Rainbow Club Promotes Belonging for All Identities at Windward Middle Schools

Middle school students in Grades 5-9 had a new after-school club option to consider this year—the Rainbow Club. Led by Manhattan Middle School Guidance Counselor Mr. Ackerman and Manhattan Middle School Assistant Teacher Ms. Ahuja, the Rainbow Club provides a non-judgmental space for students of all identities.  

Because all after-school clubs are virtual this year, it allowed the unique opportunity for students in both the Westchester and Manhattan campuses to participate in Rainbow Club and get to know each other better. 

The group meets for an hour each week after school to discuss a range of topics surrounding gender and sexuality. The first half of each session typically entails games and icebreakers so the middle schoolers can deepen friendships and learn more about each other's identities. Later, Mr. Ackerman and Ms. Ahuja lead the students in structured and topical conversations.  

So far, the Rainbow Club members have defined gender and sexuality terms, practiced how to recover from a mistake if something hurtful is said, explored court cases on LGBTQ+ rights, and learned about the history of stereotypes and representation of identities in media.  

“The main thing I hope the students involved feel is a meaningful sense of belonging in the Windward community and support from their school,” said Mr. Ackerman. “They all have been consistently enthusiastic with every conversation, and it’s great to see how they are supporting each other.”