Oasis Tutoring – Impacting two lives at once

By Dr. Chel’lee Whitten, Chief Academic Officer

Oasis Intergenerational Tutoring is a national tutoring program started in St. Louis by the Oasis Institute in 1989. The Oasis Institute is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of older adults and engaging them in community service.

The Oasis Program at Bayless

The Oasis Tutoring Program was started at Bayless in 2010. The program was created to support students by providing them with additional literacy opportunities in addition to increasing engagement with our community members. Linda Munsell was the first program coordinator, serving from 2010 – 2012. Kim Grempler followed Ms. Munsell, serving from 2012 until fall 2022. Diane Sterett assumed the role in fall 2022.

Oasis Library in Bayless

The Oasis Library has evolved from a few buckets of books to over 120 buckets. Mrs. Grempler saved books being removed from the shelves of the Bayless Elementary Library and
placed them in the Oasis Library. She also used her Scholastic book points to purchase books. Every year the Oasis Institute generously gives books to the Oasis Library. Session plans are written for and accompany many of the books in the Oasis Library. The session plan provides a guide for the tutor to include six activities in each tutoring session.

An average tutoring session can include things like writing together, reading the child’s writing and of course reading. The Oasis tutor must be flexible and willing to adapt the session plan to meet the child’s needs. During Mrs. Grempler’s tenure, she wrote 150 session plans for books added to the Oasis Library.

Oasis Intergenerational Tutors at Bayless

When the Oasis Program started at Bayless, there were 10 tutors. At one time, there were over 60. Currently, following COVID-19, there are 15 tutors.

Oasis tutors are volunteers (usually 50 and over) who wish to contribute meaningfully to their community. They work with the same student, on the same school day, at the same time, once a week. Kindergarten sessions are 30 minutes. First through second-grade sessions are 45 minutes to one hour. The tutors attend training to promote motivation, success, and enjoyment of reading, writing, and oral communication, as well as build self-esteem and confidence in the

Oasis tutors often participate in other school activities such as being a classroom volunteer,
listening to students (many of whom are not part of the Oasis program) read, attending school concerts, volunteering at school festivals, or accompanying classrooms on field trips.

Impact of Oasis Tutoring on
Students at Bayless

Our students benefit from the individual attention provided by the Oasis tutors. If the student is reading below grade level but does
not qualify for special services, the tutor provides individual attention to help the student improve their reading level. For the student who is advanced academically and needs to be challenged, the tutor can read and discuss books more at their reading level. At all levels, the Oasis tutors promote motivation, success, and enjoyment of reading, writing, and oral communication and build self-esteem and confidence in our students.

Diane Sterett reading to kindergartener Henry Stegemann

Diane Sterett reading to kindergartener Henry Stegemann

Charlotte Buchhold reading to kindergartener Malakai Ackerman

Charlotte Buchhold reading to kindergartener Malakai Ackerman