Paper Tigers

The documentary Paper Tigers is an intimate look into the lives of selected students attending an alternative school specializing in educating traumatized youth. The film examines the inspiring promise of Trauma Informed Communities – a movement showing great promise in healing youth struggling with the dark legacy of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).

Lincoln High School in Walla Walla, Wash. was the last stop for students who struggled to fit in and succeed in traditional school settings. When principal Jim Sporleder took over, he changed the focus of the school to become trauma-informed – to identify students who were fighting battles outside the walls of the school building and to help them find the resources they need to succeed, to become resilient. It worked. Test scores skyrocketed. Graduation rates increased tremendously. The expulsion rate plummeted. Jamie Redford made a documentary film about the school’s success.

If you’re an IEA member interested in showing the Paper Tigers movie in your area and hosting a discussion afterward, please contact your region office. If you don’t know where your region office is, please contact IEA Connect ( or 844-IEA-1800).