by Heidi Solivan of Foxborough Regional Charter School
For 17 years, Heidi Solivan has struggled to grab and hold the attention of her 25-plus kindergarteners at Foxborough Regional Charter School (FRCS) in Foxborough (MA), a group including English language learners, special education students, kids with hearing loss, and students suffering from attention difficulties. In 2014, the school purchased a Lightspeed Redcat system, which combines a microphone that the teacher wears on a lanyard with a speaker that can be placed anywhere in the classroom. For the first time, Solivan’s students could hear whatever she said, no matter where she was in the room.
“My first reaction after using it was, ‘This is awesome!’” remembers Solivan. “This system allowed me to teach in a more natural tone of voice, and I didn’t need to strain or raise my voice because they’re all able to hear me clearly.”
Solivan has found the sound system especially helpful to keep SPED students engaged in lessons, and for ELLs are now able to hear every sound and syllable the teacher makes. She has the freedom to move around the classroom, and her kindergarteners are no longer unruly because they can’t hear or understand her. Students also use the system when reading out loud to the class. They like using the microphone because they love to hear themselves through the speaker.
An extensive kickstarter campaign to purchase more sound systems made its way to the Rachael Ray Show, which surprised Solivan with systems for each kindergarten class at FRCS.