Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Steven J. Danish


Social and emotional learning enables individuals to recognize and manage emotions, develop caring and concern for others, make responsible decisions, establish and maintain positive relationships, handle challenging situations effectively, achieve academically, and lead a healthy lifestyle. Research has shown that competent young people who are socially and emotionally competent are more likely to succeed both academically and personally and have strong personal and interpersonal skills. The purpose of this study was to examine one school's process in helping its students develop both socially and emotionally. For this study social-emotional learning was examined using the individual competencies and guidelines for schools outlined by the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL). Individual interviews were conducted with four teachers, seven school personnel, nine alumnae, four students, and four parents. Focus groups were also conducted with students from each of the four grade levels and students completed personal reflections. In addition, the researcher observed many events throughout the school year. A number of themes emerged from the interviews, personal reflections and observations that overlapped among the different groups of participants. These themes included: the care and support provided by the teachers to the students, the opportunities for the students to be involved and become contributing members in their school and communities; the availability of structured activities to enhance relationships among peers; incorporation of values in the curriculum; having a strong and caring leader; and the structure of the school being small and all female. These results support previous research related to the enhancement of social-emotional development and parallel thefive recommendations outlined by CASEL related to how schools as institutions can promote social-emotional development.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008

Included in

Psychology Commons