The Shadow Project Receives $35,000 from the Oregon Community Foundation

Read about our new grant in this pdf.

May 2016 Newsletter

In the May edition of our newsletter, find out about recent student success and learning initiatives:

  • “Shadow Motivates Me to Work Hard”
  • Shadow Expands to Advance Equity
  • From “8 to H.S.” Using a Growth Mindset
  • “Why I Give to The Shadow Project”

View the full newsletter.

“Why I Give to The Shadow Project”

“Why I Give to The Shadow Project”

Photo: Special Education Teacher Beth Brod, M.S., uses print and audio books to help struggling readers in her classroom.

What do special education teachers appreciate about The Shadow Project? Beth Brod, M.S., likes the program’s goal setting sheets that motivate her K-5 students to achieve academic and personal goals like reading at home, listening, and improving school attendance.

Beth has been the special education teacher at Woodmere for the past three years.

“The Shadow Project gives kids a reason to be at school and to work hard at building new skills,” said Beth. “Our students learn that hard work pays off.”

Prior to Woodmere, Beth taught for a combined nine years at Harrison Park and Clark elementary schools. She received her master of science in special education from Portland State University. She is on The Shadow Project’s Teacher Advisory Board, and she donates generously through the Portland Public Schools Giving Campaign and the Willamette Week Give!Guide.

We all need something to look forward to in life,” said Beth. “A lot of my students haven’t yet developed an internal sense of motivation, but with The Shadow Project, the kids will give anything a try.”

“Shadow Motivates Me to Work Hard”

“Shadow Motivates Me to Work Hard”

Photo: Erica used The Shadow Project in elementary school to earn Shadow Bucks and buy gifts.

Erica, 14, has a learning disability that made spelling and reading difficult, and she used to get frustrated when she couldn’t do her work. But thanks to The Shadow Project, the McMinnville eighth grader has learned to set small, achievable goals and can now read at grade level.

“The Shadow Project motivates me to work hard,” she said. “My favorite class now is reading and writing. I still don’t love reading out loud in class, but I will try.”

Erica has been in The Shadow Project for six years, with a lot of reading and writing help from special education teacher Jolene Heinrich, M.S. When she achieves the goals she sets for herself, she earns Shadow Bucks to “buy” books and gifts for her mom, dad, little brother, and newborn niece.

“Giving is nice because you feel good about yourself,” said Erica, who hopes to go to college, and eventually become a veterinarian. “It’s important to find good teachers to help, and to rely on family.”

Said Jolene: “Erica has matured a lot. When she began The Shadow Project, she was reading two grade levels behind. Now she reads at grade level. She is an advocate for herself and knows when to ask for help, not just in reading, but in writing and math.

“Shadow helped motivate her to set goals, and to become a more quiet, confident female comfortable in her own skin.”

From “8 to H.S.” Using a Growth Mindset

From “8 to H.S.” Using a Growth Mindset

Photo: Marysville Special Education Teacher Janice Holstine (left) uses growth mindset to help students like Omar persevere.

It’s been a bumpy school year for Shadow Project student Omar, 13, but goal setting and growth mindset—the belief that perseverance through struggle leads to success—are helping the Marysville eighth grader get ready for high school.

At the beginning of this quarter, Omar wrote a letter to himself with the goal of boosting his grades and working on his attitude.

“I’m a little behind and my grades aren’t great, but I’m working on it,” said Omar, who struggles with reading comprehension. “My goal is to get my grades better and turn everything in on time.”

Omar’s special education teacher Janice Holstine, M.S., says: “Omar is working hard, coming in at lunch to make up work, and he wants to finish the quarter strong. He just doesn’t quit.

“Perseverance is important,” said Janice. “A lot of times, my kids don’t succeed they way they see others succeeding. With goal setting, they get to see where they’ve been in the past and where they are now and they’ll see a growth. That helps them change how they think of themselves from negative to positive because they’ve taken those steps and keep on going when they’re struggling.”

Janice uses books and school supplies from The Shadow Project as an incentive for students’ to meet goals. “But sometimes, they don’t meet their goal for the quarter and that’s okay,” she said. “We look at the roadblocks and what they need to change to improve next time.

“Now that Omar has this mindset of ‘I’m getting ready for high school, I have four years to succeed, and I’m off to college,’ he’s starting to pick himself up by the bootstraps and ask for help.

“He is ready for high school.”