Date of Submission


Document Type



Doctor of Education




True Belonging, Girlhood, Feminist-Transformative, Intragender Microaggression, Thriving, Education


In an all-girls school, what conditions are required to authentically cultivate a community of true belonging? This inquiry explores what girls need in schools today to support each other now and as women. This Organization Improvement Plan is developed for an all-girls Canadian independent school. Challenges in maintaining true belonging stem from the systemic, patriarchal structure of education. This gap creates a culture of scarcity and competition, which leads to intragender microaggression. To implement change in this organization as an informal leader and teacher, I use a participatory-based approach that aligns with the feminist-transformative theoretical lens. The ethic of community and ethic of critique frameworks ensure that this inquiry goes beyond the narrative of the neoliberal definition of girlhood. To address this challenge, a skillset of competence, mindset of confidence, and heartset of connectedness must be present and continually developed as indicators of true belonging in all-girls schools today. I developed a conceptual model for leading, teaching, and learning to guide a multi-layered leadership practice in our learning community in order for true belonging to be possible. As a leader, my actions align with transformative, inclusive, and connective leadership styles. The chosen solution addresses true belonging by offering an interdisciplinary program that aligns with the conceptual model. This solution uses an iterative, cyclical framework for organizational development, with an emphasis on appreciative inquiry for positive change. The plans for implementation, monitoring and evaluation, and communication ensure active participation, opportunity for voice and choice, and reflection through generative dialogue.