Lisa McDonald, SLP
General Greene Elementary School, North Carolina
What did you do?
I began exploring the idea of equipping my school with classroom sound-field amplification systems. By attending state conventions, I had the opportunity to view sound-field systems from several vendors, speak with representatives, and gather information. Following a series of meetings with my principal, classroom sound-field amplification systems became one of the school's focused initiatives.
A sales representative came to the school and spoke to faculty and PTA. The representative demonstrated the use of sound-field systems and cited research showing why sound-field systems are good for all students, not just those with hearing loss. The demonstration was a wonderful way to explain to parents and staff how sound field systems work.
What were the challenges you faced?
The biggest challenge I have faced has been finding the funds to purchase the systems. Due to so many budget cuts the past few years, the possibility of having sound-field systems as a line item in the current budget was not feasible. I knew I had to seek funds elsewhere.
What was the outcome of your effort?
Due to lack of funds in the school budget, I approached the PTA about the possibility of purchasing some systems. I attended the PTA's brainstorming session of possible special projects to fund throughout the year. I was able to present the research and the benefits that both teachers and students would receive by having classroom sound-field amplification systems. After much discussion during the PTA budget meeting, it was decided that the PTA would commit to purchasing four systems after the 30-day evaluation program offered by the company. This evaluation program allowed the school the opportunity to try classroom sound-field amplification systems with no obligation to purchase.
After the 30-day trial period, four systems were purchased and placed in the following rooms: first grade classroom, third grade classroom, technology lab, and the science lab. The systems are being used every day and both students and teachers are enjoying the benefits. I hope to provide a classroom sound-field amplification system for every classroom in the near future.
What advice would give others?
If outfitting a school with classroom sound-field amplification systems is a goal, I would encourage others to do their research on why these systems are beneficial and articulate the benefits to staff, students, and parents. I would encourage them to think of creative ways to find funding, especially with school budgets being the way they are. Be passionate about your goal, build relationships along the way, and know that students and teachers can only benefit from your efforts.