Siletz Tribal Charitable Contribution Fund Makes Reading More Engaging for Children in Special Education

Students in Portland and Yamhill County schools will receive tailored books and reading tools through a grant awarded to The Shadow Project.

The Shadow Project, a nonprofit that partners with primarily low-income schools to foster academic success 1,600 students with disabilities, has received a $7,000 grant from the Siletz Tribal Charitable Contribution Fund.

The Siletz gift will enable The Shadow Project to distribute more than 3,000 books that mirror the cultural and learning backgrounds of diverse learners, whose challenges include dyslexia, ADHD and autism. The Shadow Project will also equip select schools with audio-visual libraries designed for readers who struggle with print text, making books come alive for children who do not read the traditional way.

Shadow Founder and Executive Director Christy Scattarella, M.A., received the grant at a November 2 ceremony at Chinook Winds. “School should not be a place of shame and frustration,” said Scattarella. “The Siletz Tribal Charitable Contribution Fund is ensuring that students in special education have access to the books and reading technology tailored to the way they learn, so they can read and achieve.”

The Siletz Tribal Charitable Contribution Fund is the philanthropic arm of The Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, distributing grants to non-profit organizations and local governments in 11 counties, and to Native American organizations and activities. Since its inception in 1999, the Siletz Charitable Contribution Fund has distributed more than $11.3 million in grant awards.

Download the full release here. (PDF)

Dinner Cruise to Benefit Courageous Kids

Dinner Cruise to Benefit Courageous Kids

Join us Jan. 19 for Red Gala Foundation’s dinner and dancing cruise aboard The Columbia Sternwheeler to benefit The Shadow Project. Fewer than 100 tickets remain so click now to buy.

Boarding starts at 7 p.m., and the boat leaves dock at 7:30 p.m. sharp.

Dinner is included with the the $70 ticket. There is a no host bar, silent auction, DJ, dancing, and much more!

The Sternwheeler is located at 1000 SW Naito Parkway.


The Shadow Project Helps Build Perseverance

The Shadow Project Helps Build Perseverance

Ronan, a third grader with dyslexia, didn’t want to read aloud, because his classmates sometimes made fun of his slow pace. Ronan’s teacher used the Shadow Project to help Ronan persevere, and he doubled his reading speed. In fact, 89% of Shadow students say they continue trying, even when schoolwork is difficult.

Ronan’s teacher, Heather Stearns, set regular reading goals with Ronan, and used Shadow reinforcers to build his confidence. Naturally quiet, Ronan began emerging from his shell and is now the first one in class to raise his hand to share ideas. He is completing work regularly and is reading 50 percent faster than before, said Heather.

Mom, Alissa, is thrilled. “For Ronan, school is really hard. Watching him struggle with reading has been the hardest for me as a parent.

“But Ronan is so determined,” said Alissa. “No matter how frustrating the work is, he never gives up. He has a great attitude. I’m so grateful that organizations like The Shadow Project are out there to get Ronan the tools that he needs.

“The Shadow Project has been very positive. The program does a good job of making reading something you can do so you’re never embarrassed or ashamed. The news of Ronan’s improvement made my whole year!”

Donate now by clicking here.


Classroom Behavior Improves with Sensory Spaces

Classroom Behavior Improves with Sensory Spaces

School can be stressful for children with disabilities, leading to behavior that affects the whole class. But in Oregon schools whose students have access to The Shadow Project’s SuperSensory Literacy Spaces, teachers report that 73 percent of children strengthened their behavioral management skills.

Without tools to cope productively with the challenges of disability, trauma, and chronic mental health issues, students can act out and be disruptive, and the effects are immediate and long-term. Instruction time for all students decreases.  Students can be suspended or expelled, decreasing their chances of graduating high school.

Responding to the call from educators to have more resources to address their students’ increasing mental health and behavior needs, The Shadow Project’s SuperSensory Literacy Spaces alter this trajectory.

Our multi-sensory breakout spaces empower children with tools to develop and practice self-regulation skills, a key determinant of life success and mental health.  Last year, 61 percent of students were less likely to have behaviors that interfere with peer learning, and 39 percent increased attendance, according to educator observation.

Read more about student outcomes here, and see our spaces in action at one North Portland school.


Shadow in Oregonian Season of Sharing

Shadow in Oregonian Season of Sharing

The Shadow Project is honored to be one of 10 Portland education nonprofits selected for The Oregonian’s annual Season of Sharing. Read “Empowering Students with Special Needs” and then donate (your gift will be matched!) through the newspaper’s Facebook fundraiser.

The Oregonian highlights Shadow’s Reading Mentoring program in which students up to three years behind in reading have gained as much as two years in ability. The program equips students in special education with audiovisual reading technology, and a trained adult volunteer to help them set and achieve reading goals. The mentoring program is now in eight schools in Portland and McMinnville.

Says Woodmere Principal Katherine Polizos, “The audiovisual technology gives kids who are struggling to decode words at grade level access to text, and to use reading for learning in a way that they are not able to, at a higher level. It’s giant! A lot of kids ask to use the audiovisual technology because it is a cool thing, and cool has a lot of cache with kids.”

Polizos said that the access to assistive technology through The Shadow Project has created a “huge culture shift” at the school. For example, she recently overheard two second graders excitedly discussing Minecraft Ninja, a book they were both reading. One student read the print version; the other used the audio-visual version. In the past, those students would have not been able to connect over a book, she said.

Portland Timbers Mascot Joey Webber, who is a volunteer Reading Mentor with The Shadow Project, had a difficult time learning to read as a child. “Having the opportunity to share that challenge and help these kids realize their potential is a very special experience,” he said.

“The most impactful part of The Shadow Project mentoring program is for the kids to have someone consistent who will show up every week, long term, to help them set goals and motivate them to continuously practice their reading. As they learn they can depend upon their person, they really excel.”