley's permanent record, but it does address some recent "unrest" expressed to Beasley by some Laney alumni and community members. It also details expectations and directives to Beasley, some of which, officials say, she suggested.

"It goes without saying that over the past few months reported incidents and community unrest involving you have caused substantial concern among you, your colleagues, my leadership staff, and the Board," the letter states. "Hopefully this letter will allow the community to know that your permanent goal is to improve Laney and that you realize that effective and continuing communication is key to ultimate success. ..."

The letter was written before a $12,458 two-day, one-night "team-building" retreat Laney took July 29-30 at the Ritz-Carlton at Lake Oconee, Ga., as part of a federal school improvement grant.

School officials say they are happy with Beasley's overall performance, adding that she has been effective at other schools in achieving Adequate Yearly Progress as part of No Child Left Behind initiatives and was sent to Laney because "it was believed that your academic leadership would help turn Laney into a high achieving high school."

School board President Marion Barnes has reiterated that he feels Beasley is doing a good job, and said he didn't think the letter was necessary.

The letter, officials say, was drafted by the administration as a caution for better communication with alumni and community members. On July 20, some Laney alumni and parents assembled outside a school board meeting to protest Beasley, who, they charged, hadn't properly involved them in changes at the school, including the reform plan.

A phone message left Friday afternoon for Beasley at Laney wasn't immediately returned.

Beasley's directives

According to Beasley's letter, expectations and directives she agreed to include that:

- She hold a monthly meeting to hear concerns and share a report on the school's status

- She distribute a newsletter three times a year

- She coordinate workshops and meetings with booster clubs, alumni groups and the community to cooperate in raising money for the school

- Executive Director Lynn Warr meet monthly with school faculty members to hear their concerns, with Beasley not in attendance

Comments (31) Add comment
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DAMY46
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DAMY46 08/14/10 - 02:20 am
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A letter of concern...oops...

A letter of concern...oops...

Jay Voorhees
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Jay Voorhees 08/14/10 - 02:54 am
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"It goes without saying that

"It goes without saying that over the past few months reported incidents and community unrest involving you have caused substantial concern among you, your colleagues, my leadership staff, and the Board," the letter states.

Wow, I'm sure glad that WASN'T a letter of reprimand. If anybody in the military ever got a performance assessment like that, their career would essentially be over. Just go ahead and get out at your current rank....

justus4
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justus4 08/14/10 - 03:40 am
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"A phone message left..."
Unpublished

"A phone message left..." Why? What else is there to know about the new directives? What actually are these types of stories worth? Many see right through this so-called "reporting" because the integrity of the content is already in serious doubt in many quarters.

DAMY46
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DAMY46 08/14/10 - 05:23 am
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If I had to bet money I would

If I had to bet money I would say they will end up firing her.

johnston.cliff
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johnston.cliff 08/14/10 - 05:29 am
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So, the board feels Tonethia

So, the board feels Tonethia hasn't been at Laney long enough to affect any improvement, but they feel her history indicates she will?
Why would an interim superintendent issue a letter of any kind?
Why did Barnes come out against the letter?
I suspect the new superintendent is going to need to evaluate the school for a couple of years before any improvement can be initiated.

ExaltedServant
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ExaltedServant 08/14/10 - 06:13 am
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johnston.cliff, I agree with

johnston.cliff, I agree with you. Why would such a letter be drawn up? Why would directives be put in place if she is already doing them? I am wondering if these directives are merely suggestions or if there are actual consequences if it is discovered that they are not being followed. Obviously, there must be some truth to the complaints. Time will tell if the Board will respond accordingly and hopefully not just with another "letter".

disssman
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disssman 08/14/10 - 06:27 am
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Sounds like maybe someone

Sounds like maybe someone should have been included with the 50% who were let go. But, that may have sent the wrong message to the rest of the executives and management types.

Cestlavie
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Cestlavie 08/14/10 - 07:04 am
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I read the letter and while

I read the letter and while it is not a letter of reprimand, it certainly is a strongly worded letter of concern. It appears that they are concerned about her lack of communication overall, her unpleasant demeanor, and her lack of basic people skills; all traits that are necessary in a person dealing with children and parents. I think Mrs. Beasley has excellent skills, but maybe needs to work in a career where she is dealing more with numbers and facts and not with people. I think the letter is CYA by the board, and will give them ammo for the future, because it is unlikely that she will change (or any changes will be short-lived). Then they can say, well, we gave you a chance to make improvements, but you didn't; so now we have grounds to demote, transfer, or reassign you to something else.

chascush
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chascush 08/14/10 - 08:57 am
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The new superintendent needs

The new superintendent needs to clean out the mess that is in RC. Will at least if he fires a few black people justice4 won’t be able to cry his usual racist rhetoric, maybe.

mrrhodes89
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mrrhodes89 08/14/10 - 09:19 am
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Laney got Dr. Welcher a few

Laney got Dr. Welcher a few years ago and some of the Laney community were against it. They get Mrs. Beasley and most seem like they're against it. I wonder who the Laney Alumni and community want as their school's principal? Dr. Frazier? There is only one of him and Glenn Hills has him. Cross Creek will fight tooth and nail to keep Dr. Moore. Dr. Wiggins has began turning Josey around. Mr. Thompson can't leave Butler. Mr. Spivey is better suited at A.R.C.. So exactly who does Laney want as their principal?

whodunitnow
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whodunitnow 08/14/10 - 09:25 am
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RCSS is politics at its best!

RCSS is politics at its best! First the new superintendent is a practicing member of the clique that already runs RCSS. He is no stranger to this community. Secondly, this letter is a smoke screen to appease all persons who have voiced their concerns. It is just as good as being placed in file 13 as it was written. There will never be true change until those in decision making positions are changed.

