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APW science teacher leads district and community in total solar eclipse readiness

Jessica Halsey, a science teacher at Altmar-Parish-Williamstown Junior-Senior High School, showed dedication beyond the classroom when she spent months preparing staff, students and the community for the total solar eclipse on April 8. 


Halsey kicked off the first of many eclipse preparedness events by inviting a team from SUNY Oswego involved with the Nationwide Eclipse Ballooning Project to present to APW seventh graders. Students participated in lectures and hands-on activities as they learned about the significance of collecting eclipse data through helium-filled balloons.


From February to April, Halsey organized four Solar Eclipse Community Nights full of valuable information, scientific insights, safety precautions and activities centered around the eclipse phenomenon. Attendees received solar eclipse glasses, with additional distributions sent to both the elementary and high school.


In March, Halsey organized a virtual conversation between APW seventh graders and NASA scientist Kelly Korreck, providing an invaluable opportunity for students to delve deeper into eclipse-related research. Korreck is a NASA Program Scientist who serves as head of science operations and project manager for the Solar Wind Electrons Alphas and Protons, or SWEAP, investigation. SWEAP includes a cup that sits outside the spacecraft’s heatshield to scoop up some of the Sun’s plasma.


Halsey's proactive communication extended to the entire school community through her "Countdown to the Eclipse" email series, which was sent out a week before the event. These emails served as an educational resource for JSHS staff in anticipation of the impending eclipse.


The district witnessed an unforgettable eclipse experience, thanks to Halsey's enthusiasm and commitment to education, leaving a lasting impact on students, staff and community members alike.