Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education



First Advisor

Beth Rapoff

Second Advisor

Bob Steffes

Third Advisor

Elizabeth Mrozowicz


The purpose of the mixed methods study was to evaluate urban educators’ perceptions of their preparedness to implement social and emotional learning strategies in their classrooms/workspaces as well as to understand what the educators’ experiences were as their students returned to a five day a week school schedule after a year and a half of disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Those involved in the study included educators from four K-8 public charter schools located in an urban Midwestern environment. Quantitative data was obtained through the administration of two identical surveys that were completed by volunteer participants at two different points during the 2021-2022 school year. Qualitative research methods included classroom/workspace observations and educator interviews. Through the mixed-methods research design, the researcher hoped to contribute to current findings on the impact of a global pandemic on the social and emotional needs of students and the experiences of school staff.

As a study conducted during the phenomenon of being an educator in a mid-pandemic urban environment, the data was anticipated to reveal significant themes, and it certainly did. The first qualitative themes that were identified had to do with educators’ personal states of emotional and physical exhaustion. There were also themes of specific new challenges that had been introduced to the work of educators because of the pandemic. Interviews also exposed themes related to the importance and impact of facilities, operations, and district-level decisions. A final theme was educators’ desire for a research-based and intentionally chosen SEL curriculum that would be used district wide. Quantitative data showed that, despite an educators’ previous years of experience or amount of prior training/knowledge, these themes largely remained the same.

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