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DISCUSSION

Student Led Affinity Months

Affinity Month Playbook

Affinity months have been part of American school calendars for decades, spotlighting the people, history and events frequently overlooked in our day to day lives.

As a 20-year educator and Principal at Gateway Middle School, a charter school in San Francisco, I’ve seen the way these opportunities help students feel valued for who they are and inspire the larger community to broaden perspectives and grow as allies.

What’s the best way to recognize each affinity month? In many schools, events are planned and created by administrators and school boards with varying levels of support. At Gateway Middle, our students make these decisions. Student agency is embedded in our educational model. Students are taught to advocate for themselves, to seek the support they need at school, and to speak up so their voices are heard.

With that focus, it's fitting that our Gateway students drive our affinity month celebrations. Who better to showcase their culture and heroes than the students themselves?

Our students created and directed our Black History Month celebration.Their action plan was so successful we use it as our Affinity Month Playbook. We hope their ideas will help you celebrate the diversity in your school community.

Gateway Middle School Affinity Month Playbook

An Action Plan to Celebrate Greatness

  • Talent Show - Spotlight the talent in your school community by hosting a talent show.
  • Lessons on Allyship and Solidarity - Teach the meaning and impact of solidarity and allyship, highlighting tangible moments and examples throughout history.
  • Heroes’ Wall - Showcase national, local and community Affinity group heroes in a display created by students.
  • Excellence Awards Ceremony - Honor students, staff and community members.
  • Feedback - Get stakeholder feedback to improve the process, ensuring the experience remains meaningful and powerful, with authentic opportunities for folks to move from allyship to co-conspirators.

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