Seattle Public Schools Connects to Multi-Lingual Families

Seattle Public Schools (SPS) is the largest public school system in Washington State, and the 44th largest in the United States. SPS also boasts an incredibly diverse network of 97 schools, serving 45,900 students from more than 70 countries representing over 89 languages. Some of the represented languages and dialects include Amharic, Chinese, Laotian, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Tigrigna, and Vietnamese.
The administration and teachers of Seattle Public Schools believe that teaching and learning are truly enriched by the diversity of its students and staff. Their goal is to provide a range of services that assist bilingual students and their families to feel welcome at school and support students’ academic success.
One person charged with responsibilities for connecting the students and families of Seattle’s diverse population is Hung Pham, SPS District Community Liaison & Consulting Teacher. With over 32 years of experience, Mr. Pham is committed to ensuring that Seattle Public Schools families’ needs are being met. He also understands the importance of making a connection with students and their families in their native tongues.
Mr. Pham partners closely with the district’s bilingual program services department to offer English language programs, bilingual instructional assistants to support students with limited English proficiency, and assistance with referrals to health care, employment, and legal services. This multilingual team also supports students’ families by enrolling their children in an appropriate educational program and informing parents about school policies, enrollment, school transportation, transcripts, testing, and many other school activities.
“Effective education is about everyone taking part in the process—parents, school staff and community members—to create an effective experience for all students,” said Mr. Pham. To facilitate the community’s involvement he oversees 4-5 outreach meetings per month. These community outreach meetings are a reflection of the diversity of the student population and Mr. Pham’s team has been instrumental in providing language interpretation services to meeting attendees.
“I knew we had the resources to provide the translators, but needed a solution to make the interpretation easier to do,” noted Mr. Pham. Mr. Pham turned to Anne Renaldi, Deputy Director, of Conference Services for ASET International.
 “We knew we could provide Seattle Public Schools with a solution for their meetings,” stated Ms. Renaldi. ASET International is a Listen Technologies dealer offering full-service rentals, sales and support. Ms. Renaldi suggested using Listen Technologies’ Portable FM products for Seattle Public Schools’ language interpretation needs at their community meetings and state wide conferences.
“I recommended Listen Technologies because their products offer the best sound quality, a lifetime warranty and they are easy to use,” stated Ms. Renaldi.
Thanks to the generous partnership of the Seattle Council Parent Teacher Student Association, Seattle Public Schools was able to purchase a Listen system.
Mr. Pham, Ms. Renaldi and Listen worked to create a custom system to meet Seattle Public Schools needs. Multiple LT-700 Portable Transmitters with 57-channels are used by the interpreters and allow for more than one language to be interpreted at every meeting. Attendees in need of language interpretation services use the LR-400 Portable Digital Display FM Receivers. “Many of our clients have had trouble with the old style receivers that do not have digital tuning. This was a perfect product for their application,” noted Ms. Renaldi. Mr. Pham’s team can easily program the receivers to the applicable channel making it easy to use. “We really like the Charging/Carrying Cases, our equipment is organized and always ready to use, stated Mr. Pham.
“We have been very happy with the results of using Listen Technologies’ products for language interpretation, our meetings are more professional, efficient, and effective,” noted Mr. Pham. “We are really connecting to our Seattle Public Schools families.”

How To Create Great AV Learning Spaces

Designing and implementing successful AV facilities requires the collaborative effort of a number of participants with varied interests, backgrounds, skills, and agendas. For the purposes of this discussion, assume that an institution desires to build a new classroom building comprising a variety of learning space types. 


Basic Design Team 

Typically, a team of participants is assembled to represent the institution’s interests. Most often a project manager is assigned from the facilities and construction department or other administrative support group to organize and lead the process. Next, one or more user group representatives are identified to ensure that the needs and goals of the users are appropriately met. Finally, an architectural firm is hired to undertake the process of designing the building and to prepare the necessary construction documents.

At this point, a number of sub consultants are hired to help the architect design the building appropriately. The most important of these include engineers to design the mechanical HVAC, electrical, and plumbing systems(MEP). Proper planning for these disciplines is essential to designing a building which can accommodate all of these technical sub systems.

Broadly speaking, educational technology for learning spaces requires a similar type of planning process. This is true in particular for audiovisual multimedia technology. These systems can profoundly impact architectural design parameters. 

So what is it exactly that needs to be coordinated, and how should this coordination be orchestrated?

Briefly, presentation technology encompasses the integration of specialized equipment that should be seamlessly and aesthetically integrated within the interior architecture of a building. In order to achieve this, a number of steps must follow, and a planning process must be completed.


