SHADOW PROJECT

Changing Lives for Children with Learning Challenges

aka The Shadow Project   |   Portland, OR   |  www.shadow-project.org

Mission

The Shadow Project exists to make learning more accessible and engaging for children with disabilities, so they can achieve their full potential. We work with special education teachers in predominantly low-income schools to accelerate achievement and foster autonomy for students who are affected by dyslexia, ADHD, autism and trauma. Starting with one classroom, we have gone on to help nearly 12,500 of our community’s most pervasively under-served students to develop essential skills for school and life success, including goal-setting, perseverance and daily reading.

Ruling year info

2003

Principal Officer

Christy Scattarella

Main address

2154 N.E. Broadway #130

Portland, OR 97232 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

65-1166066

NTEE code info

Educational Services and Schools - Other (B90)

Remedial Reading, Reading Encouragement (B92)

Elementary, Secondary Ed (B20)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Struggling academically before the pandemic, students with disabilities are now predicted to “regress even more,” according to the Education Civil Rights Alliance. Negative impacts on their reading ability, social development, and emotional well-being are expected to be profound, especially for children in special education from communities of color, who face the double barriers of racism and able-ism and comprise 52% of our students. The Shadow Project is tackling this crisis by: 1) Addressing what special education teachers have identified as their greatest need: keeping their students engaged and persevering with learning. 2) Elevating the voices of children in special education, especially black and brown children who are the most adversely affected by the entrenched disparities in our public education system

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

The Shadow Project

The unique Portland-based nonprofit has partnered with special education teachers to strengthen well-being and academic success for nearly 12,500 promising students affected by dyslexia, ADHD, autism and/or trauama. Students in grades K-8 develop strong academic habits and social-emotional skills, supported by programs that set high expectations and celebrate the inherent worth of every child:

GOAL-SETTING Special education teachers use our proven system to empower children to be leaders in their own learning. Students recognize themselves as capable and courageous when they set and meet their own ambitious goals. Outcome: 89% of students report they continue trying, even when school is difficult.

READING MENTORS: Books come alive for struggling readers through a unique program that combines two proven strategies: 1)Assistive reading technology designed for children with learning challenges and 2)Trained mentors who motivate students to set reading goals and celebrate progress. This program was featured at the 2019 International Dyslexia Association Conference.
Outcome: 71% of students gain 1 to 2 years in reading ability.

SUPER-SENSORY SPACES give chronically-stressed children regular breaks with therapeutic equipment, practicing callming skills so they can return to the classroom focused, relaxed, and ready to learn. Outcome: 73% of students improve self-regulation, a key predictor of academic and life success.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
People with disabilities

Where we work

Awards

People's Choice Award for Shadow Project video, to recognize organizations and indivdiuals striving to make a difference in the world 2010

The Annenberg Explore/Hatch Project

Staewide Education Citizen of the Year 2008

Oregon Education Association

"Making a Difference" award in Education 2011

City of Portland

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

The Shadow Project exists to make learning more accessible and engaging for children with disabilities, so they can achieve their full potential. We work with special education teachers in predominantly low-income schools to accelerate achievement and foster autonomy for students who are affected by dyslexia, ADHD, autism and trauma. So far, we have helped more than 13,000 of our community’s most pervasively under-served students to develop essential skills for school and life success, including goal-setting, perseverance and daily reading. Just over half of these children are from communities of color and face the double barriers of racism and able-ism.

Shadow Project’s goal is to transform school into an inclusive place where all students can thrive and belong.

Our organization provides evidence-based tools and strategies tailored to the needs of students with learning challenges. We also support educators in integrating these resources into their curricula, and building their skill sets for providing a trauma-informed, culturally responsive learning environment. The Shadow Project is equipping a record 45 schools with programs to ensure students with disabilities receive the support and resources they need to persevere during another volatile school year. In the long run, the organization will remain primarily school-based, but we also plan to continue offering virtual programming to support students wherever they are learning, helping to close the opportunity gap for our capable learners of diverse backgrounds. Goals include:

1. Scale up programs. This includes GOAL SETTING, which equips special education teachers with a proven social-emotional learning system they incorporate into their daily curricula to increase student motivation, autonomy and participation in online learning. Our virtual READING MENTORS program provides caring mentors to set reading goals in classrooms as well as through online “book-club” style meetings and celebrate student progress. Children receive unlimited access to assistive reading technology designed for their needs.

2. Empower parents with tools and resources that help their students manage stress and stay engaged in schoolwork. Our collaboration with Providence Swindell’s Resource Center, which supports Oregon parents and caregivers of children with disabilities, feeds this work.

3. Elevate student voice, especially from BIPOC communities. Current and past students share their stories through short videos, inspiring other students, and raising community appreciation for
a population that deserves to be seen and heard.

The Shadow Project envisions a day when all Oregon students with disabilities will have the opportunity to achieve their full potential. Learning in flexible, adaptable classrooms led by teachers who are trained and supported inclusive tools and strategies, they will thrive in an environment where differences are appreciated.

