Final Summary

My research ended up leading me in a different direction than expected. Of the 28 local interview requests I sent out, only 5 people responded, which was slightly disappointing. Thankfully, after I described my research to the directors of the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools, they allowed me to attend at the Global Forum on Girls’ Education II for free in exchange for volunteering each day at the conference, which proved to be extremely helpful and gave me 3 of my 5 interview contacts.

I found that all schools in my sample, regardless of their socio-economic composition, shared one main goal: to foster resilience in girls, albeit for different reasons. Schools with students from lower socio-economic backgrounds did so to help their students cope with outside trauma, while schools with more privileged students did so to help their students cope with perfectionism and anxiety. This prioritization was especially evident when examining the schools’ hiring practices and professional development.

Though administrators at different kinds of schools (private, public, parochial, charter) faced different day-to-day issues, they all ultimately worked towards the same broad goal of cultivating an institutional culture based on social-emotional learning.

I feel that my research is only the beginning of a much larger examination of institutional culture in girls’ schools across the socioeconomic spectrum. I’m so glad had the opportunity to explore the tip of this iceberg, and I feel immensely grateful for the Monroe Scholars program!