Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 5-8-2020


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Professional Doctorate in Educational Leadership (ProDEL)


School of Education

Committee Chair

Dr. Launcelot I. Brown

Committee Member

Dr. Gretchen G. Generett

Committee Member

Dr. Janet M. Sardon


Ruling Our Experiences, Self-Esteem, Social-Emotional Learning Competencies, Rural education, Elementary education, girl programming in public schools


During elementary school years, girls experience social, emotional, and physical changes that affect their abilities to manage relationships and establish positive images of themselves. Given the aforementioned issues, girls need effective elementary school programming to support positive self-esteem and the development of girls’ Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Competencies. The purpose of this mixed-method study focused on evaluating the Ruling Our Experiences (ROX) program for 9/10-year-old girls. The methods used were designed to address the three research questions: Based on the implementation of the ROX program in Yough elementary schools, to what extent do participants exhibit a greater level of positive self-esteem? How do the participants of the ROX program demonstrate Social-Emotional Learning Competencies? To what extent do the participants view the ROX program as creating a safe space for support in their daily lives? Thirty-six fourth grade girls participated in the study. Participants completed a pretest and posttest of ten Likert-Scale items in the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSE Scale). Eighteen girls participated in two focus groups that sought their perception of the effectiveness of the program. The results of a paired-samples t-test demonstrated a statistically significant increase in the participants’ RSES scores following the study. Data from focus group 1 and focus group 2 indicated participants’ growth in their knowledge and understanding of SEL and their abilities to apply skills from the ROX program into their everyday lives. The results suggest a need for girls to have specific programs in elementary school to support their self-esteem and SEL.