Unfortunately, bias and low expectations have created systemic barriers to success for these promising students, resulting in decades of devastating educational outcomes. In 2019, only 42% of students with disabilities graduated on time with a standard diploma, vs. 82% of their non-disabled peers.

The Shadow Project is tackling these pervasive disparities by building on our successful model of school partnership. With a shared vision, together we will work to replace a “one size fits all” educational environment with flexible learning opportunities that build a school-wide culture of inclusion and high expectations. Our programs provide students access to a range of technologies, tools and techniques that honor each child’s learning style, history and experience. This model addresses the whole child, not just the disability.

Per our STRATEGIC PLAN, The Shadow Project is:

1 Increasing participation in partnerships and coalitions led by communities with a shared goal of advancing educational equity.

2 Adapting The Shadow Project’s program delivery system to reflect the short and long term impact of COVID-19 and racial justice movement on our population and the economy

3. Demonstrating scalable model(s) for transforming school district culture to prove feasibility of state-wide replication.

4. Building demand for system-change across Oregon by strengthening Shadow’s ability to assess impact on students, teachers and families.

5. Developing sustainable financial and human resources that support the full implementation of the organization's strategic plan.

The Shadow Project has a solid track record of developing and sustaining new programs. In the past five years the organization tripled its evidence-based programs from one to three, fostering academic and social-emotional success for thousands of children the state has designated as one of its most under-served student populations. The organization is:

UNIQUE The Shadow Project is the only nonprofit in the country that partners with special education teachers to foster autonomy, achievement and social-emotional well-being for children with disabilities, targeting diverse, low-income neighborhoods.

IMPACTFUL The Harvard Business School Association of Oregon found that every $1 invested in Shadow returns at least $26 in benefits to students and the community. Students develop strong academic habits such as perseverance and goal-setting, and gain up to two years in their reading ability.

CULTURALLY RESPONSIVE AND TRAUMA-INFORMED Shadow Project’s goal is to transform school into an inclusive place where all students can thrive and belong. Our organization provides evidence-based tools and strategies tailored to the needs of students with learning challenges. And we support educators in integrating these resources into their curricula, and building their skill sets for providing a trauma-informed, culturally responsive learning environment.

COLLABORATIVE Shadow Project is a founding member of the Early Literacy Success Alliance (ELSA), a coalition of nonprofits that work together to improve outcomes for children who are falling through the cracks of our education system. We also have a 3-year partnership with Campus Compact of Oregon, an organization committed to advancing institutional equity.

QUALIFIED Our Director of Programs Director is also the parent of a Portland student in special education and spent 15 years overseeing federal programs to increase college access and completion for underserved populations. Our Executive Director and Founder, has received the Oregon Education Association's highest statewide honor; and authored an award-winning children's book that special education teachers use in their classrooms.

When the pandemic struck, Shadow Project worked with special education teachers to adapt our classroom-based programs for a distance environment, keeping over 1,300 students with disabilities persevering and engaged in learning even as their world was upended.

Outcomes Highlights: June 2021
During a tumultuous school year, nearly 90% of teachers reported that The Shadow Project helped their students cope with stress. Additionally:

• 70% of students increased their ability to set and meet goals
• 53% of students increased their enthusiasm for reading
• 88% of teachers reported being better equipped to support student persistence toward learning goals in challenging circumstances
• 83% of teachers reported that Shadow Project was effective in supporting them to create a culturally responsive classroom for BIPOC students
• 77% of parents reported Shadow Project kept their child motivated during remote learning


WHAT"S NEXT:
During the 2021-22 school year, The Shadow Project is serving a record 45 schools.

1. Deliver high-impact programs, equipping special education teachers with our proven goal-setting program that increases student confidence and motivation, participation in online learning, and decreases stress and anxiety.
2. Provide Reading Mentoring & Assistive Technology designed for children with disabilities with unlimited access for home and school use. Disseminate lists of vetted culturally-specific and Spanish Language titles to provide students access o books that reflects the diversity of our student population.
3. Deepen Engagement with Parents with tools and resources that help their students manage stress and stay engaged in schoolwork in an another unsettling and volatile school year
4. Continue to elevate Student Voices, especially those who face the double barriers of ableism and racism
5. Strengthen Existing Trauma-Informed, Culturally-Responsive Educator Training, with an increased focus on the impacts of systemic racism.

Financials

SHADOW PROJECT
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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SHADOW PROJECT

Board of directors
as of 11/1/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Dedee Wilner-Nugent

Wilner-Nugent Consulting

Term: 2020 -

Beth Gandara

Nurse, Kaiser retired

Leslie Waldman

TV Producer

Lisa Lum

Portland Public School District

Caitlin Shrigley

Consultant

Yetu Dumbia

Oregon Home Care Commission

Amy Han

Teach for America

Tom Stenson

Disability Rights Oregon

Jean Gargan

IGNW

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 11/03/2020

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person with a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability