About Our Student Affinity Groups

Shady Hill Affinity Groups’ Statement of Purpose:
The primary purpose of these short meetings has been, and continues to be, to provide time and a safe space for children of like affinities from different classrooms to come together in an environment where they make up the majority. We help all students understand the definition of affinity and that having these groups is not an act of intentional exclusion. These are voluntary meetings that children who identify with these affinities may participate in. 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.

Affinity Groups
The Children of Color Affinity Group formally began in 1991 and is the oldest of our affinity groups. Developmentally appropriate groups were later created in 1996 and are now known as Children of Color Lunches (COCL) in Grades I-VIII. These meetings are for students of color (children with Asian, African, Latino/Hispanic, Middle Eastern American, Native American, biracial and multiracial heritage). Research has shown that children are aware of race differences at a very early age and that affinity groups like these help to minimize the effects of racial isolation.

School Sisters was established in 2013-2014. It is designed to be a gathering of girls of color in Grades B-VIII; pride and celebrating natural gifts are the group's themes. Grade I Gradehead,Tamyko Morris facilitates the Lower School girls gathering and Middle School Director of Student Life, Laniesha Gray facilitates the Middle School girls gathering.

(The gatherings above are facilitated by James Greenwood and other SHS adults of color.)

• Rainbow Kids Affinity Group is for children of LGBT families in Grades I-VIII. Grade I Gradehead, Erica Rogers-Jensen and Physical Education Teacher, Michelle Young facilitate this group.

• There is a New Student Affinity Group for Lower School and Middle School students. The group meets over lunch once or twice during the school year. The division heads invite students to attend this optional gathering. Meetings take place after the Thanksgiving break.

• Steppingstone Academy students enter SHS in Grade VI and the Steppingstone Academy Students Affinity Group is designed to help Middle School students integrate their Steppingstone and SHS experiences. This group meets monthly. 

• The The Middle School Gender-Sexuality Alliance (MS GSA) is for all Middle School students interested in advancing the inclusivity of the SHS LGBT community. It is not an affinity group and is intended to broaden support for students and provide a safe place for all. This group is facilitated by: Mellisha Culpepper, Grade V Gradehead; Marta Rivas, Grade VI Gradehead; Louis Calderella, Tutor; Kirk Goetchius, Visual Arts Chair and other SHS faculty.
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