Chapter

The Role of the School: Institutional Advantaging

Peter Demerath

in Producing Success

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780226142395
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226142425 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226142425.003.0004
The Role of the School: Institutional Advantaging

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This chapter provides an introduction of the Wilton Burnham High School itself—a Blue Ribbon high school with a rich curriculum and extracurriculum and dedicated teaching staff. In addition to its rich curriculum and dedicated teaching staff, the school is notable in its ability to leverage institutional resources to sponsor its students and instill in them the habits of competitive individualism. The chapter explains that a corollary of the local cultural emphasis on the maintenance of self-worth and the pursuit of individual success was a belief that ceding control to young people and accommodating their preferences would help them to be successful. Details about the school organization around policies that gave students great latitude and input are provided. The chapter also provides examples of the variety of ways in which the school sponsored students and socialized them for individualistic competition, from its continuous emphasis on “excellence” and “success” to the many ways in which it formally recognized students' achievements.

Keywords: Wilton Burnham High School; Blue Ribbon; curriculum; extracurriculum; teaching staff; self-worth; excellence; success

Chapter.  7926 words. 

Subjects: Schools Studies

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