Resilience in Action

We are dedicated to bringing resilience strategies into our community and our schools. This page illustrates our partnership with Lincoln High School and The Health Center. Please go back up to “Resilience in Action” on the menu bar to check out our new partnership with our local elementary schools and Head Start Program.

 Check out our research report!

“Higher Resilience and School Performance Among Students with Disproportionally High Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) at Lincoln High, in Walla Walla, Washington, 2009-2013.”

This study was conducted by Participatory Research Consulting as the evaluation of the pilot innovative school practices implemented at Lincoln High School in Walla Walla from 2009 to 2013. The practices were trauma sensitive and focused on supportive relationships. This study identified important experiences among students while at Lincoln High and tested whether students’ resilience had increased and had moderated the expected negative impact of ACEs on school performance.

Starting in 2007, the Walla Walla Community Network decided to develop a unique community response to ACEs through the Children’s Resilience Initiative (CRI). In collaboration with its many local partners, CRI worked to create a community conversant in ACEs, brain development and resilience, and to embed the principles from this research into practices by member organizations. One result of these community efforts was the change in practices made at Lincoln High and at The Health Center, a not-for-profit that provides mental and physical health services to any Lincoln High student.

For this evaluation a survey was developed and administered to Lincoln High students in early 2014. The survey collected answers to resilience scale questions and asked students to reflect back on their school and life experiences since coming to Lincoln High. Student survey responses were merged with ACE survey results and school records. Quantitative and qualitative methods were used to test the relationships between school experiences, resilience, ACEs and school performance.

Results support the thesis that ACE sensitive changes in school practices had significant effects: student resilience increased and moderated the impact of ACEs on school performance.

This pilot may be replicable and achieve similar results in other schools located in communities with similar partners and levels of community capacity.

Through the Lens of Students

Lincoln High School in Walla Walla is a powerful example of the positive outcomes of embedding trauma informed practices into a community. When principal Jim Sporleder realized that it is physiologically impossible for a stressed brain to learn, he took the initiative to change the school’s disciplinary practices and focus on making Lincoln a supportive safe place. As a result Lincoln was able to improve their students academics and well being.

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This page is dedicated to showcasing the triumphs and experiences of Lincoln High students who have been impacted by the focus on resilience and overcoming ACEs

The Health Center at Lincoln

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One way that trauma informed practices are supported at Lincoln High is through The Health Center- a facility that provides mental and physical health care for students in a safe nurturing environment.

Check out their website here- and watch their video

Programs Implemented by CRI in conjunction with other partners:

  • Parenting and Aces Class:
    Through a Gates grant, both the general population of students and those teens parenting a child, were supported through a a daily class dedicated to child development and life skills through the lens of ACEs and resilience taught by Catherine Wolpert.

    Catherine remarks: “These kids are hungry. This is hunger not just for food but for a caring adult. They crave someone to be interested in what they know or what they are doing.”

    The class was a brilliant success and we look forward another year.

    Her students had many positive things to say about the class and teacher:

    “She came at us like…There are no words! She’s an amazing parenting class teacher. I feel really comfortable with her holding my son when I bring him to class sometimes. She’s a very understanding person and I respect her for that. She doesn’t judge when we talk about our family problems because she understands us and our problems! She’s fantastic at what she does.”

    “She has helped me understand resilience very well. With her help of understanding it has made me more confident in being able to be resilient.”

    “It’s a good class & interesting the stuff we talk about and the way she shows she cares. I thought I wouldn’t like it at all.”

  • Health and PE Class:
    Thoughout the school year 30 community members from all sectors of the community and with varying ACEs gave presentations to students in Lincoln’s health class about their experiences with resilience. These community members ranged from a recently graduated high school student who had dealt with drug addiction, to the Chief of Police, to a refugee from the Bosnia conflict, to a nursing student at the local community college who had spent time in a penitentiary for a felony. The students responded very positively to these presentations.

    One student remarks about the class:
    “I believe every school should introduce the ACES and Resilience program. With Resilience we can change the world. There is hope for our society, we cannot give up yet. We can mold our future with Resilience”

    The community members also had positive remarks about their experience presenting to students:
    “I observed that I was connecting with the students from my perspective and how similar we all are in terms of needs, wants, etc.”
    “I had more to learn from these students than what they could learn from me.”
    “Resilience is the key to successful navigation through ACEs and vital to success. We all have resilience of some fashion in our lives. Not only is having resilience important but also recognizing the different types you have around you is equally important when you think your world is crumbling.”
  • “What is Resilience” Exhibit
    Lincoln High School also pretend to two exhibits displaying students responses to the question “What is Resilience?”. Students responded in a variety of media from stories, to drawings to poems that capture the powerful impact that resilience and ACES have on their lives:

Screen Shot 2014 08 06 at 1.28.27 PMBy Madi Biesecker

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By Tommy Barnes

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By Katrina Robbins, inspired by Shane Koyczan’s “To This Day Project”

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By Kalvin Foster

One of the best ways to get an idea of how Lincoln students are affected by the dramatic changes in policy is through their own words. The following remarks were made by students in a comprehensive survey given in Winter of 2014:

“that i get to go to college this is important to me because no one in my family has ever even graduated high school. Lincoln aids in much of this because the teachers show you different colleges and help with financial aid papers and scholarships.”

“I want to graduate from Lincoln High School because I have come to far to quit now and so I can achieve something I never thought I would until I came here. I also want to graduate because I can hold that as a memory that I was here as a part of Lincoln.”

“the most significant change in my life since i started lincoln is that im understanding the work more and the classes are smaller so if i need questions theres always a teacher at my call, its important to me because i have a better understanding on thing im learning”

“My attitude towards a learning environment has changed greatly for the better. My education has never been so important to me until now, and it makes me happy that these changes are so apparent to myself and my family.”

“My proudest moment here at lincoln was my very first drama production. When I first came to lincoln i had so much stage fright, even after being in choir for so many years. but when i came here the drama teacher believed in me so i started to believe in myself and ended up doing great.”

“knowing i have a chance of graduating unlike my other school because lincoln actually help you to try to get you to achieve what we need in life to go on in our future.”

“I’ve struggled with truancy issues at Lincoln high school but when I came to school the staff recognized that I was at school and complimented me. I was awarded for coming to school everyday and the staff helped me understand that its important to come to school and get my education so I can be very successful in my future.”

“The teachers have started treating me with respect. The last teacher to treat me with respect was in Elementary School.”

On the most significant change in their life since coming to Lincoln:

“My self esteem and my friendliness. I actually feel good about myself. Nobody is judging you, and everyone accepts you for who you are. I have a lot of friends now, too. It makes me feel really nice.”

“more happier when i go to lincoln knowing i got friends and were like a big family”

“The most significant change is that I finally figured out what I want to do with my life and that I have friends, students, staff, and my family (which may as well be the people of Lincoln as well as my parents) there to support me”

“The view I have of myself has changed. I feel like I am able to achieve actual academic goals I can now set for myself. I was inquiring to drop out and try for a GED before coming to Lincoln. I now plan to graduate from Lincoln High School and pursue career training at WWCC.”

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Teri Barila
CRI Facilitator
Phone: (509) 301-2488

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