Walla Walla's new approach to discipline


A bold new approach to discipline at Lincoln High School in Walla Walla, Washington, has revolutionized the lives of its students. The film Resilient: The School Discipline Revolution in Walla Walla, WA tells the story of how Lincoln High School, a small alternative school in Walla Walla, was able to reduce its suspension rates by 85 percent, almost entirely eliminate expulsions, and increase graduation rates.

Follow principal Jim Sporleder as he explains how learning about the brain science of trauma made him reevaluate the way he approached discipline in his school. “I had to look in the mirror and say, ‘Jim, you are wrong and you need to change,’” he said.

His reflection helped him start a major cultural shift in the school with buy-in from the school’s entire staff. The school’s new approach to discipline means teachers and staff help students process their emotions instead of only punishing them when they act out. The staff hold students accountable for mistakes with compassion, and always welcome them with open arms. Every staff member models forgiveness for the students at Lincoln, many of whom see little of it elsewhere in their lives.