What is an affinity group?
An affinity group is a group where everyone shares a particular identity. This identity can be based on race, gender, language, nationality, religion, etc. Affinity groups can be a place for people to come together to learn more about their identities and feel more connected with others who share them. During affinity groups, participants might share their experiences or focus on working toward a particular mission or goal. Many of us already belong to unofficial affinity spaces such as sports teams, musical groups or classes, etc.
Can anyone attend an affinity group?
Because affinity groups are a space for students of a specific identity group, only members of that group may attend. However, all students at Tenacre in grades 4-6 have at least one affinity group they can attend (see below for specific groups).
What affinity groups does Tenacre offer?
Currently, Tenacre offers the following affinity groups for our students in grades 4-6: Multicultural Group, Girls Can, Boys to Men, Stuversity, and Wakanda Style. Please see below for descriptions of each group.
Multicultural Group: Multicultural Group is our largest student affinity group as any student in grades 4, 5, or 6 can attend this group; the shared affinity here is being an upper-grade student. We discuss topics like, what culture means, the similarities and differences between our own individual cultures and the cultures of others, Tenacre’s school culture, and strengthening our inclusive community. The Multicultural group also offers our older students an opportunity to get to know peers in different grades on a more personal level and to take on a leadership role through sharing their learning with the larger school community.
Girls Can: Girls Can was created and named by students. The purpose of this affinity group, which is open to girls in grades 5 and 6, is to create a respectful and fun environment in which girls discuss important issues, work together on projects, empower themselves and each other, and build their self-confidence. The group also helps participants be more supportive of each other to help navigate some of the difficult social dynamics that can be common at this age.
Boys to Men: Boys to Men is open to boys in the 5th and 6th grades. The purpose of the group is to help our boys gain the confidence and courage to stand up for what is right and to be leaders both in and out of school. We discuss current events, social norms, trends, what it means to be a boy both at Tenacre and in society in general, and what it means to grow up from a boy to a man.
Stuversity: Stuversity offers self-identified students of color in grades 4, 5, and 6 an opportunity to come together in an environment where they make up the majority. Deep cross-grade connections are forged and strengthened throughout the year. As a group, students engage in conversations about race, identity, culture, stereotypes, how to build community, and get to know each other on a deeper level. Students also have the agency to pose questions or discussion topics for the group to think about collectively and for others in our community to explore as well.
Wakanda Style: Wakanda Style is another student-created and named affinity group that offers Black and African-American self-identified students the opportunity to examine topics that specifically pertain to their experiences that may not pertain to other students of color. Children have the opportunity to converse and collaborate with each other about these topics in a space where while their racial identity is one of the central foci, they are not looked at as the experts or representatives of all people who share their racial identity. Like Stuversity, deep cross-grade connections are forged and strengthened throughout the year, and students also have the agency to pose questions or discussion topics for the group to think about collectively and for others in our community to explore as well.
How do affinity groups support and foster inclusion?
We all benefit from interactions with people who share common identities, cultures, and/or experiences. This is especially true when these identities are not reflective of those of the larger community. Students of color, for example, may have never experienced a time when their racial identity was that of most others in a group. During affinity group meetings, students can share freely with others in their identity group who may have had similar experiences. These groups can help students feel more visible and thus more included in our larger community. Affinity groups enhance Tenacre’s broader commitment to inclusivity.
Is attendance mandatory?
It is best practice to always make attendance optional. No one identity group exists as a monolith; we all have different wants and needs. If a student isn’t interested in participating in an affinity groups, they may remain in their homeroom with their other classmates.
Are affinity groups only for students?
No, affinity groups are not just for students. Historically, Tenacre has offered a number of parent groups based on their interests and needs. If you are interested in a parent group not currently offered, please email Jaleesa Anselm at Janselm@Tenacrecds.org
. Our current offerings include:
Families of Students of Color:
This group is open to any adult caretaker of a student of color at Tenacre; the caretaker does not also need to also be a person of color. In this group, we discuss the various ways Tenacre can continue to support our students of color as well as the various experiences of families of color at Tenacre.
This group falls under the Tenacre Parent Association (TPA) and is a group specifically for dads and other male caregivers. That Dads' Group pursues a variety of social and community service events throughout the year for dads, guardians, special friends, and kids. Historically the Dads' group has hosted the very popular Pancake Breakfast and Campus Clean Up. The Dads' Group also organizes social events to facilitate connections among the Dads/guardians of Tenacre students.
Is it Possible to add additional affinity groups?
Please keep in mind that as a small school, it is not possible to create an affinity groups for every identity represented in our community. However, if students or guardians have a need for a specific affinity space, they should reach out to Jaleesa Anselm, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion about how to support this need.