AugustaVoter
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AugustaVoter 08/14/10 - 10:01 am
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I have heard from students

I have heard from students and staff at Laney that they spent most of their first week completely in homeroom class. This is because the students did not have schedules made! How can this be good? Some good the "retreat" did.

AugustaVoter
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AugustaVoter 08/14/10 - 10:04 am
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Oh, I can see why the Laney

Oh, I can see why the Laney alums hate her. After all she was hired from Josey and painted her office Green and Gold before last school year. That really helps moral when you do stupid stuff like that!

AugustaVoter
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AugustaVoter 08/14/10 - 10:08 am
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BTW, This is simply called a

BTW, This is simply called a "Letter of Advisement" in the school system here. It is the first step in the disciplinary process. No matter how the admin tries to sugar coat it will all the other stuff, it is what it is. "comprehensive letter of support, concern and advisement of direction"

justbeasy
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justbeasy 08/14/10 - 10:10 am
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Of course Barnes thinks she

Of course Barnes thinks she is doing a great job, that is his goddaughter.

lylagirl
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lylagirl 08/14/10 - 10:10 am
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That is Beasley...she doesnt

That is Beasley...she doesnt have master schedules and she is a one woman show...Barnes needs to take his butt to the house and stop favoritism....hope the new super will not fall into this trap but come in and do what is right for our children

AugustaVoter
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AugustaVoter 08/14/10 - 10:13 am
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Thompson needs to leave

Thompson needs to leave Butler he is in the same boat with Beasley. Just kept more quiet due to a lack of alumni support. Hopefully all of our Aiken friends are right about the new Super and he does a good job.

justbeasy
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justbeasy 08/14/10 - 10:16 am
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I say to all others who were

I say to all others who were done wrong to sue the breaks off the BOE!!!!!!

lylagirl
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lylagirl 08/14/10 - 10:54 am
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This woman thinks she is

This woman thinks she is untouchable and can do whatever she wants....I doubt if anything will change...if she was disrespectful to DOE members when she was at Murphey...you know she could care less about a letter from an Interim Super...watch you will see...nothing will change until you get Barnes off the board for good...1/2 of her support is in Texas...send her other half to the house....

LCL72
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LCL72 08/14/10 - 11:09 am
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Not all Laney alums hate Ms.

Not all Laney alums hate Ms. Beasley nor want her removed. I for one certainly do not. She should be given a fair opportunity to turn the school around.
I care less about what High School she attended or the color of her office wall, what's important is a sustained increase in civility, attendance, test scores and college admissions of Laney students.
In addition, proud Hains/Laney Alums need to step up and have our classes and Super Re-Unions provide more organized/measurable assistance to the students and school.
The upcoming 2011 Super Re-Union and the planning that's taking place would be a great opportunity to demonstrate our continual support and devotion to our beloved LCL.

Insider Information
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Insider Information 08/14/10 - 11:50 am
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This, once again, goes to

This, once again, goes to show it all comes down to who you are related to and have relations with.

lylagirl
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lylagirl 08/14/10 - 12:09 pm
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Amen Insider...you said a

Amen Insider...you said a mouthful..,you should know....

dstewartsr
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dstewartsr 08/14/10 - 12:16 pm
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Anyplace else this would be a

Anyplace else this would be a CYA with eye towards some action in the future. How many people have been let go suddenly and the county forced to pay outrageous buy-outs precisely because there was no paper trail?

But, given the convoluted nepotism that runs both the county government and schools, I suspect she's here for the long run. The board has been seen to "do something."

Chacush, in re your 9:57; I had to smile reading it. I cannot foresee ANY circumstance where justus cannot chime in with a racist rant.

Insider Information
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Insider Information 08/14/10 - 12:21 pm
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dstewartsr, considering the

dstewartsr, considering the way she "improved" discipline at Murphey by simply no longer reporting it and was allowed to keep her job, don't expect much to come of this either. And, who is she related to? Who watches out for her?
Think back about a year or so when several principals were demoted or suddenly retired. Perhaps they should have had married into the BOE inner circle as an insurance plan.

AnnsDaughter
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AnnsDaughter 08/14/10 - 12:54 pm
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I just read the letter and

I just read the letter and can't believe the school system has someone in that job without those qualities! Now would be a good time to say to her "you don't qualify" for the job and bump her back to an Asst. Principal under the direction of someone with those qualities so they become learned behaviors. At least then that poor lady wouldn't have to walk around on pins and needles wondering when she is going to lose her job.

lylagirl
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lylagirl 08/14/10 - 01:50 pm
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Well she needs to do her job

Well she needs to do her job and follow thise directives so she won't lose her job...quite simple

ExaltedServant
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ExaltedServant 08/14/10 - 02:06 pm
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LCL72, the issue isn't that

LCL72, the issue isn't that the Laney alum and community are unwilling to assist; it's a matter of if she wants that assistance. Or does she want to "dictate" or "advocate" the support offered. There is a difference. I too, could care less about what color she has painted her office. But if the other things are true as far as blatant displays of favoritism and lack of effective communication and organization with all major stakeholders, then how can this school move forward in a positive direction?

Sweet son
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Sweet son 08/14/10 - 02:30 pm
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"Kin folks"don't get into

"Kin folks"don't get into trouble!! Even "god kinfolks".

cleanup
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cleanup 08/15/10 - 03:03 am
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Perhaps, the relationship

Perhaps, the relationship between the two, Barnes is apparently godfather of Beasley, has something to do with the fact that she hasn't been shown the door directly. Barnes is incompetent, and must go.

cleanup
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cleanup 08/15/10 - 03:06 am
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Incompetent, nearly

Incompetent, nearly illiterate, nepotism. Yep, sounds like situation as usual at the Board. Yep, Barnes is a moron, and must go.

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