Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Education Systems Improvement Science

Committee Member

Daniella Sutherland

Committee Member

Jacquelynn Malloy

Committee Member

Michelle Boettcher

Committee Member

Jennie Rakestraw


Black girls receive exclusionary punishment in schools at disproportionate rates in comparison to their White counterpart, often as a result of subjective behaviors such as disrespect, defiance, and disruption. Black girls are subjected to educator stereotypes about their behavior, and become disengaged academically, socially, and emotionally from schools. This dissertation in practice used phenomenological qualitative methodology to examine the problem of practice in a rural school district in South Carolina and provide recommendations based in improvement science. Data collection and analysis was founded in Critical Race Feminism, and included interviews with Black girls and teachers. Results revealed that Black girls need mutually respectful, empathetic relationships with their teachers, and opportunities to connect with other Black girls and form positive social relationships. Recommendations include methods to improve teachers’ relationships and communication with Black girls and create opportunities for Black girls to come together in a supportive manner, and are outlined using PDSA cycles through improvement science. These will eliminate reactive and punitive forms of school discipline, and ultimately improve the social, emotional, and mental health well-being of Black girls.



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