Ohio moms are helping students ‘stay sharp’ with math review books
MEDINA, Ohio — As sisters and full-time teachers, Lesia Stolpe and Lana Goad, also balance motherhood with children ages three to 10.
“As a teacher, it’s really hard to watch a kid struggle,” Stolpe said. “As teachers we strive to reach every single one of them and it gets really exhausting and it’s something that all teachers take with them. I come home and maybe I’m just exhausted from an experience I had that day and I know that kid probably feels the same way.
The duo, who have a combined background in sixth grade math and elementary intervention teaching, say their passion for education comes from their mother.
“I don’t know if teaching really runs in our family, but somehow. We were in class with our mom whenever we could and fell in love with her,” Goad said.
Although Stolpe and Goad say challenges from inside the classroom can sometimes be difficult to overcome.
“I saw a lot of math gap before covid, but after covid it was something that really showed up in a brilliant way. They don’t come to class with a lot of basics and I can see that in my own kids too,” Stolpe said.
Still, Stolpe says his biggest concern is the pressure to preserve math skills learned over the summer month, which often results in setbacks once school resumes. While reading remains a core goal for many families in an effort to prevent the “summer side,” known as the loss of academic skills and knowledge in children during the summer months, Stolpe says little focus on mathematics.
“Math facts or some of these skills or even just understanding time and understanding money, those kinds of skills, if you don’t really follow them, fall away.”
Goad says many parents don’t know how to help their children with certain school subjects.
“Nobody really knows that you know how to work math with their child. Nobody knows what steps they should take 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 starting an organization called “Parent Teacher Mode” with math review books.
“Lesia called me one day. She had this brilliant idea and she said what do you think about it and my first response was that I want to do this like I want to help you. I want to participate in this.”
The “Stay Sharp” and “Stay Sharp Jr.” are intended for children 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 sort of jog their memory…they’re in short bursts so really your child should only be doing those pages for about five minutes a day.”
The notebooks are equipped with “help” sheets and QR codes to help parents and children solve problems.
“As a parent, you don’t have to be an expert when using these books with your child,” Stolpe said.
Fundraising in parent-teacher mode
As Stolpe and Goad look to expand their reach to more families, they hope to partner with more school districts.
“We’ve had a couple of successful fundraisers where parents buy these books for their child and then we donate some of it back to the school itself,” Stople said.
In order to continue to help teachers and students stop the summer slide and have access to more resources, 15% of the profits from their fundraising are donated to partner schools.