The course is “Fundamentals of Petroleum” and Jackie Hanselman began teaching it this fall at Austwell-Tivoli High School.
Hanselman said TEA is using A-T High School as a pilot program for the course.
“They want us to evaluate it and let them know how to improve it,” he said.
The course serves as a substitute for calculus, something Hanselman sought initially.
Turns out, Laredo’s United Independent School District fostered the idea for the course.
“But I haven’t heard a whisper about them going forward with it,” Hanselman said.
Hanselman said he taught mathematics and agriculture the last two years and was looking for a subject that could take the place of calculus.
“It’s a good solution for students who weren’t calculus students,” he said.
Hanselman, who is certified to teach any of the sciences, was qualified to teach the course.
“I took a petroleum/engineering course in summer 1977 at the University of Houston. It was really helpful,” he said.
Backing up a bit, Hanselman said he called the TEA, looking to see what was available to teach.
“I have a friend at TEA – Ron Whitson, who referred me to a guy at Texas A&M University. Come to find out, we had class together there. His name is Dr. Kirk Edney,” Hanselman said.
That’s how Hanselman found out about the budding course.
The three-part course can be taught all at once in one semester, or in two semesters or three.
“They give me a lot of leeway,” he said.
Once more, because the course is a tech class, 38 percent more money is available to the class as opposed to others.
Hanselman said the money can be used for field trips so students can learn all aspects of the oil & gas industry.
He plans a field trip to a rig platform soon.
Hanselman touched on some of the subject matter: exploration and geology, long section or drilling and terminology.
“There is a tremendous amount of vocabulary,” he said.
The course is taught by Hanselman and students take online tests through the University of Texas.
The textbook, “Fundamentals of Petroleum,” is a compilation of information by Debby Denehy, who acts as support for the course.
“I’m excited about it. The kids like it. And I am assuming UT will give a certificate when the students complete the course,” Hanselman said.