by Paul Rodriguez Percentage of those age 25-39 with at least a bachelor’s degree in 2011: 1. Whites: 39% 2. Hispanics: 13% 3. African Americans: 20% (Aud et al. , 2012) to use an ethnographic approach to explore the characteristics of the organizational culture of college-going at an urban, archdiocesan Catholic high school in San Antonio, Texas to illuminate how the social and religious histories of Catholic schools have impacted the current declining enrollment crisis within the Catholic school sector (Holland, 2001) The constrained curriculum offers more academic course offerings for students (Bryk et al., 1995) Graduate with three more credits of core academic courses than students in the public sector ( Lee & Bryk, 1988). More likely to enter a four-year college by 13 percentage points. Also more likely to attend more selective colleges (Ellison &Hallinan, 2004). Catholic schools are in a state of demise Enrollment: 1965 – 5.6 million 1971 – 4.1 million 1982 – 3.1 million 2005 – 2.4 million Between 2000-2012, 1,942 Catholic schools had either closed or been consolidated This study is significant to the field of college access and the high school to college transition precisely because the Catholic school sector is diminishing, even though it has historically provided equitable postsecondary access to underrepresented populations. 1. 2. How has the history of St. Peter’s Catholic parish and the surrounding community influenced or impacted who attends SP High School? What are the characteristics of the organizational culture of college going in an urban Catholic high schools that influence who goes to college and who goes where? Terms: Social Capital: Networks or connections of people that can lead us to other networks or forms of information Cultural Capital: Actual information or forms of knowledge that a particular cultural group may deem as having value. Field: The area of site where people compete for control or optimal access with a particular opportunity. Habitus: The system of beliefs, assumptions, or dispositions of a group or individual that are shaped by their environment. Practice: Entails the improvised actions and decisions that are made by social actors. “…shows how social class operates through high schools to shape students’ perceptions of appropriate college choices” (McDonough, 1997, p. 107). "Critical ethnographers of education seek to describe the concrete experiences of everyday school/educational life and the social patters and deep structures that support it" (Steinberg, 2012, p. 273). Conventional ethnography asks what is. Critical ethnography asks what could be" (Thomas, 1992, p. 4) St. Peter’s Catholic High School: An urban archdiocesan high school in South Texas Free and Reduced Lunch: over 80% qualify Ethnic Breakdown: 71% Hispanic, 22% Black, White 7% Enrollment Numbers: 106 currently, 250 in 1994, 475 in 1963 Graduation Data: 100% graduation rate; 86.4% enter college in the last ten years Interviews: semi-structured format, open-ended questions (1 Principal,1 academic dean, 8 faculty, 2 administrators, 5 alumni, 2 pastor) Observations: Classroom sessions, college-related activities, meetings between students and college recruiters, SAT test prep activities. Archival Data: School records, yearbooks, minutes from past meetings, ArchSA Archival Library. First cycle coding generated between 250-300 codes that would eventually be organized into 12-15 categories. Second cycle coding allowed me to collapse and eliminate codes to arrive at a concise number of emergent themes. The organizational habitus of SPH is expanding their students’ options for postsecondary access (Lee & Bryk, 1988). In other words, as social actors, administrators and faculty can broaden the students’ consideration set for college (McDonough, 1997). “They can take a cab or a bus to those local schools. I prefer for them to come to us” -Academic Dean The preferred practice of exposing students to college is through bringing college representatives and recruiters from outside San Antonio. Students are encouraged to view their collegegoing potential as a matter of how much scholarship money they can accumulate. In multiple settings, the Academic Dean typically asks students of their scholarship worth and that his expectation is for students to have monetary overflow that covers tuition and all other expenses. Some institutions that fall under this category require minimal academic requirements and provide multiple forms of scholarships in the form of incentives to attend as well on-the-spot admissions, even for students that have not applied to the institution (Venezia & Kirst, 2005). The organizational habitus of college-going at SPH is heavily based on expanding the college choice consideration set of students. However, the structure and execution of certain components of the college process may compromise the overall chance to persist towards degree attainment since institutional type and fit were given less consideration. Aud, S., Hussar, W., Johnson, F., Kena, G., Manning, E., Wang, X., & Zhang, J. (2012). The Condition of Education 2012 (NCES 2012-045). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Educational Statistics. Baker, D. P., & Riordan, C. (1998). The 'eliting’ of the common American Catholic school and the national education crisis. Phi Delta Kappan, 80(1), 16-23. Bourdieu, P., & Passeron, J. C. (1977). Reproduction in society, education and culture (2nd ed.). London: Sage Publications. Bryk, A. S., Lee, V. E., & Holland, P. B. (1995). Catholic schools and the common good. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ Press. Ellison, B., & Hallinan, M. (2004). Ability grouping in Catholic and public schools. Catholic Education: A Journal of Inquiry and Practice, 8(1), 107-129. Grace, G. (2003). 'First and foremost the church offers Its educational service to the poor': Class, inequality and Catholic schooling in contemporary contexts. International studies in sociology of education, 13(1), 35-54. Lee, V. E., & Bryk, A. S. (1988). Curriculum tracking as mediating the social distribution of high school achievement. Sociology of Education, 61(2), 78-94. Thomas, J. (1992). Doing critical ethnography (Vol. 26). London: Sage Publications, Incorporated. Paul Rodriguez, M. Ed. Doctoral Candidate UTSA Dept. of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies [email protected] The academic dean/counselor at this particular archdiocesan high school serves as the primary mechanism for shaping the college going culture of the entire school. Student characteristics such as academic record and financial capability have driven a "how much are you worth?" initiative and a broad college choice spectrum: Christian, work-study, 2-year, accessible. Although the field of college going indicates high requirements with high cost, there is still a prevalent "go away" college message, even with a low-income, minority student population. Vatican II: Caused the general and religious Catholic populations to question their roles as Catholics and the role played by Catholic schools in the United States (Grace, 2003). White Flight: Previous European populations that initially inhabited ethnic neighborhoods and attended Catholic schools and moved out of urban and centralized areas and into the American, middle-class suburbs (Baker & Riordan, 1998). The Field of College Going: "...the web of opportunities and structural arrangements which is shaped by secondary and postsecondary institutions" (McDonough et al., 2000, 372) Nine Principals of College Going Cultures: College Talk, Clear Expectations, Info. and Resources, Comprehensive Counseling, Testing and Curriculum, Faculty Involvement, Family Involvement, College Partnerships, Articulation (McClafferty et al., 2002). The historical context of the research site indicates that the adjoining parish served as a bridge towards access to the Catholic school. However, since particular parishes were designated for specific populations, the changing social demographics over time shifted the racial/ethnic/religious composition of the student/staff population.