March 2017 Newsletter

In the March edition of our newsletter, hear why our students read to dogs, and more:

  • Dogs Inspire Confidence in Struggling Readers
  • Shadow Talks Equity at Bridger School
  • Sensory Tools Go Mainstream at Rosa
  • Clarendon Pilots Head Start Sensory Space
  • Thank You, Donors, for a Great Year!

View the full newsletter.

Spirit Mountain Community Fund Supports Shadow Project Program Expansion

Spirit Mountain Community Fund Supports Shadow Project Program Expansion

The Portland, Ore.-based nonprofit will use a $38,000 grant to advance equity for children with learning challenges

March 15, 2017 (Portland, Ore.) – The Shadow Project, a Portland, Ore., nonprofit committed to making school more accessible and engaging for children with learning challenges, has received a $38,000 grant from the Spirit Mountain Community Fund. Shadow Founder and Executive Director Christy Scattarella, M.A., received the grant in a March 15 ceremony in Grand Ronde.

“The Shadow Project can be the difference between a struggling child finding the way to success, or finding themselves left behind,” said the Spirit Mountain Community Fund in a statement. “Their innovative approach makes a demonstrable difference in the lives of children. Spirit Mountain Community Fund is grateful for their passion and dedication, and are proud to support their vital work.”

The one-year grant will support The Shadow Project’s expansion of services beyond the special education classroom to provide full day, wrap-around support for students with disabilities such as dyslexia and autism at eight high-needs schools. The goal is to close the opportunity gap by increasing access to innovative materials and strategies that address unmet learning needs, and build teacher capacity to support these promising students.

“The need is staggering,” said Scattarella. “Portland teachers rank support for special education students their number one unmet professional development need. We appreciate Spirit Mountain’s investment in reducing disparity for our overlooked children so they can achieve their potential.”

The Spirit Mountain Community Fund is the philanthropic arm of The Confederated Tribes of Grande Ronde, distributing grants to non-profit organizations in 11 counties, government agencies in Polk and Yamhill counties, and the nine federally recognized tribes in Oregon, to improve the quality of life in Northwest Oregon.

View or download the full release here.

Why Savannah Reads to Her Dog

Why Adam Reads to His Dog

Shadow Talks Equity at Bridger School

Shadow Talks Equity at Bridger School

The Shadow Project recently teamed with Portland Public Schools’ Bridger Elementary to coordinate a bilingual Family Equity Summit for 75 families on growth mindset, offering tips for how to motivate children in the classroom.

Growth mindset is a way for teachers to encourage struggling learners to keep trying even when the work is challenging. Praising hard work and effort instead of intelligence cultivates productivity and ultimately success in the classroom.

The Shadow Project’s unique goal setting sheets are designed to instill a growth mindset in children with learning challenges such as dyslexia, ADHD, and autism. Setting small goals, and then celebrating the achievement of those milestones motivates kids to learn. Sensory tools are integral to helping children with learning challenges.

“This year at Bridger, we are all learning about mindfulness and how to achieve a growth mindset,” said Principal Lydia Poole. “The Shadow Project has provided us with a sensory space that has mindfulness tools to help us meet the needs of our students. The tools help our students be more productive in class and have less anxiety.”

Bridger’s sensory space has tools such as handheld fidgets for calm and focus, kinetic sand, nubby cushions, and building blocks. It also has popular print books, like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and a massive audiobook library for kids who read with their ears.

Shadow Project Program Coordinator Alejandra Gurrola gave a bilingual presentation at the Family Equity Summit to help kids and parents access the audio library throughout the school day.

Sixth grader, Frank, says he prefers science to reading, but he’s giving the audiobooks a try. “Reading is a struggle,” he said. “I don’t really like it because it’s hard.”

To help kids like Frank catch up with their peers, Bridget Speech Language Pathologist Betsy Shaughnessy has provided access to audiobooks for 50 kids at Bridger this winter. “I love the audiobooks,” said Betsy, whose professional goal through the district is to ensure all of her students on IEPs (Individualized Education Programs) have an audiobook account and read at least one audiobook.

“They are another tool for students to get excited about learning,” she said. “For students who are strong auditorially, all they have to do is listen to the books to gain the knowledge and vocabulary skills that can advance their reading level.

“We love them.”