Education and Urban Society
This case study examines St. Malachy, an urban Catholic elementary school primarily serving children traditionally marginalized by race, class, linguistic heritage, and disability. As a private school, St. Malachy serves the public good by recruiting and retaining such traditionally marginalized students. As empirical studies involving Catholic schools frequently juxtapose them with public schools, the author presents this examination from a different tack. Neither vilifying nor glorifying Catholic schooling, this study critically examines the pursuit of social justice in this school context. Data gathered through a 1-year study show that formal and informal leaders in St. Malachy adapted their governance, aggressively sought community resources, and focused their professional development to build the capacity to serve their increasingly pluralistic student population. The analysis confirms the deepening realization that striving toward social justice is a messy, contradictory, and complicated pursuit, and that schools in both public and private sectors are allies in this pursuit.