Reading Abilities Boosted by Shadow, Says Survey

Reading Abilities Boosted by Shadow, Says Survey

The Shadow Project contributes to students’ abilities to meet third grade reading benchmarks, according to the organization’s 2015 Teacher Survey on Student Impact.

Third grade reading benchmarks are a key indicator of high school graduation, and 87 percent of teachers in The Shadow Project with students in early elementary grades report that our program helps strengthen student abilities to persevere despite challenges and setbacks, perceive themselves as capable learners, gain confidence in their academic abilities, and take pride in their accomplishments.

The annual Teacher Survey on Student Impact is designed to gather quantitative and qualitative data from the 49 special education teachers and speech language pathologists who participate in The Shadow Project.

“The survey is a vehicle to measure outcomes and evaluate how we can make our program stronger,” said The Shadow Project Founder and Executive Director Christy Scattarella. “A number of teachers told us that The Shadow Project helped immeasurably in motivating students who have historically shown low interest in school, that the program helped many children jump a reading level or more, that students’ perceptions of their academic prowess greatly improved, and that with school success, student behaviors often changed for the better, too.”

Highlights from Teacher Survey on Student Impact 2015

  • 87% of participating teachers report that The Shadow Project contributes to an increase in students’ abilities to reach third grade reading benchmarks because it helps students:
  • Persevere despite challenges and setbacks (96%)
  • Perceive themselves as capable learners (92%)
  • Gain confidence in their academic abilities (88%)
  • Take pride in their accomplishments (84%)
  • 87% report that having The Shadow Project as a resource has increased their teaching time, on average, by 32%.
  • 58% of teachers whose students experience aversion related absenteeism identified The Shadow Project as contributing to improved attendance, which has improved, on average, by 47%.
  • 79% report that The Shadow Project contributes to lower rates of exclusionary discipline (8.6% versus14% for special education students in the Portland Public School District.
  • 92% report that The Shadow Project motivates students who have historically shown low interest in school.
  • 85% report that since having The Shadow Project in their classroom, their students have tools that help them focus and engage in learning, including multi-sensory items.
  • 72% report that students choose to earn books from The Shadow Project that they take home to read with their families.

The vast majority of teachers report that since having Shadow as a resource, students are developing the attributes of a growth mindset, which research has identified as key to motivation and achievement for children at risk:

  • 93% of teachers report that at least half of their students now recognize that their ability and competence grows with effort.
  • 85% report that at least half of their students now confidently set and achieve goals.
  • 82% report more than half of their students now self-regulate their behavior to a greater extent.

Anecdotes from Teacher Survey on Student Impact 2015

“A fourth grade student didn’t know how to read. She began the school year saying, “I can’t learn!” She struggled each day, but worked very hard. Her academic growth was slow and she would cry and say, “I hate being dumb.” We set small goals and used The Shadow Project incentives as rewards. By the end of the year, she was reading at an end of first grade level. She is still behind her peers, but is reading!”

–Stephanie Kendall, Special Education, Glenfair Elementary

“At the beginning of the year I had a student tell me she did not need to learn how to read because she was on welfare, and that was ‘all she would ever need’. By the end of the school year she was reading at grade level and told me she wants to be a nurse when she grows up.”

   –— Heather Freeman, Special Education, Newby Elementary

“I had a student who started coming to me at the end of last year. The child had been homeless and had missed about half a year of school. The kiddo at first was not happy about seeing me for reading. But when he learned about The Shadow Project and started getting more involved, he became engaged and his reading skills took off. If I did not have The Shadow Project in my school, it is very likely he would not have been as motivated. The Shadow Project is making a BIG impact in my school, and I am so grateful my students and I are a part of this program.”

–Greg Flenniken, Special Education, Maplewood Elementary

“I had a fourth grader with a significant history of school aversion-related absences. She has always been two grade levels behind in all areas, but this year was different. Her attendance has improved 40 percent, and she is now only a grade level behind in reading.”

–LaShell Holton, Special Education, Markham Elementary

“I had a group of fourth and fifth grade boys having a really hard time staying focused and completing tasks. When I saw their attention dwindling, I reminded them that they are capable and intelligent. Often, I used the incentives the Shadow Project provided me to encourage these boys to persevere. All the boys finished their end of year projects on time and with pride in their hard work and dedication.”

–Melody Finnamori, Special Education, Peninsula







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