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United Problem Solvers: Stepping Up with Visual Learning
  • 29 October 2015
  • Bonnie Stack

United Problem Solvers: Stepping Up with Visual Learning

At The UPS Store, we’re in the problem-solving business. We find innovative ways to help our customers’ meet their business challenges. As a continuation of our new United Problem Solvers campaign, see how one elementary school took a big “step” to make learning math easier and more visual for students.

Henry Hitchcock, tech support technician for Alcova Elementary in Dacula, GA, is responsible for the upkeep and implementation of all technological resources and programs for the school. Earlier this year, the principal of Alcova Elementary approached Hitchcock with a thought on how to increase the school’s learning resources. Instead of putting math fact posters on the wall, why not put the facts and equations right at their feet on the staircase they use several times a day? The idea for the Alcova Elementary math stairs was born!

Hitchcock began brainstorming how to make this project happen. “I knew we couldn’t paint them on the stairs and then I remembered my daughter’s vinyl lettering machine,” he said. “She printed some vinyl stickers so we could test the printing idea. We were heading in the right direction, but we needed to contact a professional.”

Aware that creative design, printing and some construction would be involved, Hitchcock immediately thought of The UPS Store franchisee, Chris Davies. Davies had been completing printing projects for Alcova Elementary and other local schools for the past few years. Hitchcock remembered Davies’ creative printing projects and knew he was the go-to person for the job. He contacted Davies about the school’s idea to put math facts on the stairs.

“When I need something printed that is beyond the standard sheet of paper, I call Chris,” Hitchcock added. “Everything he has ever done always looks great.”

To begin the process, Davies visited Alcova Elementary to see exactly what Hitchcock wanted and take measurements of the stairs. Then Davies returned to the store to design a mock-up version with the math facts in bright colors corresponding to the size of each stair. The sample print fit perfectly. Davies decided the best way to attach the math facts to the stairs was to make large laminated prints on adhesive back vinyl and secure them to PVC board.

“I loved the challenge,” noted Davies. “This was an exciting new concept taking our printing capabilities and work for the local schools to the next level.”

Once the prints on the boards were finished, Davies used construction adhesive to secure the boards to the stairs. From an exciting idea to a colorful and educational reality, the math stairs were complete.

“The project is a great success,” shared Hitchcock. “It was such a smooth process working with Chris. He gave us advice along the way and always exceeded our expectations.” Davies embraced the project as an exciting challenge. “We enjoy doing the odd and unusual, testing our skills and finding a solution no matter what,” added Davies. “It’s great to know the students are happy and excited about it too.”

Davies is now receiving requests from other schools to do math facts for their stairs as well. He created a print template so he can easily switch out the colors, facts and equations, and adjust the sizing based on new requests. And Alcova Elementary is expanding their plans, too.

“We have other stairs and even a hallway that we would like to cover with printed visual learning tools and of course, Chris at The UPS Store will be the one we ask to make it happen,” said Hitchcock.

Are you a small business owner looking for a problem-solver to help provide solutions to your challenges? Contact your local The UPS Store and let us to help with your next business challenge!

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