Kristin Ortiz is a second-grade teacher at Dora L. Small Elementary School in South Portland, Maine. When she first starting using Lightspeed’s Topcat instructional audio system, she thought it was just a way to help project her voice so that students could hear clearly throughout the classroom. She quickly found it was a way to better connect with students, something that is crucial to learning.
When Andrew Wallace first tried Lightspeed’s instructional audio system at an industry conference, he didn’t think his voice sounded much different. Those around then, however did.
“I noticed when I was speaking that people were really more in-tune with what I was saying,” said Wallace, who is the director of technology for South Portland School Department
Fourth grade special education teacher Jaimee Rothenberg says the Lightspeed classroom instructional audio system was an important tool before the COVID-19 pandemic, helping students with auditory issues who may have otherwise needed preferential seating, and helping all students hear lessons more clearly.
Simi Valley Unified School District first tested Lightspeed’s Topcat instructional audio system at an elementary school serving deaf and hearing-impaired students, but quickly realized the system had much broader impact.
“There’s a tremendous benefit to all of our students,” said Jennifer Goldman, principal at Mountain View Elementary School.
The economic fallout of the pandemic combined with increased expenses to safely meet student needs –whether holding classes virtually or in person – have created new pressures on school budgets. But federal aid programs created through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act in March 2020 and Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act of 2021 represent important funding opportunities for K-12 schools.