Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Federico Guerra

Second Advisor

Alejandro Garcia

Third Advisor

Israel Aguilar


Educational systems are to prepare students for future success in our ever-changing world. Administrators must realize that before a student is willing to learn, crucial needs must be met, especially in low-socioeconomic areas such as the Rio Grande Valley. Some basic needs consist of food and shelter, which are vital for survival. Other needs deal with one’s social and emotional needs that support a child's safety, sense of belonging, and their self-esteem. In this study, focus groups were conducted with sixth, seventh, and eighth grade student participants that gathered the phenomenon of their experiences and their fulfillment of needs. The in-depth information provides various reasons that their needs are unmet in school and outside of school and provides recommendations for stakeholders on ways that they can be fulfilled. Motivational theories such as Maslow’s (1943) hierarchy of needs gives educational leaders a new perspective on the importance focusing on a “whole child approach” to help all students reach self-actualization, where people are interested in personal growth and fulfilling their potential.


Copyright 2023 Tanya Jessica Reyes. All Rights Reserved.

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