Ashley Gaska, Roneisha Hardy, and Shakira Crawley

“I think the power of Girl Rising is that even though these girls are in incredibly disempowering situations, they found ways to regain their power and build better futures for themselves. Our girls have that same power.” - Ashley

“I want my students to learn that although this world is big, there are many ways to connect to people in distant locations, technologically, emotionally, and spiritually.” - Roneisha

"...[The] documentary has inspired me to continue and be a resource for many of the girls that might have temporarily discontinued going to school and serve as a positive role-model in inspiring them to revisit their decision.” - Shakira

School: Pace Center for Girls Hillsborough (Non-traditional)

Grades: 6-12

Subjects: 1) Reading, 2) Personal, Career, and Social Development

Number of Students: 13-33 each

Girl Rising has long admired the PACE Center for Girls’ gender-responsive approach to education. In 2017, we had the opportunity to formalize our relationship when the PACE Center in Tampa, Florida participated in a Girl Rising pilot program during the latter half of the fall semester. Learn more about the sponsorship that made this partnership possible at

What was your goal in bringing Girl Rising into your classroom?

“To build awareness of the struggles that women face in the world around us and draw parallels to those girls and their struggles, in order to encourage our girls to pursue their own passions and future successes.” - Ashley

“As a school with gender-specific curriculum, Girl Rising was very fitting. The goal was to bring a tool into the Center to allow the girls an opportunity to see some global issues facing girls and women and understand why it is important for women to unite together.” - Roneisha

“My goal of introducing Girl Rising into my classroom is to bring to my students’ awareness the various obstacles and hindrances that prevent girls and young women globally from having limited or no access to education. Additionally, the financial literacy component also brought to my students’ consciousness the importance of trajectory planning and managing their financial affairs, realizing that their preparedness today will impact their future.” - Shakira

How do you use and teach Girl Rising?

“We read a chapter and then followed it up with the video and an activity that was given to us by an academic manager.” - Ashley

“Basically, I used the Financial Literacy component that was accompanied with the DVD and books. In each section, I would give a brief introduction or overview of the module and set the expectations for each group. Then, the students collaborated in small groups- brainstorming through the various activities and/or scenarios. Upon completion of the activities, each group had two representatives that shared with the whole class the learning objectives of their particular assignments and what their team results were. Typically, I would close the activity by asking the girls to share with the class if what they learned was applicable to their lives or real-world situations.” - Shakira

“Girl Rising was used as a sustained curriculum through reading, including using the film, the book, and various activities to keep the students engaged. The activities also allowed the girls to put themselves into someone else's shoes. As we went through the book, we took time to watch the film on the stories of specific girls. This helped to differentiate learning for some of our students whose reading skills were not high. The variation of methods insured that each girl got the same information out of the curriculum.” - Roneisha

Here is Roneisha's lesson plan on child slavery, which she taught in her Reading and Personal, Career, and Social Development classrooms (grades 9-12th):

Which Girl Rising materials did you use?

Did you use any additional resources?

“I used additional resources to show girls that the same things happen in the United States. I used YouTube videos to supplement the Girl Rising curriculum.” - Ashley

“Google Earth to show the students where the countries were located. Through Personal, Career, and Social Development, the students were able to learn about the child slavery, lack of access, and financial literacy portions of the curriculum. This was also done through showing YouTube videos in the reading classes.” - Roneisha

“I typical used the internet to explore the countries that the girls in Girl Rising resided in and to research historical facts pertaining to the topics e.g. underage marriage or domestic servitude (slavery).” - Shakira

Was there a community action component included as part of your Girl Rising unit?

“We did an art display by creating a winter door decorating contest. The groups had to choose a country from the Girl Rising curriculum and a holiday that was celebrated in that country, then decorate the door according to that holiday.” - Ashley

“Yes. The community action component was implemented as a group project. Each group selected a story from Girl Rising and an issue that is addressed in their Personal, Career, and Social Development course to highlight how global issues all stem from an issue that we can all connect with. The girls were then charged with designing an event, campaign, or outreach in order to educate a particular community. The girls also decorated the classroom doors to represent the country of one of the girls in Girl Rising. These were done as a way to showcase the beauty of each of the countries and the observed customs of the various cultures.” - Roneisha

From your perspective as an educator, what is the power of Girl Rising?

“It makes the knowledge of other countries and the people who live there more tangible. It also helps unite women across borders.” - Roneisha

What do you most want your students to learn from Girl Rising?

“I want my girls to learn that anything is possible with enough hard work and motivation.” - Ashley

Did your students respond differently to Girl Rising as compared to other classes/units that you teach?

“The students felt more compassion in regards to Girl Rising than other curriculum materials.” - Ashley

“Yes, this was a wider experience. Most of the books read in class are solely based on western society and rarely have positive female main characters.” - Roneisha

Will you recommend Girl Rising to your teacher colleagues? What will you tell them?

“Yes, it is a powerful curriculum. Especially for teachers of girls.” - Roneisha

“I would recommend the Girl Rising curriculum to other teachers and colleagues. I would explain to them how the documentary will raise their students awareness of the challenges and obstacles that girls and young women globally face, just to have access to education.” - Shakira

What was the impact of Girl Rising on your students?

“The impact of Girl Rising was that my students found empathy for women and girls of other nations.” - Ashley

“They began to think about places outside of just their hometown. Many girls asked questions about the countries and cultures that were explored.” - Roneisha

Student Voices:

Ashley and Roneisha asked their students how Girl Rising and the stories of young women around the world impacted them. Here are their responses: 

In what ways do you think you’re different because you “met” the girls in the film? What did they teach you?

“I am more aware about how much child marriage and trafficking there still is in the world, despite laws that outlaw it.” - A student in Ashley’s class

“They taught me not to take school for granted.” - Diamond, a student in Roneisha’s class

How do you think about school differently now? 

“I think about school as an incredibly important resource, especially for girls who are denied it in so many places.” - A student in Ashley’s class

“Yes, school gets us a long way in life. We have it for free and they have to pay for it, and some of them can’t.” - Diamond, a student in Roneisha’s class

How has the Girl Rising experience inspired you to be more active in your community?

“The Girl Rising experience has encouraged me to speak out about child marriage and child trafficking. I think a lot of people aren't aware that these things happen in America.” - A student in Ashley’s class

“I was able to speak with people about the curriculum and design an art project to inform the community about issues that affect women worldwide.” - Jaylen, a student in Roneisha’s class

If you were going to tell your friend the most important thing that you learned from Girl Rising, what would you tell them?

“The most important thing I learned is that humans have the greatest capacity for survival, to the point where we even want to survive the worst situations. It's that drive to survive that pushes us to create better lives for ourselves.” - A student in Ashley’s class

“The fact that others had to fight so hard for education, which is something that many in the United States take advantage of." - Jaylen, a student in Roneisha’s class

Sara Hubbard