Administration offers students new A+ tutoring aid and opportunities


photo courtesy of Leyla Vilic

Leyla Vilic (11) tutoring younger students at Wohlwend Elementary. Many A+ tutors have struggled to get their hours in this year with COVID-19 restrictions.

Coronavirus strikes again. Thanks to the chaos the pandemic has caused by impacting how students garner the required A+ tutoring hours, OHS has found alternatives for the Class of 2021. 

With fewer tutoring opportunities available to students, and with people being concerned about their health, there are fewer kids who are open to the idea of tutoring during this time. In previous years, the required amount of tutoring hours was 50, but with COVID-19 being a major player in determining how this school year has gone, OHS decided to offer seniors an alternative.

“All A+ tutoring must be supervised by a Mehlville School District employee,” said Mrs. Stephanie Ponciroli, A+ Program Assistant at OHS. “However, we made an exception for the 2020-2021 school year where students could earn a maximum of 10 hours tutoring a sibling, friend or neighbor at home during Connected/Blended Learning.”

Not only were students offered the trust to get 10 hours of tutoring honestly, but the state of Missouri lowered the hour requirement to 25 hours for the Class of 2021 due to the pandemic. This has been a great help for seniors to obtain the necessary hours to be offered the scholarship, and a cord at graduation. 

“A lot of schools didn’t allow tutors to come in, so I’ve been tutoring my younger cousins,” said Kiara Elza (10). 

The A+ tutoring program is a scholarship program that awards students with funds if they choose to go to either community college or a two-year vocational/technical school. In order for high school students to receive these funds, they must gather the required amount of hours by tutoring at local schools in the district.

Many other students in OHS have used the pandemic as an opportunity to tutor younger siblings or cousins at home, and still get the required amount of hours. For the 2021 school year, 156 seniors are enrolled in the A+ tutoring program and approximately 75 of those seniors are set to complete the program by the end of the semester. These students, if they choose to, will have the chance to continue their education at community colleges or vocational schools for free for two years.

Though things are looking up for the seniors, other high school grade levels will be required to get the 50 tutoring hours with the return to in-person school. Oakville Middle and Wohlwend Elementary are now open to in-person tutoring and will allow students to get their desired hours until the end of the year. 

Katie Tymkew (9), a tutor at Wohlwend from OHS, believes that the post-COVID circumstances have impacted the ways tutors can work with students in-person. 

“I can tell you that wearing a mask sort of messes with the communication between me and the student,” said Tymkew. “Also, due to COVID, I feel that it makes it harder to help students since you can’t be right next to them showing them things.”

Tymkew is one of many students who have had to adjust to the many changes that COVID has forced upon the tutoring program. As things slowly go back to what OHS knows as normal, students are using every opportunity available to them to receive their A+ certification and having the scholarship open as a choice for where they’re going after high school.