The Haynesville Shale has given Desoto parish a decided advantage over other school districts in Louisiana. The millions of dollars generated by the shale have been used for upgrades to facilities, technology and supplemental pay for all school system employees.
“What the Haynesville Shale has done, from my viewpoint, those who have had watch over the money in the past and did a great job of it, we can not utilize this shale money to do what we couldn’t before,” said Sedric Clark, principal at Mansfield High school.
Next fall all schools in Desoto will part of the Teacher Advancement Program. It provides teachers with professional development on campus. Designated master teachers at each school identify learning strategies that meet the needs of students. Those strategies are then taught to the other teachers and then implemented in the classroom. “It narrows their focus and it puts everyone on the same train and it keeps you all moving in the right direction to increase student achievement as well as improve teacher quality,” said Deania McMillan, master teacher at North Desoto middle school.
The shale has also allowed the district to speed along it’s technology program. “The Haynesville Shale structure has allowed us to move a little quicker into putting these pieces of the plan together for our schools and our teachers and our students,” Cathy Noel said.
Each instructional classroom is equipped with six computers and a smartboard. Next fall, each school will be outfitted with fiber optics and all high schools will utilize the iPad and use e-textbooks in the classroom.