Affinity and Alliance Groups
At Catherine Cook, we believe that a learning community is strengthened when there are both opportunities to see ‘windows’ into experiences different from our own, as well as ‘mirrors’ which reflect back to us something familiar. To that end, Cook supports a selection of affinity and alliance groups across divisions. The overall purpose of offering these groups is so that people with shared social identifiers can congregate, explore, and learn according to their shared experiences, as well as regroup in cross-identified communities with intentionality and the ability to even better engage in community building. To help further define the work that affinity and alliance groups seek to accomplish, we offer these definitions of what these spaces offer:
An affinity group is a group of people who share interests, issues, a common background, and offer each other support. People who make up an affinity group share a common identifier, for example, race, gender, religion, sexual identity, family status, etc. Affinity groups allow members to explore their experience of this shared identity through facilitated conversations which expands personal capacity to understand self and to build authentic relationships cross-culturally. The ultimate goal for an affinity group is to support the development of a healthy sense of self within that identity so that members will feel empowered to engage deeply with others in the wider community. (For further information about affinity groups, please see the FAQ below.)
Affinity groups at Catherine Cook include:
Banana Splits Affinity
- Students grades 1-4 whose parents/guardians are divorced, separated, and/or live in a single parent/guardian household
- Advisor: Veasna Kim and Heather Vardis
- Students of Color Affinity
- Students grades 1-4 of color, inclusive of multiracial and international people of color
- Advisors: Kathy Gilmore and Meridian Jackson
Lower and Middle School Combined:
Food Allergies Affinity
- Students in grades 1-8 who have food allergies and/or sensitivities
- Advisor: Ryan Trahey
Learning Differences Affinity
- Students in grades 1-8 who receive supports for different learning styles
- Advisor: Anne Russell
- Students in grades 5-8 who identify or their family identifies as Jewish
- Advisor: Erica Broder
Students of Color Affinity
- Students of color in grades 5-8, inclusive of multiracial and international people of color.
- Advisors: Sara Ahmed and Motoko Maegawa
An alliance group is a group of people who have a common commitment to a group of people who share a common identifier, for example race, gender, family status, or sexual identity. Alliance groups are for both individuals who identify as part of the identifier group as well as for individuals who stand in support and solidarity with people who hold that identity.
Alliance groups at Catherine Cook include:
- Gender and Sexuality Alliance
- Students in grades 5-8 of any and all gender and sexual identity (this is an alliance, so all identities are welcome)
- Advisors: Blaire Strom and Jason Krumwiede
- What is done in a student affinity group?
- Why have affinity groups?
- Who is invited to an affinity group?
- Is an affinity group a form of self-segregation?
- Are affinity groups divisive?
- What can my child or I, who doesn’t share an identity with current affinity groups, do to be a part of this community-building experience?
- With whom should I speak if my child/student has questions about affinity groups or issues related to affinity groups?