Above: A meeting last year of the affinity group for parents and guardians of Asian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander students.
Affinity groups for parents and guardians, sponsored by the Parents and Guardians Association, are beginning this fall for the current school year. A new affinity group has been added – for parents and Middle Eastern students – bringing the total number of groups to eight. Additionally, the school is asking parents and guardians of white students to indicate their interest in opportunities for learning about the role of white people in supporting racial justice.
Head of School Bernie Noe and Director of Equity and Inclusion/Director of Student and Family Support Jamie Asaka emailed the following to parents and guardians on Sept. 30:
“Diversity and inclusion are fundamental values at Lakeside School. We started our work in these areas more than 50 years ago, and we continue to develop ways to honor the many voices, experiences, and backgrounds of our community members. As educators, we know identity impacts the ways in which students and their families experience Lakeside School. Our students have long had the opportunity to participate in affinity groups (gatherings of individuals who share an identity, e.g., race, sexual orientation, gender, socioeconomic class).
“Because of the great success of the student groups, we started parent and guardian groups, and they are now in their fourth year. Sponsored by the Parents and Guardians Association (PGA) and in partnership with the office of diversity, equity, and inclusion, these groups are designed to support families whose backgrounds historically have been underrepresented in the school.
“We have three main goals for these parent and guardian affinity groups:
- To foster a diverse and inclusive community, a key aspect of the school’s mission.
- To provide opportunities in which parents and guardians who themselves identify or who have students who identify with a specific identity can share experiences that impact their families’ engagement with the school.
- To facilitate relationships among Lakeside families.
“The first affinity group meetings of the year will be held in October or November. We recognize the groups listed below do not represent all the identities of our parent and guardian community, but these groups are based on identified needs of our students and families.
“Parents and guardians will gather in the following groups:
- Parents and guardians of Black, African American, African, or Afro Caribbean students.
- Parents and guardians of Latino/a or Hispanic students.
- Parents and guardians of Asian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander students.
- Parents and guardians of South Asian students (this group is also welcome to attend the Asian, Asian American, Pacific Islander group).
- Same-sex parents and guardians and/or parents and guardians of LGBTQ+ students.
- Parents and guardians of Middle Eastern students.
- Parents and guardians of multiracial students.
- Parents and guardians of students with learning differences (such as dyslexia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism spectrum disorder, and processing disorders).
“For parents and guardians of white students, we are also considering development of opportunities for learning about the role of white people in supporting racial justice. There is an opportunity to indicate your interest in that as well.
“If you would like to participate in one or more of these groups, please complete this brief questionnaire to help us plan. Once we know your preferred group, the group facilitator will reach out to you with more information about the date, time, and location for the meetings. We have provided more information about the affinity groups in [this] frequently asked questions document. If you have specific questions, please contact Jamie Asaka, director of equity and inclusion; Winston Yeung, the Parent and Guardian Association’s vice president for community, equity and inclusion; or Latosha Smith, the Parent and Guardian Association’s affinity groups coordinator." [You can find contact information for all three through the Veracross family portal.]