Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)

Degree Level



Curriculum and Instruction


Ed Bengtson

Committee Member

Kara Lasater

Second Committee Member

John Pijanowski


Discipline, Emotional Intelligence, Emotional Regulation, RULER, School Climate, Social Emotional Learning


This study was designed to assess the extent by which an evidence-based Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) program influenced teachers’ perception of students’ behavior in a small and diverse PK – 8 school district in Westchester County, NY. Specifically, the researcher evaluated the Anchors of Emotional Intelligence and the RULER framework to determine its impact on school climate as viewed from the perspective of staff in the district. Prior to commencing the study, the researcher recognized the negative staff narrative around student behavior in the district as a significant problem of practice that was observable, actionable and high leverage.

This mixed-methods study utilized a school climate survey adapted from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) along with an SEL scale adopted from the RULER framework. The study, however, leaned heavily on the qualitative component, interviewing 11 tenured teachers in the district and analyzing this data with that obtained from both the school climate survey and SEL scale. As of the 2018-2019 school year, Pocantico Hills Central School District consisted of 322 students and 49 staff members. All staff completed the school climate survey.

While the study found that the Anchors of Emotional Intelligence and its RULER framework was not shown to have a significant impact on improving student-behavior, staff perception was favorable, viewing its implementation as a needed resource to support teachers’ ability to effectively understand and address challenging behavior. While staff did not report a significant change in students’ behavior, there was a collective belief that behavior would improve with sustained commitment and fidelity of implementation. Additionally, further research on teachers Social-Emotional Competencies (SEC) was recommended.