by Yvette Avila, Middle School student equity programs coordinator/personal development teacher
The Lakeside Middle School student affinity group program creates space for student dialogue and activities to support students’ understanding of their racial identity and what it means in a larger societal context, while developing a positive sense of identity and self. Affinity groups offer opportunities to connect, share experiences, share resources, and identify success and challenges that impact student ability to engage with others or with an organization.
At the Middle School, all students participate in affinity groups facilitated by trained Upper School students of shared identity, who are supported by a faculty or staff member. The facilitator model helps build cross-division student connections and allows Upper School students to share their knowledge and experiences, both at Lakeside and in the greater community.
Middle School affinity groups meet monthly at a designated time during the school day and are followed by discussions and activities in advisory groups – an opportunity for questions and intergroup dialogue. Starting this year, prompts will also be shared with families to encourage continued conversation at home about their student’s experience.
The following groups will be meeting in the 2020-2021 school year.
- African, African American, or Black affinity.
- East Asian or Pacific Islander affinity.
- South Asian affinity.
- Latinx affinity.
- Multiracial affinity.
- White affinity.
The community is encouraged to learn more about Lakeside’s affinity and alliance program: Read about the Upper School program, reach out to members of the equity and inclusion team, or learn about the parent and guardian affinity group program. Find additional information about the purpose of affinity and alliance groups in this FAQ for parents and guardians.
Affinity and alliance groups are part of Lakeside’s diversity, equity, and inclusion work. Learn about the current initiative, Our Work Together, and review the initiative dashboard at lakesideschool.org/ourworktogether. Find information about programming, student blogs, and DEI leadership at lakesideschool.org/diversity-equity-and-inclusion.