Luther Middle School will install the system in all of its classrooms in the coming year, said Anita Schackmann, the school’s principal, at a cost of more than $60,000 from their site discretionary funds.
“It’s not cheap, but it’s so incredible,” Schackmann said. “And one of the real occupational hazards with teaching is burning out your voice. . . . With the Lightspeed, people can just speak in a conversational tone.”
Some teachers, like Debbie Farmer, who teaches history, English and math at Luther, have found the amplification system vital.
Farmer, who began teaching at Luther last year, has nodules or bumps on her vocal cords that prevent her from raising her voice for long periods of time. Lightspeed has been just what the doctor ordered, she said.
“By 3 p.m. I used to be hoarse,” Farmer said. “Now I’m never hoarse.”
Students in her first-period history class said they now hear their teacher better.
“I sit in the back, and I think it’s a lot better to hear,” said Claire Porter, 11.
The class switches seats every few months, and Sean Gallagher, 11, has been close to the front of the class and far in the back this year.
He said the speakers made a difference wherever he sat.
“It really helps,” Sean said.
Luther Middle School is only one of a few schools in the district that have begun using the Lightspeed system, with Muir Middle School being the first.
More than $60,000 was spent at Muir Middle School to install the system throughout its campus, Principal Daniel Hacking said.
Hacking said the system was worth every penny.
“We’ve been really happy with the product,” Hacking said. “The teachers, of course, have been thrilled. It’s just been really nice for those who have been into it. Some of them use them some of the time, but now we will always have them available when new teachers come in.”
As Luther Middle School finishes up its modernization, the amplification systems will be installed in newly painted and refurbished classrooms, Schackmann said.
“The entire school will be equipped with this,” Assistant Principal Jennifer Meglemre said.
“I’m thinking that probably by the beginning of next year we are hoping that construction is completed . . . . I would think that by December of the following year, we should probably have it installed all across the campus.”