About the John Carl Pogue Planetarium
The John Carl Pogue Planetarium, located on the campus of South Grand Prairie High School on the east side of the building facing Corn Valley, is an instructional support facility for all grade levels at all the schools in the Grand Prairie ISD, and in a variety of subject matter areas.
The Grand Prairie Independent School District’s planetarium was constructed during the 1972-73 school year and opened to serve the students and citizens of Grand Prairie in the fall of 1973. The District hired John Carl Pogue as the planetarium’s first director and astronomy class teacher.
Completely renovated during the winter of 2011 through the summer of 2012, the Pogue Planetarium is not only a facility for teaching and demonstrating astronomical phenomena and space science, but is now a full-dome experience with the capability of wrapping its audience with 360° images and video, filling the hemispherical screen overhead. Serving the entire Grand Prairie Independent School District, it is the goal of the planetarium to provide instructional lessons and experiences that help students master learning objectives that are difficult or even impossible to address in the flat-walled classroom and boost performance in areas of learning that have been found to be problematic at various grade levels.
Programs are developed, closely evaluated, and revised through close cooperation with the planetarium coordinator, curriculum specialists, teaching strategists, and classroom teachers.
Students and visitors coming to the facility will not only learn more about the sky, stars, planets, astronomical science, as well as zoom through space and time, but they can also get a close-up view of a tornado or earthquake, walk among the pyramids of the Maya, stand inside Stonehenge, and fly high above the earth. The audience is treated to a near 3-D experience thanks to an all-digital projector system that can project with one lens what formerly took dozens of special effects projectors to do, and its low profile will not obscure the view of the dome as the old eight and one-half foot tall optical-mechanical instrument did.
Planetarium Coordinator Chris Miller works with curriculum specialists, instructional strategists, and classroom teachers to develop and maintain programs, lessons, activities, and learning experiences to best suit the needs and interests of the students in the Grand Prairie Independent School District.
About John Carl Pogue
John Pogue was born in Port Arthur, Texas, and graduated from Stephen F. Austin High School in 1959. Mr. Pogue received a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in mathematics, minor in chemistry, and obtained teacher certification from East Texas Baptist College in 1963. He received his Master of Education degree from the University of North Texas in 1969 with a major in School Supervision and a Math/Physics minor. During his early career as a math and physics teacher, Mr. Pogue participated in the associated professional organizations such as the Texas State Teachers Association (was a Local President in 1965), the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and the National Science Teachers Association.
After teaching in the Everman ISD for three years and the Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD for seven years, Mr. Pogue was appointed by GPISD as planetarium director and came to the Grand Prairie Independent School District in the summer of 1973. Mr. Pogue developed and presented curriculum-based planetarium lessons to students throughout the district and taught an astronomy class for students at South Grand Prairie High School. He also produced or procured public planetarium presentations for the citizens of Grand Prairie and for special groups such as scouts, school organizations, and civic organizations.
During his tenure as planetarium director, Mr. Pogue was also active in planetarium-related professional organizations including the Southwestern Association of Planetariums and the International Planetarium Society. He was selected to be the Southwestern Association's representative to the International group’s executive board, served in that position for eight years, and was awarded the title of Fellow of the International Planetarium Society. Mr. Pogue was elected as President-Elect of the International Planetarium Society,and after that two-year position served as that organization’s president for two years. As a member of the International Planetarium Society’s executive council and as president-elect and president, Mr. Pogue traveled to conferences and visited planetariums and museums in many of the U.S. States, Canada, Mexico, and Europe.
After retiring from the GPISD in 1993, Mr. Pogue worked for ten years as the senior project staff field representative for the Texas Federation of Teachers. He also was elected for three terms to the Grand Prairie ISD Board of Education (1994 – 2003) and served as its secretary, vice-president, and president during that time.
In November of 2004, the GPISD Board of Education renamed the district’s planetarium the John Carl Pogue Planetarium.
From 2005 through 2008, Mr. Pogue worked first as a volunteer, then as a part-time employee for the Comanche Springs Astronomy Campus in west Texas where he assisted with public star parties and teacher workshops.
In the years after Mr. Pogue’s direction, the planetarium was coordinated by Vicky Jackson, Shane Thornton, and Pat Peace.
With the passage of a bond election in 2011 that provided funds for district improvements and expansions, the district decided to update the nearly forty-year old planetarium. Mr. Pogue served on the equipment replacement selection committee and as an advisor and consultant during the remodeling and expansion of the planetarium facility.
In the fall of 2012, the district appointed former elementary and middle school teacher Chris Miller as Planetarium Coordinator for the Pogue Planetarium. With the 2013-14 school year, the Pogue Planetarium completed four decades as a very special educational resource and exciting learning experience with a state-of-the-art facility and equipment.