High school administration says email was misunderstood

Published 10:40 am Monday, February 2, 2015

Bogalusa High School lead Principal Eric Greely said Friday a reported “hit list” of teachers was much ado about nothing.

In fact, Greely said the Jan. 26 inter-office memo was anything but. He said the confidential memo was addressed to school principals with names of individual high school and middle school teachers he thought needed additional support in a number of areas. Greely said he left the memo in a classroom as he conduced his regular classroom checks. Someone found it and distributed it to some teachers.

“The ‘hit list’ is a list of core teachers the administrative team identified by ensuring that procedures in each classroom are taking place,” Greely said. “We want to make sure implementation of schoolwide classroom rules and procedures are being met, the use of complex text and writing components are being used, along with targeting of remedial content that allows for faster on grade level practice. And we were checking to see some evidence of progress monitoring was being used.”

Greely said the memo was a poor case of wording on his part.

“The subject line indicating the word ‘hit’ meant that all administrators would ‘hit’ those classrooms daily to support teaching and learning,” Greely said. “After reflection, the words ‘support list’ would have been more appropriate. The email was intended for administrator’s eyes only, because they understood the intent of the email. Administration realizes it takes a team effort to accomplish our goal of improving Bogalusa City Schools School Performance Score. In order to accomplish this, we have raised the rigor for students, teachers and administrators.

The principal said some instructors need support in different areas.

“We realize if teachers struggle with classroom management, then teaching and learning can’t take place,” Greely said. “BHS has implemented schoolwide procedures and routines to assist teachers in implementing effective classroom management strategies. The other three initiatives are strategies that must be implemented in classrooms to ensure students are prepared to perform on the upcoming standardized tests.

Greely followed up later the same day with another email that better described what was intended.

“I was using the list to check off classes I observed. I was horrified to learn that the confidential email had been distributed to some teachers and students within minutes of my leaving one of the classrooms,” Greely said. “My concern was teachers were told the list was a ‘hit list’ to terminate their employment. This was simply not true. Teachers were upset because they did not understand why their names were on a list. To be honest, the list literally changes daily, based on the needs of teachers and students. As administrators, we are focusing on all core area teachers to ensure they receive support. Students begin testing in approximately 25 days.”

High school biology and advanced placement environmental science instructor Jimmi Bonnette was one of 16 teachers on the list. She said after she learned the reasoning behind the list, she understood.

“Obviously, my first reaction was curiosity for what it was and to get to the bottom of it,” Bonnette said. “’Hit list’ are harsh words, but when you get down to why it was written, I understood. Mr. Greely is here to help students improve, and I’m here to help them get there.”

Bonnette has been employed at the school since 2002.

“I never thought I’d be fired. This is my job and I want to do a good job,” Bonnette said. “After I spoke to Mr. Greely and Supervisor of Curriculum and Instruction April Nobles on Monday, I was content with their explanation. I am OK with the outcome. Every teacher could use support.”