OCSU K - 8 NEWS
What is an affinity space?
An affinity space is a "safe place" where all participants share a common component of identity or a common passion. Often times, the students facilitate these spaces, or at least discuss topics that they are interested in. These groups are similar to groups like Girls on the Run or Velocity (for boys).
Recently, Glover Community School has partnered with Building Fearless Futures (BFF) to start a few affinity spaces for students. BFF members join students remotely rather than in-person due to the current pandemic.
Why does OCSU offer affinity spaces?
Every two years, middle and high schools across Vermont administer the Youth Risk Behavior Survey. This survey helps to identify risky behaviors that students participate in, such as drinking and drug use. It also helps identify mental health considerations like feelings of depression and suicidal ideation. This survey allows students to indicate if they are feeling bullied or mistreated by others as well.
Because of the pandemic, the last set of data was taken in 2019 and was just released in the spring of 2021. It's clear from the data that female students, students of color, and those who identify as LGBTQ are more likely to experience the risk factors like physical violence, bullying, suicidal ideation, and an overall unsafe feelings.
What spaces do we offer in OCSU?
Glover is also offering a Female Identifying Affinity Space and a Social Justice League Space. We've only opened these up to one cohort but will expand to other cohorts and OCSU Schools as the year progresses if there is interest.
The Social Justice League serves students of all identities. The group's common passion is a desire to discuss justice in the social sphere- racial justice, queer justice, disability justice, and gender justice. This is a group where students can start to explore their various identities regardless of their relationship to the dominant culture. It's a great first step to explore what it means to be in a space with other like minded individuals.
The Female Identify Space is a place for all folx who identify as female. As kids get older and gender issues become more prevalent it's helpful to be able to be amongst ones own female identifying peers to work out some of these issues and feel a sense of camaraderie.
Will you offer other affinity spaces?
- Male Identifying
- Students with Disabilities
We can also expand the currently running spaces to other schools if there is interest.
Who facilitates these spaces?
How can my child access an affinity space?
This permission form also includes a place for your questions. Whether you want to sign your child up for a space or not, you can always pose questions.