STEPS Alaska Updates
Stepping Up for Alaska's Youth!
Previous Newsletters
Theme: Language and Culture in School
Spotlight: Maori Immersion Schools Model Possibilities for Alaska
When is the last time you went on a trip that was truly life changing? The kind of life-changing which has you looking at everything you do, and thinking about how your new view on things is prompting you to consider changes to what you've always done. At the end of February, as a part of the Robert Wood Johnson Global Solutions Partnership, 12 Alaskans from different aspects of education (principals, teachers, school board members, AASB staff) had the opportunity to go one of these life-changing trips to Aotearoa (New Zealand).

One of the books created for use in New Zealand's Māori immersion schools.
Partner Highlights
Preschool Language Immersion in Yakutat, Hydaburg, and Juneau
Yakutat Tlingit Tribe began their Lingit Yoo X’atángi Kúdi Language Nest in January 2018, Hydaburg’s Xaad Kil Immersion Preschool began in September 2018, and Tlingit & Haida Haa Yoo X’atángi Kúdi in Juneau has been preparing to open these past months, hosted family nights (Woosh Tʼaaḵxʼi Gaawú), Lingít Toddler Times (AdátxʼI Gaawú) and is preparing to open the week of April 22-26th. Read the full story to learn more about these three schools making (or about to make) an impact in our communities.

Aotearoa (Land of the Long White Cloud- New Zealand)

Shak’shaani éesh, Community Engagement Educator with the AASB, reflects upon his experience in New Zealand and how it has helped inspire his vision of what could be in Alaska. He explores how the immersion schools there and the integration of community and culture with school have uplifted the Maori community.

Dive into Data
In 2018, 71% of STEPS students strongly agreed or agreed that, "This school is a welcoming place for families like mine."

In the same year, 56% of STEPS students strongly agreed or agreed that, "My school teaches about the history and culture of people who live in my community."
Source: STEPS Schools 2018 School Climate and Connectedness Survey, Grade 6-12 (Juneau, Sitka, Hoonah)
Leading Toward Cultural Responsiveness

"The purpose of culturally responsive pedagogy is to help each student, regardless of racial, ethnic, or cultural background, become an independent learner. But we confuse cultural responsiveness with simple multiculturalism to “honor diversity” rather than associate it with building students’ thinking skills" (Zaretta Hammond). Use the link to read the full article written by Zaretta Hammond for the AASB!

Around the STEPS Community
Check out upcoming events and resources occurring within STEPS!
Upcoming Events
Regional STEPS Partner meeting

April 29 -30, 2019 in Juneau; Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall

In the past several months, we’ve held rounds of community meetings and held some work group meetings in key areas such as early childhood, trauma informed practices, cultural integration, family engagement, STEM/STEAM, and post-secondary. The work has just started and there is more we can do to keep aligning our work.

The agenda has been shared with partners at end of March and is here (can add agenda I shared below). We look forward to seeing you!
April 29, 2019  
8:30-9:30 - Opening and Welcome
9:45-10:30 - Collaboration Examples Coalition
11:00-12:30 - Data 
12:30-1:30 - Lunch
1:30-2:45 - Immersion and Cultural Integration
3:00-4:00 - Snapshots
April 30, 2019
8:30-9:00 - Open and Welcome
9:00-11:00 - Transforming Schools
11:15-12:15 - School Transitions
12:15-1:15 - Lunch
1:15-3:15 - Family Engagement OR Post Secondary Education (concurrent sessions)
3:30-4:30 - Reflection and Close
Hoonah Schools Annual Ku.eex (potlatch)

May 3, 2019 in Hoonah

Hoonah City Schools is hosting their 29th annual ku.eex - students from preschool through 12th grade celebrate Tlingit culture through songs, dances, speeches, and skits, which are all performed in Tlingit. Click the below to read the full story from KTOO covering their 28th ku.eex last year.

Indigenous Studies Pathways

Applications due May 3, 2019 for enrollment at Thunder Mountain High School in Juneau

High school students can earn university credits and satisfy required high school credits in Indigenized core academic content areas through an innovative pathway housed at the Thunder Mountain High School and hosted by Goldbelt Heritage Foundation in partnership with the Juneau School District. Participants may be eligible for an Indigenous Studies endorsement with the completion of coursework and requirements.  There will be a student information meeting at the TMHS Library at 12:30 on Thursday, April 25th (pizza included) followed by a parent information session in the TMHS auditorium at 5:30pm.  For questions, please contact:  Frank Coenraad  or  Kate Cruz .
Sealaska Heritage Institute Summer Programs

Applications Due Soon

"Sealaska Heritage is offering seven major summer programs in 2019 for youth, including a math and culture academy, a performing arts camp, our arts and leadership academy, Baby Raven Reads events and our Latseen hoop and running camps" (SHI Facebook Page). Applications are not available for all the programs yet, but they all will be soon!

Discovery Southeast Courses

Discovery Southeast is offering two courses this spring that are free to teachers, open to community members, and are both worth 1 university credit.

