Truckee Elementary School | Are you able to hear me? | SierraSun.com

Truckee Elementary School | Are you able to hear me?

Special to the Sun

Submitted to aedgett@sierrasun.comStudent voices get a boost, too, with classroom sound amplification systems. Here, Truckee third-grader Ernie Gomez uses the microphone to address his class.

TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; While the answer for Truckeeand#8217;s many signal-starved cell phone callers might be no, the answer in Truckee Elementaryand#8217;s classrooms is a resounding yes. Thanks to the Truckee Elementary Parent Teacher Organization (PTO), virtually all of the schooland#8217;s classrooms will be outfitted with the latest Redcat classroom sound amplification technology from Lightspeed Systems.

The PTO completed a busy season of fundraising, highlighted by the Pumpkin Patch event in October. That campaign directly translated into a successful allocation cycle in November, allowing the PTO to award nearly $18,000 in grants to school teachers and administrative staff. According to Alex Herrera, PTO co-president, that substantial figure represents not an expense, but rather an investment in Truckeeand#8217;s children that will reap the reward of a more effective learning environment.

and#8220;Topping the list of priorities for this most recent grant cycle was to ensure every teacher who wanted a Redcat sound amplification system got one, and that turned out to be just about the whole school,and#8221; said Herrera. and#8220;The thinking behind classroom sound amplification is simple. Students canand#8217;t learn what they canand#8217;t understand, and they canand#8217;t understand what they canand#8217;t hear. Make sure everything the teacher says can be clearly heard by every student in the class, and youand#8217;ve eliminated one big teaching obstacle.and#8221;

The Redcat system ensures all students can follow whatand#8217;s being presented, regardless of where their desks are, or how much ambient noise is present. Optimized specifically for classroom settings, each unit consists of two pendant-style wireless microphones, an amplifier with an 8-band graphic equalizer, and a remote flat-panel speaker that can be placed on a table or mounted on a wall. Studies have shown the combination is effective at overcoming poor room acoustics and background noise.

The benefits are being felt at Truckee Elementary by teachers and students. Mardiece Patrick, a third grade teacher, is sold on the technologyand#8217;s merits. and#8220;The Redcat system lets every student tune into my voice, no matter where I am in the room. It helps connect with children who have auditory processing problems, attention or focus issues, and kids who just have trouble focusing on the spoken word. It really benefits everyone.and#8221;

Betsy DePew, a kindergarten teacher agrees. and#8220;This technology is helping all of the students. The children are now using their own microphone, especially during sharing time and#8230; they love it! Even the shy and quiet ones can be heard.and#8221;

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Funding the Redcat systems fits into the Truckee Elementaryand#8217;s PTO charter and mission according to PTO co-president Katie Flynn. and#8220;The PTO is committed to improving the learning environment for our students. And putting tools like sound amplification systems throughout our schooland#8217;s classrooms is one way to make sure all our kids reap the maximum benefits from our curriculum and teachersand#8217; lesson plans.and#8221;

The PTOand#8217;s fall allocation cycle addressed needs from several other key school programs, such as Truckee Elementaryand#8217;s Sagehen field-study program. An off-site nature learning experience offered in conjunction with UC Berkeley, the program allows the schooland#8217;s fifth graders the opportunity to spend three days at the Sagehen Creek Field Station north of Truckee. Nestled among forest, meadow and watershed ecosystems, the Sagehen campus provides an exceptional locale for students to explore a wide range of topics in biology, ecology and conservation.

Flynn and Herrera are quick to give credit for this and all PTO grants to the community. and#8220;None of this would be possible without the support of TES staff, parents, residents and local businesses. The community has always generously supported our fundraising activities, even through the tougher economic times. We want to make sure everyone knows the money we raise is being effectively brought to bear to directly enhance the learning environment for our students. The Truckee Elementary PTO, staff and students want to thank all who have contributed their time and money to make our fall allocations cycle a major success.and#8221;

The Truckee Elementary PTOand#8217;s work for the school year is far from done, as it plans to invest another $15,000 to fund a major new educational and environmental initiative at Truckee Elementary. Stay tuned.