Cindy P. Chun


Independent schools across the nation recognize the need to create inclusive communities for their students of color. Independent schools must embrace diversity and create communities in which students from all different cultures feel that they belong. The presence of diversity in the independent school environment is critical to the success of students of color. Many non-cognitive obstacles inhibit the success of students of color who attend predominantly white schools including institutional racism, oppositional identity, and internalized oppression (Fordham & Ogbu, 1986; Tatum, 2003). One of the many approaches that independent schools use to address inclusivity is the creation of affinity groups. The purpose of this study is to discover best practices of affinity groups in independent schools and how they are used to create a sense of belonging and inclusion for students of color. This qualitative study employs the Dynamic Narrative Approach to conduct interviews with diversity practitioners at independent schools that are members of the National Association of Independent Schools. Diversity practitioners were asked semi-structured interview questions through a password-protected wiki. A review of the literature and the findings from this study produced a list of best practices of affinity groups in independent schools, including possible downsides and how to overcome them. The findings of this study may be beneficial to independent school leaders and diversity practitioners who have not yet begun affinity group work at their schools. This study adds to the dearth of literature surrounding using affinity groups in independent schools to support students of color.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; Minority students; Inclusive education; After-school programs -- United States -- Case studies

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Madjidi, Farzin;