Shady Hill Affinity Groups’ Statement of Purpose:
The primary purpose of Shady Hill Affinity Groups is to provide time and space for children of shared affinities from different classrooms to come together in an environment where they make up the majority. Affinity groups help students develop healthy self-identity and build networks both within and beyond the group through sharing experiences and strategies.
We help all students understand the definition of affinity and that having these groups is not an act of intentional exclusion. We work to develop an understanding of the importance of affinity groups for underrepresented groups. Students who do not identify with the various affinity group identities and therefore do not attend affinity groups are asked to show support for their classmates who do.
Affinity Groups are by no means the only time children discuss diverse and multicultural topics related to affinity. These themes are explored throughout our curriculum and in-class discussions take place on a regular basis.
Children of Color Lunch (COCL) is for students of color (Asian, AAPI, African, Latinx/Hispanic, Middle Eastern American, Native American, biracial and multiracial heritage). COCL formally began in 1991 and is the oldest of our affinity groups.
Rainbow Kids is for children of LGBT families in Grades I-VIII.
Gender-Expansive Kids (an affinity space for all gender-expansive students (transgender, nonbinary, gender nonconforming, or a gender identity other than cisgender) at Shady Hill, from Beginners to grade VIII.
Middle School GSA (Gender Sexuality Alliance): This group is for all middle school students interested in advancing inclusivity in the SHS Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, and Asexual/Aromantic/Agender (LGBTQIA+) community. It is an alliance group, meaning people of all identities are welcome to attend. The Middle School GSA is student-led and focuses on creating more equity for LGBTQIA+ members of our community.
Middle School Gatherings occur several times throughout the school year. These gatherings are an opportunity for middle school students to organize in smaller racial/ethnic, religious, and ability-related affinity groups. The following gathering groups are currently active:
- African American/Black Students (Students who identify as African American/Black or Multiracial/African-American/Black)
- AsianStudents (Students who identify as Asian or Multiracial/Asian)
- Biracial/Multiracial Students (Students who identify as Biracial or Multiracial)
- Hispanic/Latinx Students (Students who identify as Hispanic/Latinx or Multiracial/Latinx)
- Jewish Students (Students who identify as Jewish)
- Neurodiversity (Students with Learning Differences)
- School Sisters (Black and Brown girls)
- School Brothers (Black and Brown boys)
(The gatherings above are facilitated by Laniesha Gray and other SHS adults who identify with these affinities.)
Please contact Laniesha Gray, Director of Inclusion & Multicultural Practice, for more information regarding affinity groups and alliances.