The Trauma-informed School: A New Safety-Net Approach to Ending Serious Discipline Issues

Speaker: Jim Sporleder, "Paper Tigers" principal


Webinar Description

“They don’t know the difference between a real tiger and a paper tiger.”  Teacher Erik Gordon,  Paper Tigers

You see these students every day. They come from chronically stressed homes and live in a constant state of “fight or flight.” Many have unpredictable, hair-trigger tempers or are so impossible to reach they seem to want to extinguish themselves, just to be safe.

When Jim Sporleder took on the job of principal of Lincoln Alternative High School in Walla Walla, Washington in 2007, he had never seen a more out-of-control environment. He honestly didn’t know how much he could change the culture of drugs, gangs, truancy, and of disrespectful and disruptive students blowing up at teachers and dropping the “F” bomb until he attended a conference on Adverse Childhood Events (ACEs) and their effects on the developing brain.

Then suddenly everything clicked. In under 5 years, Lincoln High School dramatically reduced office referrals, suspensions and expulsions, an extraordinary story that was documented in the movie Paper Tigers.

Join Jim Sporleder, a pioneer in the development of trauma-informed schools, for a 90-minute webinar focused on a trauma-sensitive approach to reaching kids who are acting out because of adverse life experiences. Jim will share his most compelling stories and give you renewed hope for breakthroughs with your most challenging kids!

Webinar topics:

  • Viewing student behavior and discipline problems through the lens of trauma
  • Creating a caring, relationship-based culture in the classroom, main office and throughout the school
  • Developing your own self-regulation so you can create positive teachable moments with your most struggling students
  • The 5 critical steps to implementing a trauma-informed school
  • Turning the visit to the principal’s office into a self-regulation lesson
  • Holding students accountable within caring relationships
  • Guiding students in the process of self-regulation, creating calm rooms
  • “In-school suspension” –providing alternative options for secondary students to learn how to self-regulate

About the Speaker

When Paper Tigers principal Jim Sporleder first learned about the effects of stress on the developing brain, he knew that he had stumbled on the key to helping his students step out of their highly destructive behavior patterns. Jim introduced the trauma-oriented approach to staff working with students at the troubled Lincoln High School in Walla Walla, WA and the dramatic beneficial effects on rates of graduation and post-secondary studies and on suspension rates are the focus of the widely acclaimed 2015 documentary, Paper Tigers.

Since retiring as principal of Lincoln High School in 2013, Jim is working with school districts and schools across the country, teaching them the steps to becoming a trauma-informed school. Jim is actively involved as a keynote speaker, consultant, and has developed an outreach program to support his Lincoln High School alumni students.  He previously served as principal, assistant principal and special education teacher at Garrison Middle School in Walla Walla for 22 years.


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