A Tutor Corps Success Story: Stephany Lin

Stephany Lin

We recently caught up with Stephany Lin, who shared her reasons for joining the Great Oaks Tutor Corps, as well as the lasting impact it has had on her life and career. Read her story below!

“I came to Newark as a member of Tutor Corps I in Great Oaks’ first year. I was drawn by the opportunity to be a part of Newark’s incredible energy while learning about the city directly from its youth. More importantly though, the Tutor Corps allowed me to form deep, sustained relationships with my students, relationships I still treasure and cultivate.

Currently, I am the director of Schools That Can Newark, a collaborative network of district, charter, and independent schools, including Great Oaks. The Corps experience exposed me to all aspects of school administration, from classroom instruction to operations and management, preparing me to work with a large variety of schools. My experience as a tutor continues to ground my work, reminding me to focus on success for each student.”

– Stephany Lin, Director of Schools That Can Newark




5:30 AM

My alarm goes off, I usually snooze for about ten minutes before I’m actually out of the bed.  Once I’m up I blast my music to help me prepare for the day.  Anything I can sing along to help bring a positive start to my day.

6:00 AM – 6:30 AM

Around this time I am preparing my breakfast and lunch for the day.  Since I cook dinner the night before, my lunch preparation is the easy part (Leftovers= delicious).  Whether it’s a bowl of oatmeal, a breakfast burrito or my favorite cinnamon raisin bagel I always make sure I have my most important meal of the day.   Soon after I depart to Great Oaks Middle school, with a ten minute walk just ahead you can catch me eating on the go.

6:50 AM – 7:50 AM

Once I arrive at school and settle in its time to begin my daily duties.  One of my daily duties as a member of the culture team is to post the point/demerits list from the previous day on the culture board.  This provides student an opportunity to review their behavior from the previous day.  They enjoy being able to look back at progress they may have made.  After positing the daily list, I sit at my post for 8th grade bathroom duty in the big hall.  This time gives me a great opportunity to prepare for my day.

8:03 AM – 8:58 AM

Tutorial Time!  This my first tutorial of the day with my sixth graders.  I work with two intelligent, spirited girls.  During this time I push my girls to challenge themselves and do the best work they can.  Our number one rule in the group is to ALWAYS TRY!

9:01 AM – 10:40 AM

At this time I can be found doing many things.  Since this is a free work period of mine, I use this time to catch up on assignments I may have for my graduate school classes.  With my headphones in and my computer in front of me I get ample amounts of work done.  As the Administrative Assistant to the Dean of Students (DOS) I may have to step into the DOS office to provide coverage and or help to mediate a situation.  I also use this time for a coffee run just in case I need that extra caffeine boost in the morning.

10:45- 11:20 AM

At about 10:45 AM I finish up whatever I may be working on to prepare for sixth grade silent lunch.  Proctoring silent lunch is another one of my secondary duties as the DOS assistant.  Any student who was either tardy to school or did not complete a homework assignment must attend.  This part of my day involves passing out the silent lunch list to all the sixth grade teachers.  From 10:56 to about 11:20 you can find me in the classroom holding the silence as students complete their 7-habits protocol before being dismissed to lunch.

After sixth grade silent lunch I pass out the 7th/ 8th grade silent lunch list to teachers and tutors.


This is my breathe break.  This short twenty-five minute break is the perfect time for me to catch a breath and refocus so that I can proctor 7th grade silent lunch.  During this time I make sure I am prepared with 7-Habits protocols and the silent lunch bin with copies of homework.

11:56 AM- 12:20 PM

7th grade silent lunch time.  At this time Mr. Podhurst (Dean of Students) is leading 8th grade silent lunch while I lead the 7th grade along with another tutor Ms. Eisenhauer.  As students trickle into the room they grab a protocol and begin to complete it silently. After the students settle in and are working silently, I call of the names of each student and which assignment they are missing.  After Ms. Eisenhauer passes out blank copies of the missing assignments to the students, I begin dismissing students who’ve worked silently and completed their protocol.  On a good day silent lunch only lasts about ten minutes because students come in and get straight to work.

12:33 PM- 2:26 PM

7th and 6th grade ELA tutorial.  These two tutorial are back to back.  My 7th grade tutorial is one of the most exciting parts of my day.  I have three bright scholars with very large personalities.  There is never a dull moment and you can find laughter and great conversation with this group.  I push my 7th graders to think critically about subjects and it’s always a joy to see them push themselves.    

My 6th graders at this time are excited for snack that comes along with tutorial.  As we discuss ELA concepts they always make sure to offer me some of their snack.  Got to love them for that!

2:29 PM -3:24 PM

My favorite time of the day.  Lunch!  Those leftovers I packed earlier that morning are what I run to at this time.  After a long morning I can’t wait to sit down and eat my meal.  I enjoy this time to breathe, talk to my coworkers and relax before the last part of my day.

3:24- Just before the bell rings I pack up my things and head to Ms. Butcher’s ELA classroom so that I can transition the 7th grade TUFTS homeroom students that have tutorial in the Big Hall. 

3:27 PM- 4:22

7th grade tutorial and my final tutorial for the day!  Before reviewing math concepts I am sure to always check in with my students about their day.

4:30 PM – 5:30 PM

After School: Monday – Wednesday, we have an after school program called PowerUp.  This program provides additional tutoring services for struggling students on homework for an hour after school.  I work with two 7th grade students and occasionally my tutorial group students stay after school for additional help.

On Thursdays after school my first task is to transition students to detention.  After I’ve transitioned all students including any stragglers I hold our Newspaper program.  This is Great Oaks official Newspaper team.  The students in this program get a chance to write their own articles and interest and combine it together into a newspaper which we distribute once a month.  In addition to the Newspaper I also lead the Yearbook Committee along with Ms. Gilfoil (our AmeriCorps Program Manager), this program involved the planning of our school yearbook!


After all the student have left the building I head home, “officially” off the clock.  Once I make it home, Ill finish up any homework assignments I may have for class, and make any phone calls for the day.  When the works done I can finally take time to relax, make dinner and converse with my roommates about their day.  Our discussions always bring a wonderful close to my day.


My year at Great Oaks has been challenging yet truly rewarding.  As the Dean of Students Assistant I’ve learned many skills in behavior management and culture conduct.  I’ve had the ability to work closely in the development of behavior interventions and conduct informal counseling.  These are essential skills to obtain in my career focus.  I have valued my time shadowing Jake Podhurst (Dean of students) and seen firsthand what behavior management and conflict and crisis intervention is.  My experience implementing behavior intervention plans, and conflict resolution has increased my ability to be successful in my future.  I am thankful for my experience and appreciate each moment.


Ravelle Clements is a 2013-2014 Tutor Corps member at Great Oaks Charter Middle School in Newark.  She is a graduate of Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina with a degree in Psychology and Criminology.  Currently she is a graduate student at Argosy University in the Masters in Forensic Psychology program.  After her year of service at Great Oaks, Ms. Clements plans to finish her master’s degree while continuing work in youth development with a focus on juvenile delinquency.  Upon graduation, Ms. Clements plans to apply to the FBI with a focus based in psychological assessment and treatment of juvenile offenders.