School of Education


Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction (EdD)


Karla N. Swafford


Deployment, Family Stress, Military-connected, Mobility, OCONUS, Stressors




Considering that most military children attend civilian schools, the purpose of this transcendental, phenomenological study is to describe the K-12 lived experiences of military-connected (M-C) graduates of public schools in a large school district located in the southeastern region of the United States. The theory guiding this study is Hamilton McCubbin’s family stress theory as it explores how family members handle situational stressors regarding the ability to thrive and prove resilient or disintegrate to a degree that threatens the family’s stability. Interviews, letters of advice, and focus groups were used to collect data. Data was analyzed to generate codes and themes. Member checks; prolonged engagement; rich, thick descriptions and peer review were used to address any concerns regarding trustworthiness. The central research question investigated how military-connected high school graduates describe their K-12 lived experiences in public schools. The research sub-questions investigated how military-connected high school graduates describe their (a) academic, (b) social, and (c) extracurricular experiences in K-12 civilian schools. The results of this research may provide educational stakeholders at federal, state, and local levels with information that will help enhance the teaching and learning of M-C students who attend civilian schools.

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