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Ohio moms help students 'Stay Sharp' with math review workbooks over summer break

Posted at 7:18 AM, Jul 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-13 07:18:18-04

MEDINA, Ohio — As sisters and full-time teachers, Lesia Stolpe and Lana Goad, are also balancing motherhood with kids ranging in age from three to 10 years old.

“As a teacher, it is really hard to see a child struggle,” Stolpe said. “We try so hard as teachers to reach every single one of them and that does get really draining and that’s something that all teachers take home with them. I come home and I’m just exhausted maybe from an experience I had that day and I know that child is probably feeling the same thing.”

The duo, who have a combined experience in sixth-grade mathematics and elementary intervention teachings, say their passion for education came from their mother.

"I don’t know if teaching really runs in our family but kind of. We were in the classroom with our mom whenever we could be and just kind of fell in love with it," Goad said.

Though Stolpe and Goad say the challenges from inside the classroom can be hard to shake off at times.

“I’ve seen a lot of the gap in math before covid but after COVID, it was something that really showcased itself in a bright way. They’re not coming into the classroom with a lot of the basics and I can see that in my own kids too,” Stolpe said.

Yet, Stolpe says her biggest concern is the pressure to preserve learned skills surrounding math during the summer month, which often leads to setbacks once school starts back up. While reading remains an essential focus for many families in an effort to prevent the “summer side,” known as the loss of academic skills and knowledge among kids over the summer months, Stolpe says there's little focus on math.

“Math facts or some of those skills or even just time comprehension and money comprehension those kind of skills, if you don’t keep up on them really, do fall.”

Stay Sharp Workbooks

Goad says many parents aren't sure how to help their children surrounding certain school topics.

"No one really knows you know how to work on math with their child. No one knows what steps they should be taking or where they should be at different grade levels," she said.

But that changed when she got a phone call from her sister, Stolpe, about creating an organization called "Parent Teacher Mode" with math review workbooks.

"Lesia called me one day. She had this brilliant idea and she was like what do you think and my first response was I want to do this like I want to help you. I want to be in on this."

The workbooks, "Stay Sharp" and "Stay Sharp Jr." are for kids entering kindergarten and those entering the ninth grade.

"We brought to these books what we know as teachers," Stolpe said. "It's four problems. It’s geared towards the standards they've already learned and they can kind of refresh their memory....they’re doing the short bursts so really your child should only be doing these pages for probably around five minutes a day."

The workbooks are equipped with "help" sheets and QR codes to help parents and kids with problem-solving.

"You as a parent don’t need to be an expert when you’re using these books with your child," Stolpe said.

Parent-Teacher Mode Fundraising

As Stolpe and Goad look to expand their reach to more families, they hope to partner with more school districts.

"We have done a couple of successful fundraisers that allow parents to buy these books for their child and then we give a portion back to the school itself," Stople said.

In an effort to continue helping teachers and students curb the summer slide and have access to more resources, 15% of their fundraising profit is donated to the partnering schools.