Dine at McMenamins Feb. 28 for Shadow Kids

Dine at McMenamins Feb. 28 for Shadow Kids

Mark your calendars!

Beginning at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 28, the McMenamins at N.E. 15th & Broadway will donate 50% of all food and beverage sales to The Shadow Project.

McMenamins selected Shadow Project for its monthly Friends and Family night, which benefits local charities. Grab your friends and family and help us raise money for our children with learning challenges. All sales that evening qualify, whether you stay for a drink, order take-out, or come in a group.

McMenamins is open until 11 p.m., and we highly recommend the tater tots. Hope to see you there!


Thank You for Supporting our Children

Thank You for Supporting our Children

Thanks to the generosity of our individual donors, we met our holiday fundraising goal of bringing more learning tools to students with challenges. A special shout out to our recent foundation and corporation donors, and year-end matching partner!

The Autzen Foundation * The Collins Foundation * H.W. Irwin and D.C.H. Irwin Foundation * James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation * Siletz Charitable Contribution Fund * OCF Joseph E. Weston Public Foundation * RE/MAX Equity Group Foundation * Juan Young Trust * Arlene Schnitzer

See our list of generous donors here.


Partnering with Schools for Inclusive Classrooms

Partnering with Schools for Inclusive Classrooms

To help instill calm and focus in children with learning challenges, The Shadow Project has provided more than 100 teachers in two school districts with sensory toolkits, and then trained them on introducing sensory tools in their classrooms.

Sensory tools are intended to build self-regulation, that is, helping children manage their behavior and thinking so they can listen, pay attention, and persevere through challenging or frustrating learning experiences. Nationally published research from Oregon State University found that at-risk children with stronger self-regulation skills score higher in reading than those with weaker regulation.

Shadow staff, in collaboration with occupational therapists, have trained more than 100 Portland area teachers on sensory tools for focus and calm in the classroom. The tool kits are a condensed version of the SuperSensory Literacy Spaces that Shadow has created for special education classrooms.

“These aren’t new tools,” says Jamie Lok, a behavioral classroom teacher at West Powellhurst Elementary in the David Douglas district. “But I now have a better understanding of why we need them. I love that I can teach students in my class how to use these tools, and that they will be available in other settings so they won’t look different to their peers. This is fantastic!”

Teachers received two-part trainings from The Shadow Project on introducing sensory tools into their classroom. Each teacher received a box of occupational therapist-approved handheld fidgets, a box of kinetic sand with tools, and an oversized comfortable chair.

Fifth Grade Woodmere Teacher Emily Kinney noticed that the tools are providing her students with better focus during silent reading. “All my kids used to sit quietly, but not all of them were reading,” she says. “Now, with the fidgets, I do notice an improvement in sustained focus, especially during reading and writing.”

In a 2017 evaluation of a sensory training pilot at Rosa Parks, 71% of teachers reported that their students who use sensory tools are less anxious; 50% reported students spend more time reading, and 62% noticed a reduction in disruptive classroom behavior.

“To introduce the tools, we talked about how a fidget is a toy if it is used the wrong way,” said Patrice Pierre, third grade teacher at Rosa Parks, who says 70% of her class this school year regularly use fidgets. “If I have to take it away for being a toy, I will stop the whole class and make that a teachable moment for everyone.

I think a lot of people expect that fidgets will just work. That’s not how we teach. I’m about giving them a chance because the fidgets really do help the kids. You have to see who it’s going to work for, and the kids who it won’t work for, and adjust.

“For us, it has become routine now. It may not work for everyone and that is a realization kids come to also. I wouldn’t have thought they would work so well for practically my whole class.

“I love fidgets. I’m for all of them.”


Shadow Employee Wins Ye? Ian Lima Award

Shadow Employee Wins Ye? Ian Lima Award

Spirit Mountain Community Fund selected The Shadow Project’s Alejandra Gurrola from its 11-county service area for the “Ye? Ian Lima” (Helping Hand) Award, for her dedication to children in special education.

Spirit Mountain Community Fund’s goal is to improve the quality of life in Northwest Oregon through community investments that provide lasting benefits consistent with the Tribe’s culture and values. The Helping Hand award is given annually to a non-manager staff member of a nonprofit organization, who motivates others, demonstrates dedication to mission, and/or inspires others to excel.

The Shadow office received a surprise visit in late December by Spirit Mountain Community Fund board chairman Sho Dozono, Executive Director Mychal Cherry, and Program Coordinator Angela Sears, presenting Shadow’s Program/Volunteer Coordinator with her award.

Alejandra was nominated by Shadow Project Founder and Executive Director Christy Scattarella:

“Using a specialized audio library and a coaching method she created to empower discouraged readers, Alejandra transforms how our students learn to read,” wrote Christy. “Third-grader Anna finished her first book. Sophie stopped “getting mad at school” over reading, calling herself “a courageous student” who doesn’t give up. Eric, a fourth grader who got called “stupid” for reading “baby books,” catapulted two grade levels. At one school, 18 coached students advanced, on average, by 1.4 grade levels.”

Added Christy: “Alejandra helps students set and meet reading goals, reaches out to parents in their native language, and invites them to celebrate their children’s reading success.

“We are so pleased that she is being recognized for her efforts.”


Shadow Students Lead in Reading Contest

Shadow Students Lead in Reading Contest

Halfway through a reading competition for children with disabilities, two Portland Public Schools with The Shadow Project rank in the top 10% nationally. For many students, this is their first reading contest.

Most schools hold reading competitions to engage children in literacy. But for students with learning challenges – who might be reading two or three years below their peers – these traditional contests are often out of reach.

Learning Ally audiobooks, however, which The Shadow Project provides to schools, are specially designed for children who learn differently. Children listen to a book while following highlighted text on a computer or tablet, controlling the settings to suit their unique learning style. Every year, the nonprofit Learning Ally hosts the Great Reading Games, a contest to see which schools can read the most audiobooks in seven weeks.

Using assistive technology, Shadow students read more than 30,000 audiobook pages in January!

Portland schools participating in the 2018 Great Reading Games include Bridger, Woodmere, Rosa Parks, Abernethy, James John, and Sitton schools, with Bridger and Woodmere currently in the top 100 for most audiobook pages completed, and James John not far behind.

Shadow also provides to these schools reading coaches, through which children set goals to increase reading at home.

Kim Giarelli, learning center teacher at Rosa Parks, says tracking students reading for contests is a real motivator.

“Oh, my goodness, a group of fifth graders have come in every day to borrow the iPads and tablet to log into Learning Ally when their class is doing silent reading. Two students have logged in over an hour. It may not seem that significant, but having zero interest in reading to what I see now … it really is.”

Beth Brod, Woodmere learning center teacher, added that her students are more confident readers, thanks to audiobooks, and that reading time is increasing, and consequently reading scores are going up.

Taj, 12, doesn’t like to read because he finds it slow-moving “with all those letters moving around.” But he will try to read when Ms. Brod asks him to read on the audiobooks.

“Audiobooks help because they read the word for you while you listen,” he said. “I have an iPad at home, too, and I read there. Reading faster is my goal.”