Affinity and enquiry groups
In the Lower School, we recognize that our youngest students of color at ASL may experience school differently than their white peers. For this reason, we want to create a safe space for LS students of color to experience affinity with their peers through race-based affinity groups.
Race refers to skin color. LS affinity groups are created to support non-white students at ASL. When students experience affinity, their positive self identities are affirmed, and their lived experiences can be shared and fully understood. In some cases, students may bring parts of themselves normally reserved for home into this space so that their full identities are appreciated.
LS affinity groups are hosted by faculty and staff of color. Through play-based activities and open discussion prompts, students are invited to demonstrate self-awareness, family pride and positive social identities. Additionally, this safe space also allows students to share and process difficult moments that occur at school, and receive support and affirmation from their peers and other adults.
As a part of the Middle School's focus on belonging and inclusion, the Middle School offers students the opportunity to participate in affinity groups. In the Middle School, affinity groups are designed to allow a group of people who have a shared identifier in common, (e.g., race, gender, religion, family construction, etc.), and whose members, therefore, can speak from the “I” perspective. Middle school affinity groups serve as a space of support, affirmation and empowerment, where students can be their full, authentic selves.
Currently, the Middle School offers a students of color affinity group. This is an opportunity for any self-identified students of color to come together to explore their shared identities through conversations, activities and other forms of learning that will allow students to delve deeper into their lived experience as students of color at ASL.
The High School is committed to anti-racism work—this work is currently carried out in a multitude of different arenas, including student advisory groups, departmental faculty teams, cross-curricular teams and whole-division development. Through a coordinated effort and approach, the High School endeavors to empower students and employees in the division to recognize and identify racism within society, to address it, and to engage in inclusive and empathetic upstander dialogue around it.
The High School currently offers a students of color affinity group. This group provides students who identify as people of color with an environment in which they can explore and share their identities and experiences through an open and honest exchange of dialogue.
Affinity groups provide a safe and free environment where members can be their whole authentic selves. Affinity groups serve as places of support, affirmation and empowerment. The term affinity group at ASL describes a group of people who have an identifier in common (e.g., race, gender, religion, family construction, etc.). Affinity groups are for individuals who can speak to the experience of being a member of the group from the “I” perspective. ASL recognizes the vital role affinity groups play in creating an inclusive environment where all are valued, included and empowered to succeed.
Current affinity groups for ASL employees are listed below.
ASL Community of Color
ASL LGBTQ+ Community Group
ASL Women's Network
Jewish Affinity Group
Fertility Affinity Group
Enquiry groups at ASL provide personal and professional development opportunities for employees to more deeply study a topic of interest. Groups may be organized by interested groups of employees, or departments and teams. We currently offer the following enquiry groups at ASL:
- Anti-Racist Enquiry Group
- Critical Friends Groups
Examples of works enquiry groups have engaged in include:
- Book studies
- Shared professional development conferences and workshops
- Using protocols to improve student learning