A total solar eclipse will be visible in Dallas on April 8, 2024, and Mark Broughton, director of the Environmental Education Center, is already preparing to help middle school students take advantage of the rare opportunity thanks to a Junior League of Dallas Grant for Innovative Teaching.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience for everybody, including the students,” Broughton said. “But you have to wear solar viewing glasses of some sort to look at the sun that day.”
Broughton applied for the Grants for Innovative Teaching—which are designed to help improve education in Dallas ISD with support for unique programs outside school budgets—to supply students with those special glasses.
Thanks to the grant, Broughton will be able to provide 2,000 pairs of glasses during the solar phenomenon, and he said he hopes to apply for additional grants to increase that number and give the memorable experience to as many middle school students as possible.
“It’s an incredible opportunity because a solar eclipse will not happen in Dallas in their lifetime again,” Broughton said. “If they were to see another one, they would possibly have to travel to another country to view it, so this will be it for some of the students. I wanted to do what I could to give them what they need to safely view that eclipse.”
Broughton is working to provide more transformational experiences to Dallas ISD students. As director of the Environmental Education Center, he said he and his team hope to see at least 20,000 students from prekindergarten through 12th grade visit the center on field trips.
Dallas ISD’s Environmental Education Center is a 500-acre academic facility located in Seagoville that includes more than 4 miles of nature trails, interactive exhibits, a 70-seat ecology theater, four science laboratories, a live animals laboratory, a fossil pavilion, a working barn, and more.
All district teachers are invited to take advantage of the many resources available through Broughton’s team, including the Science Resource Center, which sends equipment and materials to teachers to use, and the Living Materials Center, which sends teachers live plants and animals to enrich classroom learning.
To learn more about what is available through the Environmental Education Center and to find solar eclipse resources, visit dallasisd.org/Domain/96.