Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

William Flora

Committee Members

Pamela Scott, Donald Good


The purpose of this phenomenological qualitative study was to examine the decision-making process of K-12 parents living in the Appalachian Highlands who chose to remove their children from traditional public schools to join learning pods (sometimes referred to as pandemic pods) during the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to answer this overarching question, the researcher focused her study on two areas: first, what were the possible push factors that influenced parents to remove their children from public schools, and secondly, what were the pull factors that lead parents to choose learning pods over other school choice options. Through the data collected from 10 one-on-one interviews, the researcher hoped to either confirm or refute whether or not parents residing in the Appalachian Highlands were influenced by these push and pull factors, and if so, to what extent they impacted their decision to remove their children from their pre-pandemic public schools, and enroll them in learning pods. All interviews were coded twice, deductively and inductively, and from the data analysis, 16 themes emerged across five categories: emotions experienced by parents, decision-making, push factors, pull factors, and experiences.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.