Your Voice Matters

Your Voice Matters

Make your voice heard by advocating for the needs of children with learning-related disabilities in your school and community. School districts across Oregon are seeking input on their plans to use funds from Oregon’s historic Student Success Act, the largest state investment in education in three decades. Students with disabilities, a historically underserved population, stand to benefit from this $1 billion statewide investment.  (Read More)

The Student Success Act is a landmark investment is designated to close achievement gaps for diverse learners and address student mental health and behavioral needs.  You can make sure your school district prioritizes programs for children who learn differently by attending community meetings or completing online community needs assessment surveys.  Check your school district’s website for community meeting dates and survey links.

Expanding Social-Emotional Learning

Expanding Social-Emotional Learning

An estimated 1 in 5 Oregon students has a disability or related challenge that impacts learning. Absent tools to address their needs, these capable students can act out their frustration. The result: a suspension rate more than double that of their peers. Centennial School District is committed to equity for students with disabilities and is partnering with Shadow to bring our SuperSensory Spaces to all the district’s elementary schools. Through this program 73% of students strengthen self-regulation, a key predictor of health and academic success.

“We want kids to be able to stay in class and learn,” says Denise Wright, Centennial’s Director of Student Services, “and we want staff have to tools and resources to support students.” Sensory spaces provide schools with comforting corners filled with tools that stimulate focus and attention and calm stressed and anxious children, many of whom also experience poverty-related trauma like hunger, homelessness, and neglect. Children like “Devan,” who repeatedly ran from his classroom and kicked students when the frustration of learning overwhelmed him, will get daily scheduled breaks in these spaces, and learn positive ways to deal with big emotions, setting them on a life-long course of success. Educator training will help staff examine how racial and cultural bias has led to far higher discipline rates for children of color, and use sensory spaces to bring those rates down. “Equity is our compass,” says superintendent Paul Coakley. “The Sensory Space project will increase our capacity to create a welcoming environment for our students to fully engage in learning.”

Your Business Can Sponsor Student Success

Your Business Can Sponsor Student Success

Transform school for children who are struggling to read. The Shadow Project is seeking sponsors for its Reading Mentors program at several of our 36 partner schools, with ample opportunity for employee volunteerism. A modest school sponsorship will provide critical support for students, who are gaining up to two years in their reading ability and deepening their connection to school. Email christy@shadow-project.org to get involved.

A new report from the Oregon Department of Education found that 82% of elementary and middle school students with disabilities that impact learning do not read proficiently. Students with dyslexia, ADHD, autism and other learning challenges have tremendous potential, but lack a reading format that addresses their needs. The Reading Mentors program equips schools with assistive reading technology designed for struggling readers and provides caring mentors to students who are up to 3 years behind their peers.

We have year-round volunteer opportunities for your employees, ranging from shelving and sorting books to mentoring students for two hours a week. Your staff is also invited to participate in an end-of-year celebration where parents see their children’s reading progress honored, often for the first time. We’ll honor your commitment to children with learning challenges on our website, social media, newsletters and publicity at your sponsor school community.

Oregon Cultural Trust Expands Access to Literature for Children in Special Education

Oregon Cultural Trust Expands Access to Literature for Children in Special Education

Students with disabilities will receive a vast audiovisual library and assistive technology to develop literacy and a love of reading

October 14, 2019 (Portland, OR)The Shadow Project, a Portland nonprofit committed to making school more accessible and engaging for children with disabilities, has received a $19,679 Cultural Development grant from the Oregon Cultural Trust. The grant will expand a Reading Mentors program through which elementary school students are gaining up to two years in reading proficiency and broadening their cultural horizons through literature.

The Oregon Cultural Trust awards Cultural Development grants to recognize and support significant cultural projects that preserve and enhance Oregon’s diverse arts, history, heritage, preservation and humanities efforts.

In Oregon, 79% of students with disabilities do not meet the benchmark of third-grade reading proficiency that predicts high school graduation.

With the support of the Cultural Development grant, The Shadow Project will expand its Reading Mentors program in Portland and McMinnville. At 10 elementary schools, students with dyslexia, ADHD, autism and other disabilities will have unlimited access to a vast audiovisual library that allows them to see and hear words at the same time, making books come alive for the first time. Students also receive assistive reading technology and caring mentors who motivate them to set reading goals, celebrate their progress, and engage them about their favorite new books. 

The Oregon Cultural Trust funds 1400+ nonprofits in Oregon in the areas of arts, heritage, and humanities. With a donation to any (or several) of the 1400+ on the list, Oregonians qualify for a state tax credit.

Why Timber Joey Reads to His Dogs

Portland Timbers mascot Timber Joey shares how reading aloud to his dogs is good practice for his role as a volunteer Reading Mentor with The Shadow Project.

Learn more about volunteering as a Reading Mentor.