International School of Brooklyn offers a variety of affinity and ally groups for students, as well as adults in the community.
Affinity groups support identity development in students. The common experience of the group strengthens self-esteem and allows students to find affirmation, confidence, and resilience. The groups aim for members to feel empowered to engage deeply and honestly with other groups. Adult facilitators work to build a safe space for student members. Students are given the opportunity to share their personal and family stories, as well as to examine the world around them in a comfortable setting. Through activities and discussions, students ask questions, find answers, and develop their voices.
Students of Color Society (SOCS) – Kindergarten-5th Grade: For students who self-identify as persons of color. The mission of SOCS is to affirm, protect, and nurture the racial and cultural identity of students by creating a sense of community among ISB’s students of color.
Students of Color Association (SOCA) – 6th-8th Grade: For students who self-identify as persons of color. The mission of SOCA is to affirm, protect, and nurture the racial and cultural identity of students by creating a sense of community and agency among ISB’s students of color.
Gender-Sexuality Alliance (GSA) – 5th and 6th Grade; 7th and 8th Grade: For all students who self- identify as LGBTQIA+. The mission of GSA is to affirm, protect, and nurture the gender and sexual identities of students by creating a sense of community and safe space for learning, concerns and issues, and expression.
Ally groups are spaces designed for groups of students who are advocating for members of social groups outside their own, specifically those that face discrimination daily. Allies typically belong to a more widely represented group but work to help others facing different challenges to succeed in various ways. Ally groups allow students to learn more about groups outside of their own, challenge and encourage them to think critically and act as advocates for others, and help them develop as leaders. Ally groups equip students with the skills to engage in better collaboration and partnership with others. In these groups, students learn best practices for allyship and how to be upstanders for change alongside those who they seek to support. Students will have the opportunity to ask questions about groups and issues, and discuss concerns, while strategizing on how to be active global citizens who promote positive change in the injustices and inequality around them.
Conversations About Identity and Gender – 4th Grade: For all 4th Grade students whether they self-identify as LGBTQIA+, questioning, or are interested in allyship. The goal of these sessions is to give students a space that is dedicated to topics related to identity exploration, gender, and allyship, and to allow them the opportunity to ask questions and discuss.
Agents of Advocacy (AOA): 5th-8th Grade: For all students who are interested in learning about ways to advocate for members of groups outside their own. Students will learn best practices for allyship and how to be upstanders for change alongside – not in front of – those who they seek to support. Allies typically belong to a more widely represented group. Groups like AOA are invaluable assets to the school community, providing needed space to gather and learn important tools for understanding and supporting others and promoting change where it’s needed most.