History & Impact
Shader Croft is committed to helping youths improve their academic skills and develop the personal skills which will allow them to continue to grow during the coming school year and beyond. We have succeeded in fulfilling our commitment to youth for almost twenty years and here is the proof.
We make a difference!
Take a Look
Since 2001, with innovative research-based programming, Shader Croft has helped close that gap. A recent study, by an independent research firm (Peer Associates), indicates an elimination of “summer learning loss” – as evidenced by quantitative data from spring and fall reading assessments – for General and Special Education students who participated in the Shader Croft program as compared to students who did not participate in the program. For participating ELL students versus non-participating ELL students, the impact was even greater.
In the early years we knew the program was impactful because the students, their teachers and their parents told us it was. But we wanted documentation, so we began formally surveying students, parents and teachers asking them what impact they saw as a result of a particular student’s participation in the program. Results of those surveys were quantified and graphed for each year starting in 2011. Take a look.
The Shader Croft School back-story: Shader Croft was established in 2000 by Steve Hyde and Eric Mortensen who were colleagues at Edmunds Middle School in Burlington Vermont. They both had found their calling as educators working with early adolescent students. Students were just beginning to discover both themselves and the challenges of adult living that lay ahead. What many youths of this age needed were opportunities to discover themselves, explore the world and build competence and confidence. Eric and Steve also felt a deep commitment to helping those students who were lacking in any of those areas. Eric and his colleague, Larry O’Keefe, had developed a model that incorporated all of these ideas and ran a program for many years at Edmunds Middle School, the Paradise Project, putting those ideas into action.
Shader Croft has developed a similar model to the Paradise Project but turned to focus its attention on those young adolescents who were struggling to develop necessary competencies, particularly in the area of literacy. To help with that particular focus, Suzanne Davia, a special educator in the Montpelier school system, was recruited to join the team to help with developing instruction models and approaches that were effective with students struggling to develop competency in reading, writing and speaking.
The summer of 2001: Our inaugural program in 2001 served seven middle school students. Those seven students participated in a four-week program that centered around student-organized and led trips to venues around the state that the students selected. They also received hours of reading instruction using materials that prepared them for these adventures and spent many more hours learning how to write about what they did so they could share their experiences with family and friends.
Since 2001: Many summer programs have followed with many more student-organized trips to places all over Vermont and beyond. The program added the focus of meeting people to learn from them. We have met hundreds of interesting people from whom we learned so much. All these community-based and student-led adventures provided the focus for developing the students’ reading, writing, speaking and listening skills as well as important youth development competencies.
Over that time, we have grown from one program to as many as five with as many as twelve students in a program. We have also added programming specifically designed for middle school and young high school English Language Learners. We have provided these special summer learning opportunities to over 410 students.