WALLA WALLA, Wash., June 26, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — 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 re-evaluate 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.'”
His reflection helped start a cultural shift in the school with buy-in from the school’s entire staff. The new approach means teachers and staff help students process their emotions instead of only punishing them when they act out. Each staff member models forgiveness for the students at Lincoln, many of whom see little of it elsewhere in their lives.
“When I came here, I started doing my work more,” said one student, who had planned to drop out of school, just like the rest of his family. “Here the teachers help you more, so I started concentrating more and passing all of my classes. I started getting all A’s.”
In addition to feeling more motivated, students say the new approach makes them feel cared for and like that the school feels safe. Staff members say they see major benefits, from fewer outbursts in class to increased attendance and participation.
“You can see the pride start to come out in kids,” said Brooke Bouchey, an intervention specialist at the school. “Many of our kids come here with damaged emotions about education and not feeling as though they’ve been validated or that they’re smart. It’s just such a cool experience to see these guys come through it and go ‘I can do this.'”
Watch the film and learn more about Lincoln High School’s approach at educationvoters.org/walla-walla
The League of Education Voters is an organization made up of parents, students, and leaders who believe in a quality education from cradle to career. Visit us at www.educationvoters.org