Middle School Affinity Groups
A Place of Belonging
At Westside, community is one of our greatest strengths. We believe in intentionally fostering a diverse and inclusive environment to provide all students with a sense of belonging within the Westside community.
Affinity groups are groups of individuals that share a common identity. While this definition is very broad, in our context, we are focusing on creating spaces for groups that are underrepresented and under-voiced within the Westside community.
Affinity groups provide brave spaces where students and adults can explore their shared identity and experience. Affinity groups encourage students to embrace the different parts of their identity and to feel confident and proud about themselves rather than silently suppressing aspects of that identity. Affinity groups affirm emotional and intellectual responses to being part of a distinct subset of the larger Westside community. These groups are an important tool for reducing the sense of isolation, discomfort, and marginalization many children can feel, even in the most progressive school communities. These group meetings help students to feel more visible and more included in our community, and in doing so, they enhance our commitment to inclusiveness.
- Promote a sense of belonging.
- Allow students to explore their shared identity and experiences.
- Encourage students to embrace different parts of themselves.
- Build community.
- Allow students to feel confident and proud in who they are.
Westside's Middle School has created Affinity Groups in response to student requests for their need to explore their identity with individuals who have the same social identifiers as themselves. Affinity Groups are facilitated by trained faculty members who reflect the same named affinity as the group.
"Affinity spaces are designed for students to develop and strengthen their own lived identity. Affinity groups provide safe spaces for peers to explore and build a healthy identity formation." ~ Westside Alumni Student
2023-2024 Affinity Groups
- White Racial Justice Allies Group
- Family Dynamic Support Group
- Neurodiverse Community Members
- Gender Identity Boy Group
- Gender Identity Girl Group
- BIPOC Community Members
- Gender Identity Non-Binary Group
- LGBTQUIA+ Community Members
Affinity Group Resources
- Learning for Justice: Making Space
- “How Affinity Groups Saved My Life” by Trina Moore-Southhall
- “Identity, Affinity, Reality” by Julie Parsons and Kimberly Ridley
- “What White Children Need to Know About Race” by Eleonora Bartoli and Ali Michael
- VIDEO: Independent School Seniors On The Importance of Affinity Groups
- VIDEO: Expanding Affinity Potential: Affinity Groups in Elementary, Middle, and Early Childhood Education
2023-2024 EQUITY & INCLUSION SPEAKER SERIES
Westside School is excited to partner with local independent schools to bring the Equity & Inclusion Speaker Series to our communities. The purpose of this series is to raise awareness, challenge ourselves, deepen understanding, and empower our communities to advance their efforts to actively recreate systems into equitable, inclusive, and antiracist institutions.