January 25, 2023
The Department of Equity & Community Engagement continued this year on the District’s equity journey to find voices that are unheard. This fall, we met with a group of parents from the Chinese community. They enjoyed this opportunity to connect so much that they spurred the creation of our first affinity group. Through dialogue with the Chinese affinity group, our administrative team gained so much knowledge into their community. We wanted to expand our reach to find other communities who felt they were unheard.
As we sought to gather input from other groups, including the Hispanic and Latino community, the Indian community, and the African American community, we supported them in forming affinity groups. The affinity groups were formed based on their shared interests or goals to act collectively for a specific purpose. Many affinity groups already exist informally in this District. In fact, we found the Neurodiversity Family Network met the criteria of an affinity group and was thus added to our roster.
As our roster expanded, each group expressed an interest in coming together and learning more about each other. With this desire in mind, the District hosted an Affinity Group Celebration on Wednesday, Jan. 18. In addition to our District administrators, the Beachwood Board of Education and various other District administrators were present. The format for the evening provided an opportunity for individual affinity groups to meet with each of our District administrators. The groups shared their hopes, desires, challenges, and opportunities for partnership in improving their group’s experience in our schools. Our District administrative team gathered compelling feedback that will help guide future efforts for inclusivity. Beachwood Schools is committed to doing the critical work of ensuring all students and families feel valued and empowered to succeed.
Though this work has just begun, the impact of the affinity groups is already being felt. We collaborated with the affinity groups to adjust the district calendar to reflect our school community. Follow this link if you’re interested in joining or forming an affinity group.
View more photos of the Affinity Group Celebration on Facebook.