Goal Setting Girls is a 28-week curriculum that focuses on social and emotional learning for sixth and seventh-grade girls from lower income families. 

Goal Setting Girls strengthens the social and emotional skills that middle school girls need to succeed in school and as first-generation college students. It uses goal setting as an entry point to deliver an evidence-based social and emotional development curriculum. It also uses project-based learning to introduce STEM careers, connects participants to academic support, and engages parents to strengthen their ability to support their daughters’ education.

Each year of the program will focus on four key, interrelated components:

1. Strengthen Social and Emotional Skills

Using goal setting as an entry point to the program, the girls use Today, Tomorrow, Forever: My Life Planner, Crittenton’s innovative journal for adolescent girls, to record their dreams, goals and action plans.

The curriculum also incorporates Second Step, an evidence-based, social and emotional development program that is designated as a ‘select program’ by the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) and a ‘model program’ by The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The program is also recognized by Child Trends as a program that has a positive impact on girls’ skills and behavior. 

2. Connect Participants to Academic Support

Program leaders will work with the participant’s school counselors to identify academic weaknesses and then develop a plan, consults with their parents and connect them with the support they need to raise their academic performance. The girl’s program will be monitored and documented throughout the school year.

3. Engage and Inform Parents

During the first year, the program includes activities for the participant’s parents to help them understand available resources to ready their child for college. The program also concludes by having the sixth-grade girls present a project that demonstrates their newly acquired skills.

4. Exposure Students and Their Parents to College and STEM Careers

The program includes out-of-school enrichment activities and a career fair that expose participants to potential careers and introduces them to near-peer’ role models.

Program Outcomes

At the end of the two-year program, Goal Setting Girls will create meaningful and measurable positive changes in the participant’s attitude, knowledge, skills, and behavior.  

Sample Activity

In 2018, Goal Setting Girls partnered with SPAGnVOLA, a premium chocolate factory, located in Maryland, to learn how to become their own entrepreneurs. Here the girls learned from a master chocolatier, the art of making premium chocolate and running their own business. The owners of SPAGnVOLA source their cacao beans from their own farm in the Dominican Republic. Once the beans are harvested, they are shipped to their location in Gaithersburg, MD where they are made into chocolate in the shop’s in-house factory. 

In this Goal Setting Girls activity, the participants created their own chocolate business. The girls developed a business plan, named the company and created a marketing plan for selling the chocolate. SPAGnVOLA taught them about the production process and the important role that science plays in making chocolate. The girls learned that if you want to produce premium chocolate you need a very strict quality control process. 

At the end of the program, these entrepreneurial young women presented their businesses to their parents along with some delicious chocolate compliments of SPAGnVOLA.