"The paired May and June classes are part of a multi-year series in which we investigate Juneau’s special places. In week-1 we focus on geology/landforms, and in week-2, return to those same places, ‘layering on’ the biology: habitats, succession, culture, etc. Because we feature different places each year, teachers can take them in successive years without fear of redundancy. Taking both the landform and habitat classes (totaling 2 Ed-581 credits) makes a great complementary pair but is not required." - Kate Cruz, Discovery Southeast
Landforms of Áak'w & T'aakú Aaní: Year-2: Kaxdigoowu Héen(Montana Creek) &Eeyák'w (Amalga Harbor)

May 30, 31: 6pm – 8pm
June 1, 2: 10am – 4pm

This field-based class helps educators examine coastal and glacial geology and resulting landforms.
Habitats of Áak'w & T'aakú Aaní: Year-2: Kaxdigoowu Héen (Montana Creek) & Eeyák'w (Amalga Harbor)

June 6, 7: 6pm – 8pm
June 9, 10: 10am – 4pm

This experiential class introduces habitats and successional trends by investigating coastal, glacial, and alluvial habitats.
Send us your stories by the 8th to get your work featured in the STEPS Newsletter!
Funding for Afterschool Programming

Applications Due by April 26th

The Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Public Health, is seeking proposals from eligible applicants to provide services through the Positive Youth Development Afterschool Program. The Positive Youth Development Afterschool Program will support projects increasing youth protective factors and reducing youth risk factors through services provided outside of school hours, i.e., evenings, weekends, and school breaks for youth entering grades 5 through 8. Proposals for awards ranging from $100,000 to $350,000 are due April 26th.

J.M.K. Innovation Prize

Applications Due by April 30th

Do you know any 'social innovators’? The J.M.K. Innovation Prize ($175k spread over 3 years) is designed to support early stage, bold ideas being piloted by dynamic visionaries working in the fields of heritage conservation, social justice and the environment.

Training Rural Alaskan Youth Leaders & Students (TRAYLS)

Applications Due by May 10th

"The Training Rural Alaskan Youth Leaders & Students or TRAYLS program blends experiential education, on the job training, career counseling and job placement for rural youth in Southeast Alaska to get on the path to higher education and employment in natural resource stewardship" (TRAYLS website).

Youth Employment Services

Applications Due by May 15th

Youth Employment Services (YES) program is now accepting applications! The program runs June 1 - August 31 and assists youth in discovering career/education pathways while developing employment skills and teaching self-sufficiency. If you are a student 14-21 years of age or a non-student 16-24 years of age and looking for part-time or full-time summer work in your Southeast Alaska community, please apply!

Research and Articles
Example halibut hooks
Photo: Zoe Grueskin/KTOO
How carving halibut hooks teaches Juneau students both science and tradition
Zoe Grueskin; KTOO

Students at Juneau-Douglas High School: Kalé in Henry Hopkins' classroom are learning science through carving halibut hooks under the instruction of Tlingit carver and teacher Donald Héendei Gregory - read the full story from KTOO for more!

Jakob Sipary takes first in Informative Speaking
Lower Kuskokwim School District News

Jakob Sipary from Napaskiak took first place in the 2019 Drama, Debate and Forensics State Championships in the Informative Speaking category. Use the links below to read or watch his speech titled, Assimilation: Killing the Indian, Saving the Man.

LKSD Seniors Awarded Seal of Biliteracy
Lower Kuskokwim School District News

16 Seniors in the Lower Kuskokwim School District will be recognized upon graduation for their proficiency in both the Yup'ik and English languages - read on for more information on the Seal of Bilteracy and the efforts to make Yup'ik one of the languages it covers.

Yuuyaraq: Our Way of Life
Our Planet's Many Faces Youtube Channel

Cyrus Kinegak, a high school student from Chefornak, Alaska, contemplates the impacts of media on traditional Yup'ik culture.

Past Events
Native Youth Olympics Traditional Games

March 16-17, 2019 at Thunder Mountain High School in Juneau

Over 100 students from Hoonah, Yakutat, Juneau, Anchorage, Bethel, Ketchikan, Kotzebue, Metlakatla, Northern Arizona University, Utqiagvik, and Whitehorse participated in two days of games to test skills of strength, agility, balance, endurance, and focus. In the image, Team Juneau poses for a photo during the games.

Tlingit and Haida Immersion Preschools Gathering

March 23-24, 2019 at the Vocational Training and Resource Center (VTRC) in Juneau

Partners from Hydaburg and Yakutat flew into Juneau for a two-day gathering that included some CDA training provided by the AEYC as well as some time to meet and learn from one another. In the image, gathering attendees pose for a photo in the VTRC. In case you missed it above, click the link below for a full article about the immersion preschools in these three STEPS communities!

AASB 2019 Spring Academy & Legislative Fly-In

April 6-9, 2019 in Juneau

At the Spring Academy/Legislative Fly-In, School Board members and young adults from around Alaska gathered in Juneau to make sense of their districts' data, discuss issues and topics influencing education in 2019, meet with legislators and much more.

Supporting Transitions and Educational Promise is a Collective Impact effort between regional partners and partners in Angoon, Hoonah, Hydaburg, Juneau, Klukwan, Sitka, and Yakutat which strives to improve outcomes for Southeast Alaska’s youth. We aim to do that by:
  • Ensuring that all kids - from womb to world - are safe and supported in their schools, homes, and communities
  • Partnering to smooth transitions, fill gaps, and align existing resources
  • Collaborating to move the needle on key measures

STEPS Alaska is made possible by the US Department of Education Promise Neighborhoods funding award to the Association of Alaska School Boards
The US Department of Education Promise Neighborhood Grant U215N170038 supports cradle to career solutions for the STEPS AK partners. This publication is the sole responsibility of the Association of Alaska School Boards and its contributors.