Look at that Smile!

Look at that Smile!

We are so pleased to hear that our sixth grade friend, Roger, 11, is thriving at Marysville School, thanks in part to The Shadow Project. His teacher reports that he is more confident, has increased focus, more readily recognizes and shares his emotions, and his reading scores are improving.

“Roger is advocating for himself,” said Special Education Teacher Janice Holstine, M.S., who uses The Shadow Project in her classroom to motivate students to achieve literacy and other goals. “Roger’s quarterly goal was to sit quietly in his own space while he reads instead of interjecting during the learning, and he achieved that goal. He is doing much better.”

Anxious about transferring to Marysville last September, Roger, who has autism spectrum disorder, enjoys the books available through The Shadow Project and the fidgets that improve concentration. This is Roger’s second year in the program.

“The Shadow Project is fun,” said Roger. “I feel good when I work hard and earn something in school.

“I like it here,” he said. “I’m making friends.”


February 2016 Newsletter

The February edition of our newsletter includes the following:

  • Three Shadow Schools in Reading Contest
  • Shadow: 10,000 Children Served and Growing
  • Jerry Takes on Third Grade at Sitton
  • Shadow Student Receives Rigor Award

View the full newsletter.

Jerry Takes on Third Grade at Sitton

advancementNine-year-old Jerry was born with developmental delays for which doctors had no answers. When he began kindergarten in Sitton Elementary’s life skills classroom, he had trouble walking due to braces on his ankles, his speech was delayed, and his social skills needed work.

But with support from school, family, and The Shadow Project, Jerry, now a third grader, is a different child, graduating from special education into a full-time main-stream classroom. “He has just blossomed,” says mom, Deb.

The Shadow Project empowered Jerry because “it made him feel like he was totally in control of achieving for himself,” said his former special education teacher Lisa Lum, M.S

As a kindergartner, Lisa said that Jerry knew his letters and some letter sounds, and he had a good vocabulary. “But handwriting was difficult for him, he wasn’t reading words or looking at books at school, and his behavior was a little squirrelly.”

“One time, I threw my lunch box over there,” admitted Jerry, pointing to the corner of Lisa’s classroom.

Over the years, Jerry’s abilities grew. He began spending short periods in the mainstream classrooms working on his social and physical skills, and he became a good reader.

“With the support from home and then the consistency here at school, I think that made the big difference for Jerry,” said Lisa. “It really was a village. But Jerry was also ready to learn. He’s very inquisitive.”

Mom Deb said The Shadow Project helped to motivate Jerry and illustrated for him the cause and effect of his behaviors. “It really connected in his brain,” she said.

“The Shadow Project rewards kids’ efforts,” said Lisa. “They learn how to be good community members. Shadow teaches kids that no matter what, they can be successful!”

Jerry “has taken off,” said Deb. “He loves to read. He loves math. He loves learning. He loves his teachers. His speech is great. He takes great joy that he is in the third grade classroom. The pride and confidence have been amazing.”

Philosophizes Jerry, “The older you get, the better that you become.”

Shadow Student Receives Rigor Award

Shadow Student Receives Rigor Award

Eighth grader Justin, who has ADHD, got off to a rough start this year at Marysville School. He wasn’t working hard, and often left the classroom without asking. His special education teacher Janice Holstine, M.S., said he needed an attitude refresh.

Today, Justin’s reading comprehension has improved 55%, he has achieved his goal of thinking before acting, and he has a positive outlook, which recently earned him Marysville’s quarterly Rigor Award for determination and perseverance.

Janice said that The Shadow Project’s growth-mindset model – that effort, struggle, and even failure grow your brain – helps Justin to not give up when things go wrong for him.

“He’s starting to understand that mistakes will make his brain stronger, and that’s a good thing,” said Janice.

Part of Justin’s renewed motivation to get ready for high school is improving his reading. A sports nut who plays guard on his school’s basketball team, when Justin enters the learning center, he gravitates to the sports books provided by The Shadow Project, and starts quoting records and statistics.

“I am so excited to see his willingness to read,” said Janice. “Justin knows he is safe in here, and he has found himself once again.”

Extremely reserved, and often hiding behind a cap of bangs, Justin recently revealed a smile upon seeing a handful of Sports Illustrated magazines waiting for him to peruse in the classroom, after finishing his other work. “Thank you,” he said softly, with a shy grin.

Shadow: 10,000 Children Served and Growing

Shadow: 10,000 Children Served and Growing

The Shadow Project has now served 10,000 children! That’s a big milestone for our community’s students with disabilities that would not have been possible without your support, so we thank you.

We’re celebrating another milestone, this year, as well: our first dedicated office, at 2154 NE Broadway, #130, Portland, OR, 97232. A big round of appreciation to the team at Vibrant Village Foundation for opening their doors … and hearts … to us literally and figuratively for the past two-and-a-half years with donated office space.

Additionally, we’re in the early phase of piloting an expansion of program services at some our 35 schools, supporting children not just in their special education classrooms, but throughout the school day and at home.

“The need is great, and so is the potential,” said Founder and Executive Director Christy Scattarella, M.A. “When children with learning challenges are supported to learn in ways that meet their diverse learning styles, there is no stopping them!”