ROX program empowers 6th and 7th grade female students

Posted by Jeremy Tepper on 5/23/2024


As the Duquesne City School District’s school counselor, Monica Walker believes empowering female students — especially in 6th and 7th grade — is paramount.

“I think it’s crucial. When they get around 5th grade, they feel super confident, but it can trickle down from there,” said Walker. “Getting to them in this sweet spot of 6th and 7th grade and helping them build confidence or build upon the confidence they have is crucial.”

Starting this school year, the Duquesne City School District has participated in the Ruling Our eXperiences (ROX) program, a middle school and high school girls mentorship program. The district was able to bring the program to the school through the Dr. Patty Diversity Fellowship, which is meant to increase the representation of diverse, female leaders who deliver the ROX Program across the country.

At Duquesne City, Walker has fifteen 6th and 7th grade female students participate in the 20-week program, which covers a wide variety of issues that might be affecting students. The group meets once a week.

“We talk about issues that might be impacting them like social media, self-esteem issues, dating, school work, and career goals,” said Walker. “We cover a lot of ground over the 20 weeks.”

Additionally, the program covers self-defense tactics. On May 23, Walker connected with a friend to bring in a therapy dog, and to teach the students about how animals can reduce stress.

“It’s something I wanted to add because I thought they would enjoy it and benefit from it,” said Walker.

The ROX program will continue next year, as part of the two-year fellowship. 

“It does seem like it has been helpful,” Walker said. “Some of the best feedback I get is when other people mention to me that my students were talking about something they learned in ROX. It’s really impacting them outside the room that we’re learning these things.”