Rainbow Club FAQs

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What is a Rainbow Club (or Rainbow Alliance)?
Every elementary school in CPS now has a Rainbow Club. Students may choose to go to Rainbow Club to socialize and enjoy fun activities to learn about and support the LGBTQ+ community. The name of each school's student group varies, but the educators who advise the clubs took a professional course together in 2022 and all have the same guidelines.

CRLS and every upper school has a GSA (Genders & Sexualities Alliance) instead of a Rainbow Club. The names are different because the content is different. Rainbow Clubs focus on self-expression, different families, and what it means to “be yourself.” GSAs address more mature topics, such as romantic relationships that are important to adolescents and teenagers.

Who is invited to join?
Some schools open their Rainbow Club to all grade levels while others limit participation to the upper grades. Students who identify as LGBTQ+, have LGBTQ+ family members, and/or want to support their friends who do are welcome to join their school’s Rainbow Club.

Who leads these groups and how are they trained?
Rainbow Clubs are led by educators in the school. As part of the launch of Rainbow Clubs in 2022, advisors took a course at Harvard University about making schools feel safe and caring for LGBTQ+ students of all ages, and worked together to develop their Rainbow Clubs. The club advisors continue to receive support from each other and from the staff of the Office of Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (OEIB).

How do students hear about the Rainbow Club at their school? Do they need permission to join?


  • The Rainbow Club advisors invite students to the Rainbow Club by:
    • partnering with the teachers of each grade that is invited;
    • sharing during all-school meeting times;
    • and/or making classroom announcements.
  • All Rainbow Clubs are optional and meet during the school day, outside of class time, so students don’t need a permission slip to attend.

Do students who attend miss any other activities?
All Rainbow Clubs are optional and never meet during class times. At most schools, this means students choose to spend part of recess, lunch, or breakfast with Rainbow Club. At other schools, students have “choice time” at another point in the day and Rainbow Club is one of the choices.

What are other options for students who don’t want to come?
Depending on the school, students who aren’t interested in joining Rainbow Club may enjoy regular recess and lunch, or have the option to join other club opportunities if offered at their school.

Can you share a “script” for my child to use if they don’t want to go, but also don’t want their teacher or friends to think less of them? How about if they DO want to go but their friends don’t?
Doesn’t want to go: “I would rather go to lunch/recess with our class, maybe you can tell me about it after?” or “I would rather do ____ choice during free time, let’s hang out later!”
Wants to go, but friends don’t: “I’m going to Rainbow Club during lunch/recess/free time, maybe we can chat/hang out later?” or “I think Rainbow Club will be a lot of fun, but if you don’t want to go, that’s okay! Everyone can make their own choice.”

What happens during a meeting? Can I see examples of some activities?
Activities vary by school and grade, but include things like designing their own pride flag, creating pronoun or pride keychains or bracelets, or reading books to learn about the LGBTQ+ community. Here are some example activities from one Rainbow Club.

Is this the first time my child will have heard about LGBTQ+ topics? Are elementary students too young to hear about this?
Cambridge Public Schools is a diverse community that includes LGBTQ+ children and families, so it is very likely not the first time your child has heard about LGBTQ+ topics.

Our district has a commitment to equity for all our students and families, which includes offering extra support for students who are at risk. Research shows that even young children who don’t meet “traditional” gender expectations are more likely to be bullied and feel unsafe at school. Having places where they feel like they belong, such as Rainbow Clubs, can help lower the risks students face at school because of their identity.

Office of Equity, Inclusion & Belonging

Contact Us

Manuel J. Fernandez, Chief Equity Officer
Leslie Jiménez, Director of Equity
Sam Musher, Youth Advocacy Specialist
Ailene Orr, Curriculum and Training Specialist
Mia Ferej, Special Assistant
Raymond Porch, Director of Family and Community Engagement
Manny Jeudy, Assistant Program Manager for Family Engagement
Debbie Bonilla, Family Engagement Specialist
Kasey Clermont, Social Worker For Students/Families Experiencing Housing Insecurity
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