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Urban School Formation: Identity Work and Constructing an Origin Story

Abstract

In this article, I analyze the formation of Shearwater High School in St. Louis, Missouri and I explore the identity work involved in building the school. Diverging from standardization trends in urban education, the school came to fruition through a creative process, which was in-flux and supported by diverse communities in St. Louis. This article applies three identity lenses—intersectionality, an identity of becoming, and the practice of recognition—to explain the social construction of the organization and its mission.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Stephanie Kilstein Krauss agreed to let me identify her and Shearwater High School. All other individual names and identities are changed to protect confidentiality. Washington University’s Institutional Review Board approved this research study.

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Acknowledgments

I want to thank Stephanie Krauss and the Shearwater team for sharing their stories and experiences. I also want to thank the American Culture Studies program and the Center on Urban Research and Public Policy, Washington University in St. Louis, for funding this research.

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Correspondence to Lauren J. Silver.

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Silver, L.J. Urban School Formation: Identity Work and Constructing an Origin Story. Urban Rev 47, 492–512 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11256-014-0313-6

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Keywords

  • Urban education
  • Youth
  • Organizational identity
  • School formation