Shadow Project motivates special education students

See sample student writing and art about the Shadow project.

Special education students at five elementary schools have a little extra motivation at school through the Portland-based nonprofit Shadow Project, an incentive program for students that uses "Shadow Bucks" to reward behavior and improvement.

The program has been in place at Grandhaven Elementary School for four years and has expanded to Buel, Columbus, Memorial and Newby elementary schools. This year, the project received a McMinnville Education Foundation grant for $1,000 to purchase incentive prizes such as books and art supplies.

Students get Shadow Bucks from teachers that they can spend in the Shadow Store. They may buy items such as pencils, book packs with hot chocolate, fleece blankets and educational toys. Anderson and a few volunteers purchase the items, which usually cost within a $1-3 price range.

Anderson said many of the students enjoy purchasing items for family members and friends. She said the program is also teaching students how to save and budget for what they want. If they cannot afford an item they would like to purchase, they can put it aside until they have saved enough Shadow Bucks.

"We have seen progress in our students since we started the Shadow Project," said special education teacher Jolene Anderson. "There is an improvement in attitudes, achievement and expectations."

The Shadow Project serves approximately 1,200 students in Portland, Yamhill County and Hillsboro.

For more information about the Shadow Project or to donate small items for the program, contact Jolene Anderson.