This three-paper dissertation explores student homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic in one urban/suburban area, which I refer to as Midcities (a pseudonym). All three papers are based on research conducted from June of 2020 to January of 2022 during which I conducted 44 interviews. Each paper and findings draw from these interviews, averaging 30-35 interviews per paper. In the first paper, I address the difficulty students experiencing homelessness and high mobility (HHM) face in maintaining effective organizational supports systems. In the second paper, I studied these districts during three phases of COVID-19 and assessed the extent to which Social and Emotional Learning practices were being delivered during the pandemic. In the third paper, I examined how COVID-19 forced schools to make the switch from in-school to distance learning. My findings show that COVID-19 left an indelible mark on compulsory education. Many have written off the educational years during COVID-19 as an aberration and a failure. I see it differently—as Rumi, the 13th-century Persian poet (Rumi & Barks, 1995), said: “Stay with it. The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” COVID-19 and all its repercussions are that wound. A great deal of light entered that wound for us to see gaps in the delivery of services, especially to our students experiencing HHM.

Degree Date

Winter 12-17-2022

Document Type


Degree Name



Teaching and Learning


Alexandra Pavlakis

Second Advisor

Meredith Richards

Third Advisor

Kessa Roberts

Fourth Advisor

Brad Klein

Subject Area

Education, Philosophy, Public Policy, Urban Planning

Number of Pages




Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

Available for download on Tuesday, May 16, 2028