Statement of Requirements
Role: Facilitation and Needs Analysis

The first order of business is to develop a statement of requirements. This information is usually codified in the form of a Program or Concept Design Document. It results from a process of collecting user requirements and refining them until such time as a consensus and formal approval have been arrived at. 

This is usually the most difficult and time-consuming part of the process, as rationalizing the varied and often conflicting needs of different users can be an arduous task. It is helpful to engage an experienced facilitator/analyst to help ferret out, organize, and prioritize user requirements. This expertise can be hired by the architect or the institution.

A statement of requirements typical has three elements:

  1. The identification of the range of capabilities and technologies the facility should accommodate, in each space or space type, over the foreseeable life of the building;
  2. The identification of equipment that should be installed initially, for use on Day 1; and
  3. An estimated cost of initial equipment installation. Often this budget is conceived as a scenario analysis, outlining several alternatives, in terms of high, medium, and low cost options.

Basebuilding Infrastructure Design 
Role: Basebuilding Architectural Designer

Once the AV program has been completed, the architect must develop a detailed, buildable design that is hospitable to the equipment that will be installed. A variety of architectural design priorities must evolve, some of which include:

  • Physical space to accommodate the necessary racks of support equipment;
  • Appropriate electrical power and telecommunications connectivity;
  • Coordination of ceiling elements, including projector(s), audio speakers, and video cameras (as well as lighting, HVAC elements, sprinkler heads, etc.);
  • Coordination of wall and floor elements, such as patch panels, wall and floor boxes, projection screens, etc.;
  • Conduit runs to accommodate low voltage wiring needed to support AV systems;
  • Millwork, such as casework to house equipment and power or network outlets; and
  • Structural Support to accommodate wall- or ceiling-mounted flat-panel displays and projectors.

Few if any architects have this kind of design expertise in house and often hire an AV consultant to guide them in the architectural accommodation of technology.

Technical Systems Design
Role: Systems Designer

Once the building is well under construction, detailed technical systems design and specification must be completed.

This involves completing the following tasks: 

  • Developing a systems design that achieves the utility needed to meet Day 1 requirements and also stay with budget targets established in the needs analysis phase;
  • Identifying equipment items needed, by make and model number (or, in some cases, functional performance);
  • Identifying signal flows, which define technically how the equipment will be integrated; and
  • Installation procedures and technical performance requirements.

Again, not many architects can provide this service directly, and they typically either ask the institution to contract a consultant or hire one themselves. 

Systems Integration
Role: Systems Integrator

After the systems has been designed; the equipment must be procured, installed and tested. In a project of any complexity and scope, it is wise to hire a systems integrator to take responsibility for this work. This contract is often held by the client.
The most common approach to integrating audiovisual technology into a building project, as described above, is for either the architect or institution to follow one of two paths: 

  1. To hire an audiovisual consultant to conceive, architect, and design AV systems with the goal of preparing a specification for competitive bid, followed by the participation of a systems integrator; or
  2. To bypass the audiovisual consultant and hire only a systems integrator to conceive, design and install of the systems equipment.

Experience shows that both methods can work wonderfully well, and both can fail miserably.

About the Author
Michael David Leiboff is founder of EdTech Planning Group. He has more than 30 years of experience and has been involved in the planning and implementation of hundreds of advanced technology learning spaces.

AVL Systems Design A Winner With Listen Wireless Audio Distribution

When Mustang Public Schools of Oklahoma called us here at AVL Systems Design to bid on their audio systems for the renovation of the football stadium, I knew I had a competitive advantage over all the other companies bidding.

We had installed a new speaker system in the stadium 3 years ago and I knew the speakers were still in very good shape. All of the other companies where planning on new speakers for the whole stadium and I was counting on only about half of what they were planning. 
The remodel called for a new press box on the other side of the stadium. The problem arose when they didn’t provide a path for cabling from one side of the stadium to the other. That is where Listen Technologies came in and provided the solution for us.
We are using a wireless feed from the new press box over to the old one to provide the signal. We used Listen’s LT-800 Stationary FM Transmitter with the LR-100 Stationary FM Receiver/Power Amplifier. This was the perfect solution. Not only did we win the bid, but saved the school system several thousands of dollars while we still made a good margin on the project.
For the opening game, there were over 30,000 fans in the stands with great sound on both sides for everyone to enjoy.
Thanks to Listen’s wireless audio distribution solution AVL Systems Design is a WINNER in the customer’s eyes!
Listen Technologies