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. These are voluntary meetings and they focus on developing healthy self-identity and building networks both within and beyond affinity groups 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.
The Children of Color Lunches are for students of color (children with Asian, African, Latinx/Hispanic, Middle Eastern American, Native American, biracial and multiracial heritage) in grades I-VIII. Children of Color formally began in 1991 and is the oldest of our affinity groups.
School Sisters is for girls of color in grades I-VIII. School Sisters was established in 2013-2014. Pride and celebrating natural gifts are the group's themes. Grade I Gradehead,Tamyko Morris facilitates the Lower School Sister and Middle School Director of Student Life, Laniesha Gray facilitates the Middle School Sisters.
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)
Asian Students (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)
(The gatherings above are facilitated by Erica Pernell and other SHS adults of color.)
Rainbow Kids is for children of LGBT families in Grades I-VIII. Contact Grade I Gradehead & Lower School Diversity Liaison, Erica Rogers-Jensen.
New Student Gathering is for new Lower School and Middle School students. They will meet over lunch once or twice this year. Students are invited to attend by Serena Gifford or Krista Demas, and they may choose to participate or not.
Middle School GSA (Gender Sexuality Alliance): This group is for all middle school students interested in advancing inclusivity of the SHS LGBT community. It is not an affinity group. Rather, it is an alliance intended to broaden support for students and provide a safe place for all. Contact Paran Quigley for more information.
Please contact Erica Pernell, Director of Inclusion & Multicultural Practice, for more information regarding affinity groups and alliances.