2020 Trauma-Informed Educational Leadership Summit

Starting at 8:oo a.m. on both Thursday, August 20 and Friday August 21

Paper Tigers (Movie)

Paper Tigers follows a year in the life of an alternative high school that has radically changed its approach to disciplining its students, becoming a promising model for how to break the cycles of poverty, violence and disease that affect families.

Summit Agenda

Day 1

8:00 a.m. Welcome
8:15 a.m. Paper Tigers Q&A
8:30 a.m. What We Know To Be True…. Presentation
10:00 a.m. Q&A from Presentation
10:15 a.m. Break
10:30 a.m.

Team Work Session

Discussion Prompts:

  1. Why is our own self-care so important as we work with trauma impacted students who haven’t learned the skill of self-regulation?
  2. What are some strategies and activities that we can put in place for our staff when they return to school and re-enter the school environment that will provide a climate of emotional and physical safety?
  3. What are some strategies and activities that we can put in place for our students when they return to school and re-enter the classroom environment that will provide a climate of emotional and physical safety?
11:00 a.m. Regroup for Sharing of Small Group Reentry Plans
noon Lunch
12:30 p.m. The Five Critical Steps for Implementing A Trauma Responsive Approach
2:00 p.m. Q&A
2:30 p.m. Closing

Day 2

8:00 a.m. Welcome
8:15 a.m. Building your Leadership Team and Student of Concern Model
9:15 a.m. Action Plan (Team Work Session)
9:45 a.m. Regroup for Sharing
10:15 a.m. Break
10:30 a.m. Reframing Our Language to Hold Our Students Accountable Through Caring Adult Relationships
11:30 a.m. Lunch

Team Work Session


  1. Finishing Action Plan
  2. Identifying what needs to be in place to implement trauma responsive strategies and practices.
  3. Identifying tools for tracking data and implementation progress from resources provided in the Trauma Informed School Guide.
1:00 p.m.

CARE Coach Feedback

1:30 p.m. Q&A
2:00  Closing



“Paper Tigers is emotional, but not sappy. The dedication and passion of the teachers and staff at Lincoln shines, and the school’s vibrant personalities are captivating. The film illustrates the ACE concept, but shows students as humans, not statistics.” 

Walker Orenstein

Seattle Times

Trauma-Informed School Leadership Summit

Learn the why and how of the development of a trauma-responsive & relationship-centered culture at Lincoln HS in Walla Walla, WA, led by Principal
Sporleder. Understand his journey as a school leader, and work together to develop vision and transformational systems for your school.

Registration has closed. Please contact amber.mcgill@hdesd.org for more information.

Summit At-a-Glance

Dates: Thursday, August 20 and Friday August 21
Speaker: Jim Sporleder


  • Registrants will get screening access to Paper Tigers documentary and Q&A session with Jim Sporleder.
  • Culture of Care Priority Schools will have additional time with Jim for more of a deep dive into strategies & implementation as we prepare for the school year.

About Paper Tigers

“That’s where the bad kids went.”
Paper Tigers follows six troubled teens over the course of a year at Lincoln Alternative High School in rural Walla Walla, Washington. Considered a last chance before dropping out, many students come to Lincoln with a history of behavioral problems, truancy, and substance abuse. Then, in 2010, Principal Jim Sporleder learned about the science of what a rough childhood does to a developing brain. “Stressed brains can’t learn” was what he took away from an educational conference. He returned to his school convinced that traditional punishments like suspension were only exacerbating the problems of the students there. Sporleder says: “I was hunting everywhere for the curriculum. It’s not a curriculum. So it was trying to figure out, how do you take this theory and put it into practice?”

Sporleder invited the staff, as well as the students, to learn about the landmark Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study, which shows that stressful events during childhood—like divorce, domestic violence, or living with someone with a mental illness—massively increases the risk of problems in adulthood. Problems like addiction, suicide and even heart disease have their roots in childhood experience. Suspension became a last resort as the school formed an in-school suspension program, keeping the kids in contact with the staff and caught up with their homework. They also established a health center on campus so the students would have ready access to pediatricians and mental health counselors. The biggest challenge for the teachers was to consider the source of the kids’ behavior. Science teacher Erik Gordon realizes: “The behavior isn’t the kid. The behavior is a symptom of what’s going on in their life.”

Told with intimate vérité and diary cam footage, Paper Tigers is a testament to what the latest developmental science is proving: that one caring adult can help break the cycle of adversity in a young person’s life. We follow students like Aron, a senior who avoids eye contact and barely speaks in class; freshman Kelsey, who struggles with meth addiction and abusive relationships; and Steven, a senior who has been in and out of juvenile hall since junior high for fights and threatening teachers. As the teachers slowly gain their students’ trust, they hear harrowing tales of physically abusive and negligent parents, homelessness, sexual abuse… The list goes on. Despite the upheaval in their home lives, the students find the support they need at Lincoln to make academic progress, and find less destructive ways of coping. They also find hope for becoming healthy and productive adults as they go out into the world.

Register for the Event