ORCID Identifier(s)


Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Maria Trache


This qualitative phenomenological study fills a void in the existing research on school choice by including the University-Model® school to the literature. Through purposeful sampling, seven parents of students enrolled in grades 3rd-6th at a University-Model® school in the North Texas area were selected. The study is guided by Simon’s (1955) satisficing theory to explore parents’ decision-making process in choosing a school for their child and their level of satisfaction with the UM school experience. Additionally, through the study’s findings, the researcher put forward that parents’ decisions are determined by observing children’s development of self-regulatory skills as proposed by Zimmerman’s (1998) self-regulated learning theory. Eleven common themes derived from the analysis of interviews. First, parents chose a UM school for their children for reasons such as faith-based education, the smaller class sizes offered by the school, the ability to have more time with their children, and affordability of overall investment of money and time. Second, when discussing satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the academic and social experiences presented by participation in a University-Model® school parents referred to various forms of partnerships (i.e., teacher-parent, parent-parent, parent-student, etc.), academic rigor of the curriculum, supportive social environment, and students’ opportunities for development of self-regulation skills. Finally, an examination of parents’ intentions to continue to enroll their children in a UM school, revealed that most of the participants planned to continue their children’s education at the UM school and strongly valued the various forms of flexibility provided by the model. However, their decisions show they understood the importance of differences in children’s personality in making in-person/satellite day environments successful for each child. Based on these key findings, the researcher examined directions for future research and implications for policy and practice. For example, research exploring students’ perceptions of their self-regulatory skills development and study habits as part of the in-person/satellite day design of the University-Model® would enrich the current study based on parents’ observations. Furthermore, research on the University-Model® design is relevant to the education community by bringing to attention alternative ways to help students become independent learners who can engage in studying, even when in-person classroom instruction is not available (e.g., COVID-19 pandemic).


School choice, University-Model schools, Alternative instructional methods, Private schools, Religious education, COVID-19


Education | Educational Leadership


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington