The Shader Croft School

Turning Student Selected Real World Adventures into Stronger Reading, Writing, and Communication Skills.

General and Special Education Services

Program Details

Shader Croft provides a unique and specialized 5 week/20 day, full day intensive literacy program for students entering grades 6 through 8. The program is student-centered and adventure-based with an integrated and experiential curriculum.  A maximum group size of twelve and a student teacher ratio of 3 to 1 provides for personalized and focused instruction. Areas of instruction include: oral expression and comprehension, word knowledge, reading fluency and comprehension and written language.

How the program works

Each student is asked to identify something about which he or she is curious or interested. Then, with the help of a teacher, the student plans an adventure to meet someone in the community who can teach that student, and some of his or her classmates, about that interest.

These student-organized and led adventures, with adult supervision, then become the focus around which the literacy instruction and youth development is based. 

  • Reading – In preparation for an adventure, students will read something about the topic of the adventure to build word knowledge, practice reading fluency and learn and practice a variety of reading comprehension skills such as: pre-reading preparation, identifying text features, finding the main idea and supporting details, making predictions, summarizing, asking questions and more. 
  • Written expression – After the adventure, students will write articles about the experience to be published in a student-produced magazine. Students will apply such skills as: note taking, prewriting organization and outlining, developing a thesis statement, paragraph and essay development and organization, sentence structure, word choice and usage, making connections back to text and other sources and editing.
  • Oral Expression – Students will have both formal and informal learning experiences in the oral expression program. Students participate in a daily morning meeting where every student is expected to contribute, often sharing a reflection about the previous day. Students  will learn how to make phone calls to organize their adventure; as a trip leader, give instructions to other students; learn how to introduce him or herself to community hosts and learn how to express their appreciation to them, as well as learning how to carry on a conversation with a peer or an adult. Students may be asked to tell a story and/or explain how to play a particular game. All students will give a concluding oral presentation.
  • Youth development: Students will participate in a variety of learning experiences that will focus on several areas of youth development and social and emotional learning. They include: personal agency and identity, emotional and cognitive regulation, social skills and relationships. Activities might include: identifying a personal interest around which to plan an adventure, identifying a goal in all learning areas and monitoring one’s progress towards the achievement of that goal, resolving an interpersonal conflict with another student or adult, managing one’s behavior to accomplish a task, accepting feedback from classmates and adults and much more. These learning experiences will happen in both formal and informal learning contexts throughout the program.
  • Technology and visual aids are widely used to enhance instruction in all areas. Students complete the program by giving a brief presentation to his or her classmates.

Daily Routine

Morning meeting of all students and staff, small group academic classes in all instructed literacy areas, lunch, and afternoon academic or recreational community-based adventures. This schedule can vary depending on the scheduling of various learning opportunities that may become available to us.

Sample community based academic and recreational adventures

Swimming lessons, Taiko drumming, photography and videography, hiking, skateboarding, nursing, community-based scavenger hunts, sailing, art and design, music performance and recording, cosmetology and fashion, golfing, cooking, farming, hip hop dancing, computer programming and game design, fishing, many different animal and nature focused adventures, many different sports adventures, performing arts, woodworking, biking, bowling, law enforcement, martial arts, history, magic and the supernatural, blacksmithing and more …

Program rationale and supporting research

This program has been carefully designed and thoughtfully implemented to maximize the learning experience for the population for whom it is designed.

Additional information: All reading and writing teachers are trained educators and all staff members undergo a criminal background check.