Shadow Project a hit at Grandhaven

A Shadow Project story from Yamhill County.

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Shadow Project a hit at Grandhaven

Published: April 26, 2008

Shadow Project a hit at Grandhaven


Of the News-Register

Ryan Hutchison was destined to be just another learning-disabled kid – someone who struggled all his life with basic reading and writing skills. Thanks to the Shadow Project, though, the fifth-grader is back on the track to success.

Jolene Anderson, his LRC teacher at Grandhaven Elementary School, likes to use Ryan’s story as an example of how well the program can work. “His is one that really stands out,” she said.

Under the program, offered in several McMinnville elementary schools, participants earn Shadow Bucks when they turn in homework, make an effort to modify unruly behavior or make an extra effort to grasp a difficult educational concept.

They then get to go to the Shadow Store and make purchases. The store stocks educational toys, learning-centered books, art and school supplies, clothing items and even gift items for family members, all brand new.

Ryan used some of his Shadow Bucks to buy books that were well above his reading level at the time.

So Anderson made a deal with him. If he would read a chapter at a time in one of his new books, and write a report on that chapter, he could earn more Shadow Bucks.

The youngster has now read all of his newly acquired books, chapter by chapter. As a result, his reading level has increased dramatically, and so has his writing ability.

“This is positive for him,” Anderson said. “He uses the tools to learn more.”

The reward system has motivated Ryan to keep setting higher goals and stretching to reach them. He now writes his own stories and reads them to classmates.

With his Shadow Bucks, he has bought a journal and yet more books. “He’s been using what he has bought in the Shadow Store to better himself,” Anderson said.

Grandhaven launched the program with the start of fall classes in September. It was founded by Christy Scattarella to help her son, Alex, when he was in the second grade.

The children relate to Alex, Anderson said, because he was also learning disabled, but went on to win admission to the University of Denver.

Like them, he just learned differently. But he made it to college anyway.

It gives them hope, she said.


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