Educational Institutions


Changing Lives for Children with Learning Challenges

aka The Shadow Project

Portland, OR


The mission of The Shadow Project is to make school more accessible and engaging for children with learning challenges so they can achieve their full potential. The Shadow Project serves more than 1,600 children in preschool- through- eighth-grade in 34 schools in Portland, Oregon, and its surrounding area.

Ruling Year


Principal Officer

Christy Scattarella

Main Address

2154 N.E. Broadway #130

Portland, OR 97232 USA


children at risk, poverty, low-income, graduation rates, drop out, Learning disability, Learning disabilities, Special Education, autism, communication disorders, dyslexia, ADHD, Makes Learning Accessible for Children with Learning Challenges, Partners with Special Education Teachers, Close the Achievement Gap, literacy, reading,





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Educational Services and Schools - Other (B90)

Remedial Reading, Reading Encouragement (B92)

Elementary, Secondary Ed (B20)

IRS Filing Requirement

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Programs + Results

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The Shadow Project

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Charting Impact

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Historically, The Shadow Project has served children exclusively in the special education classroom. Our FY14-16 Strategic Plan focused on collaboration, building strong relationships with school districts and other stakeholders. This resulted in Shadow being one of six nonprofits selected by Oregon's largest school district, the Portland Public School district, for its "Read Together" initiative to improve third grade reading proficiency in high need schools.

Over the next three years, The Shadow Project will supplement its core, special education classroom-based programming with a more comprehensive service model that brings together principals, special education and general education teachers, occupational therapists, parents, and community partners, to provide wrap-around full-day support for students with learning challenges. With its focus on inclusion and parent engagement, the model aligns with local and national priorities and research about improving outcomes for underserved students by advancing equity.

Comprehensive schools will be fee-for-service as part of a business plan that expands the organization's ability to secure funding from school districts and government. The organization will pilot, evaluate, and standardize this model with the goal of having 40 percent of its schools on the comprehensive plan in FY19.

Our vision is that all Oregon children with dyslexia, ADHD, autism and other disabilities will have the support they need to succeed in school. To further our mission and unleash the untapped potential of these children, we have identified the following three-year strategic goals:

Goal 1: Solidify The Shadow Project's evidence-informed model to support the unmet needs of children with learning challenges.

Goal 2: Develop a pipeline for increasing the number of Title One schools receiving The Shadow Project's comprehensive, full-day services.

Goal 3: Validate the effectiveness of The Shadow Project's programs through an external evaluation process.

Goal 4: Demonstrate to education reform stakeholders at the district and state level how children with learning challenges can succeed when their diverse needs are met.

Goal 5. Adapt the funding and organizational structure of The Shadow Project to strengthen its long-term sustainability and position for its future expansion.

Goal 1:
* Standardize The Shadow Project's core model and comprehensive model by end of year one.

*Develop a volunteer model for service delivery in targeted schools by end of year one.

*Provide teachers at all participating schools with culturally relevant materials and technical assistance that reflect The Shadow Project's diverse population and learning needs by end of year one.

*Provide teachers at all participating schools with additional technical assistance in core services by end of year two.

Goal 2:
*Strengthen relationships with key principals who will advocate for Shadow at the district level.

*Ensure at least 40 percent of Shadow Project schools have comprehensive programs by end of year three.

*Improve reading accessibility for children with learning challenges, resulting in 400 students actively using audio books in school and/or at home by end of year three.

Goal 3:
*identify the indicators of The Shadow Project program that we want to measure in the near- and long-term to guide future resource allocation and program development by end of year one.

*Conduct independent evaluation of The Shadow Project interventions by end of year two.

*Track key indicators of engaged readers, such as increased time spent reading, increased class participation, and/or improved test scores of students using audiobooks by end of year three.

*Continue tracking teacher assessment of program efficacy through annual teacher survey by end of year two.

*Track impact of The Shadow Project interventions across demographic groups to confirm that students from communities of color are making similar progress to white students, or to allow for program adjustments to address this disparity, by end of year three.

Goal 4:
*Meet with at least 10 key policymakers (legislators or school board members) by end of year three.

*Meet with principals of all participating schools by end of year two.

*Solidify the 10 key partnerships that will allow The Shadow Project to accomplish whole school integration, financial sustainability, and robust evaluation by end of year two.

*Position The Shadow Project as a component of effective education reform by developing a packet of collateral that highlight need and impact by end of year one, and targeted online messaging by end of year two.

Goal 5:
*Develop a comprehensive financial plan that supports current and future operations by end of year one.

*Increase government/fee for service to 40 percent of total revenue by end of year three.

*Streamline program supply operations by end of year one.

The Shadow Project was vetted by the Harvard Business School of Oregon in 2011, which found that the organization's social return on investment was 26 to 1, meaning that investing $1 in Shadow produces at least $26 in returns to the state and students. The Shadow Project is a:

THOUGHT LEADER: The Shadow Project is one of six nonprofit organizations selected by the Portland Public School District for a groundbreaking collective impact project, "Read Together," to improve third grade reading and build a culture of literacy at five high-needs schools.

INNOVATOR: The Shadow Project is the only nonprofit of its kind in the country. We have designed and implemented novel tools for students with learning challenges, including Oregon's first SuperSensory Literacy Spaces, and Sensory Toolkits.

COLLABORATOR: To ensure we have strong relationships at the local, state, and national level, leveraging our expertise with like-minded organizations, the Shadow Project partners with: Portland Public Schools, ELSA (the Early Literacy Success Alliance), All Hands Raised, and Learning Ally.

LEAN, EFFICIENT, DIVERSE: The Shadow Project has increased revenues by 90 percent, and staff from 1.75 to 3 FTE, plus a full-time AmeriCorps VISTA, while keeping the cost per child in the program under $250 a year. Our program is led by a Vietnam refugee and former special education teacher who has a deep understanding of disenfranchised populations, as well as the needs of children with disabilities.

The Shadow Project has hired an independent firm for a long-term evaluation of its new comprehensive program. Mountain Measurement will focus on two newly-added Shadow schools, looking at student achievements and academic/social behaviors compared to before the program was introduced to the schools. Both schools have agreed to participate, and the schools and/or district are providing demographic and achievement data.

Shadow will measure success by the degree to which it can make research-based program improvements and use outcomes to attract funders to support scaling.

We will also continue our annual Teacher Survey on Student Impact at all schools in which our program is utilized, a survey that is completed by 100% of participating educators.

At the time of this writing, we are in the first year of a new, three-year strategic plan, what is outlined above.

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Board Leadership Practices

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SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

Not Applicable


Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Not Applicable


Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Not Applicable


Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

Not Applicable


Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?

Not Applicable