Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Patricia Patrick


Based on recommendations from research, leaders in a north Texas public school district implemented social emotional learning (SEL) to address academic gaps among high residential mobility (HRM) students. Incorporating SEL instruction improves academic achievement 11 percentile points on average; however, in Adoniram School District (ASD), 2021 passing rates fell 8% from 2019 despite adopting SEL curriculum. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore how ASD elementary teachers instructed SEL, and their perceptions of how SEL techniques influenced HRM elementary students’ reading literacy development. The study on social and emotional skills (SSES) conceptual framework guided this study because SEL instruction may improve student academic growth, including reading literacy. Data were collected by interviewing 15 ASD teachers and reviewing their lesson plans and analyzed thematically through open and axial coding strategies. According to results, teachers perceived HRM students’ academic growth was positively impacted when SEL was taught each morning and reinforced during core content instruction. Participants indicated the level to which SEL influenced students depended primarily on leadership attitudes toward SEL, and collaboration in professional learning communities. The findings led to a white paper offering ASD leaders research-based recommendations to support teachers in SEL implementation during reading literacy instruction. This study may contribute to positive social change when teachers integrate SEL principles in core content lessons to provide HRM students with resilience strategies that facilitate acquiring new skills, including reading literacy, resulting in satisfactory performance on state assessments.