DeSoto County Schools prepare for record enrollment

DESOTO COUNTY, Miss. — We're less than a week away from the start of school, and DeSoto County Schools has some big changes headed their way.

Superintendent Cory Uselton has a lot to be excited about.

"We're excited about the upcoming school year," Uselton said.

The DeSoto County School District ranks in the top 15 for Academic Excellence Statewide. For Uselton and his teachers, the hard work never ends, and neither does the increase in student population.

"Our growth this past year, we hit the 34,000 student mark — which is the highest enrollment that we have ever head in the history of our district," Uselton said.

Uselton says he expects to have 300 or 400 more students this school year. He has a plan in motion to handle the continuous growth.

"This summer, we are building 20 new classrooms on four campuses. Eight classrooms are going up at Lewisburg Middle School, four are going up at DeSoto Central Primary School, four are going up at Pleasant Hill Elementary and another four will go up at Central Hill Middle School."

Uselton's plan doesn't end at adding classrooms.

It also includes trying to recruit teachers in a state where there's a shortage.

"This past spring, we just added a $1,000 supplemental on top of what our teachers are currently making. We also have a teacher career fair where all of our principles were on hand. We invited the students and seniors from colleges of education around the state to come in and meet our administrators and learn a bit more about our district," Uselton said.

Nearly 200 educators showed up and many were hired.

Uselton knows with more than 34,000 students returning to school next week, the registration process needs to be as smooth as possible.

"We've got registration going on right now. We've had that going on throughout the months of June and July. Parents can go online and submit the residency documents. We've also got some after hours that our district office personnel are working if anyone need to come in there to register in there right before school starts."

DeSoto County Schools also has to two full-time resource officers investigating claims of student living outside DeSoto County, but attending its schools.

"We want to ensure that everyone who goes to school in Desoto County lives in DeSoto County," Uselton said.