Havre Daily News
Fewer and fewer Havre elementary students will be asking their teachers to please repeat the question. About a quarter of Havre elementary school classrooms are already equipped with speaker systems to enhance the teacher's voice and more will go into classrooms over the course of the next school year.
The project began at Sunnyside Intermediate and Highland Park Early Primary schools to help a few hearing-impaired students several years ago, Sunnyside principal Linda Kaze said.
"The teachers just liked them a lot," she said.
After that response, Kaze said, the district decided to start a pilot project to get the speakers into more classrooms.
"We knew all students would benefit," Kaze said.
The Havre Parent-Teacher Organization led the effort last year, paying for two systems per school at a cost of about $700 a piece, Kaze said. Next year, the PTO will help add six more systems into classrooms.
At Sunnyside, Kaze has spent some discretionary money on a few systems as well. Sunnyside has five classrooms equipped with the speakers and microphones, more than any other school.
"It became the focus of our school," she said. "Whenever we could, we've been putting some dollars into it."
A second- and a third-grade classroom at Lincoln-McKinley Primary School are equipped with speakers and microphones.
"The teachers that are using them really like them," said principal Karen Sloan. "They think they're able to get the children's attention. The voices aren't loud. They're just more distinct."
Each system includes a microphone for the teacher and an extra handheld microphone for students who are giving presentations.
"It gives them more confidence when they're presenting and it makes it more fun for them," Kaze said.
Studies back up the teachers' and administrators' findings, Havre Public Schools Superintendent Kirk Miller said. He added that the Havre schools would do an assessment of their own program to study the benefits.
Kaze said one teacher told her that not only are the students focusing better, she has a student who is spelling better since the speakers went in.