STEPS Alaska Updates
Stepping Up for Alaska's Youth!
Previous Newsletters
Theme: Understanding School Climate & Chronic Absenteeism
Spotlight: 2019 School Climate and Connectedness Survey Results Are In!

School climate matters. How students, staff, and families feel about their school’s climate and how connected they are to adults and peers, impacts academics, high school graduation, attendance, and psychological health. Read on for a summary of the data, how it influences work within STEPS, and to explore the results for yourself!

Partner Highlights
Navigators: Choosing Life's Direction
How do we support our most vulnerable youth through programming that extends beyond the classroom and home? Navigators, a program within the Cultural Heritage and Education Department with Tlingit & Haida, offers a wide range of programming to provide support to tribal youth who are in need of varying levels of care. Read the full story to learn more about Compass Gatherings, other Navigators programming, and plans they have to expand their reach and access in the near future!

Results Count: Assessing Chronic Absenteeism

Studies have found that 60% of students who do not finish high school could be identified in middle school by looking at a combination of chronic absenteeism and poor academic performance. As an indicator, chronic absenteeism can give us insight about who needs interventions during middle school in order to stay on track to graduate from high school - read the full story for strategies and solutions being explored within STEPS!

Dive into Data

Among 4th through 9th graders in the STEPS Neighborhood, children who are Alaska Native or 2 or more races are 1.35 times more likely to be chronically absent than white students.

Among these same 4th through 9th graders, children who come from low income homes are 1.64 times more likely to be chronically absent than children from higher income homes.

We know there are many systemic inequities and historical contexts to integrate into our work to better support all students in our communities. 

Source: Alaska Department of Education and Early Development
Across the Country

The National Center for Families Learning introduced a family literacy model in southwest Detroit that led to success in not only bringing together families to build relationships, but in a way that leads to improved attendance while boosting reading and writing skills. Use the link below to read the full story and access the full scope of resources available from Attendance Works!

Around the STEPS Community
Check out upcoming events and resources occurring within STEPS!
Upcoming Events
FIRST in Alaska Summer Coach Training

July 29 - Aug 1, 2019 at UAA College of Engineering

Hoping to start a robotics program at your school or through your organization? Earn while learning how to use robotics as a tool to inspire our kids! There's no experience necessary and the class is appropriate for those looking to use robotics in the classroom or as an after school program for K-12. One-credit class for K-3 coaches/teachers is Monday, July 29 - Tuesday, July 30. Three-credit class for coaches/teachers for grades 4-12 is Monday, July 29 - Thursday, August 1. All classes will be held at the UAA College of Engineering.

Haa Kusteey í Áyá Haa Tóo Yéi Yatee Culture Camp

July 14 - 16, 2019 at Kennel Creek Cabin

"The camp will be held at the Kennel Creek (Freshwater Bay cabin) where no electricity, running water or plumbing exists. Campers will learn to work together in harvesting foods from the woods, beach and water. Students will be learning traditional art forms, as well as learning traditional harvesting practices, and Lingít song, storytelling, and dance and Lingít Tundataaní."

Application available at HCS from Ladonna Dybdahl and can be dropped off at the Youth Center or Hoonah City Schools. Children of ALL are ages encouraged to apply, but ages 10-18 will have priority for this camp.

Se alaska H eritage 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!

Alaska School Safety & Well-Being Summit

September 18-19, 2019 at the Egan Center in Anchorage

Each district will be provided travel funding to bring in a team that may include administrators, teachers, school counselors, parents, students, community members, and school board members. DEED has planned the Summit to accommodate teams of up to six from each district. More information to come.

The AASB is also planning a pre-summit gathering for STEPS and other partners on September 16th and/or 17th. Contact Sharon Fishel at for information about the summit, and Lisa Worl at for more information about the pre-summit gathering.
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!
UAS Successful Scholars

This program provides social, academic and financial support to assist first-generation and underrepresented students in their adjustment to campus life. Students who opt into the program will participate in social activities, workshops, academic support programs, service opportunities and maintain regular contact with their peer mentors. Successful Scholars will have the option to participate in the Camping with Spike Experience, a pre-orientation, off-campus retreat to provide first-time freshmen with the opportunity to build strong bonds with UAS peer leaders and their fellow scholars, while participating in traditional outdoor activities and learning more about themselves and their potential to succeed at UAS.  

For more information contact Tina Ryman, UAS STEPS Program Coordinator and Transition Advisor at or 907-796-6221.
Motherhood is Sacred

Mondays, June 24th - September 16 in Juneau

A new 12-week session of the Motherhood Is Sacred™ program will begin on June 24th! The sessions will be held every Monday through September 16th, 2019 and are designed to strengthen families through guided discussions on responsible parenting and will explore topics on choice, wisdom, self-identity, and relationships. To signup, contact Crystal Christiansen at 907.463.7167 or Marianna Bethel at 907.463.7161.

Fatherhood is Sacred

Thursdays, August 1st - October 17 in Juneau

There is no role in life more important than being a parent...The Fatherhood is Sacred® (FIS) program is a 12-week class that brings fathers together for fun activities and discussions designed to guide them in teaching and raising children to develop the potential and attributes needed for success in life. Dinner and child care are provided. The classes are held very Thursday from 5:00 – 8:00 PM on the second floor of the Andrew Hope Building (320 W. Willoughby Avenue) in Juneau.

Tlingit & Haida Head Start is Accepting Applications!

Tlingit & Haida Head Start is a free federal program that is tailored to children 3-5 years, and we accept all children regardless of income, race, ethnicity, etc.; Head Start serves free meals under the USDA Children, Adult Care Food Program; We have classrooms located: Angoon, Craig, Hoonah, Klawock, Juneau, Petersburg, Saxman, Sitka, Wrangell, and Yakutat.

Job Opening - Juvenile Justice Specialist - Juneau

Applications Due by May 29th

The Navigators Program is seeking a Program Specialist. The Navigators Program is an inspiring, prevention & early intervention program for Native youth ages 13-18(ish). In this program, the staff has the opportunity to influence youth’s lives through creating positive relationships, teaching life skills, and helping them navigate through adolescence into adulthood. It is a highly rewarding job with exciting opportunities. 

For questions contact Human Resources at or call (907) 463-7707. 
Research and Articles
After-School Programs Keep Learning Going With Student Data
Sarah D. Sparks ; Education Week

"While many after-school teachers across the country work to tailor their programs to students or to align to local curriculum, [Teacher Chandra] Clariette has an edge: Backfield in Motion gets detailed data from Nashville public schools on her students' academic scores, behavior, attendance, and interests—along with the training to use the information to tailor instruction."

On Our Sleeves anchor logo
Mental health and your kids: How widespread is the issue?

"Mental health conditions among American youth are on the rise. And yet, large numbers of youth process their emotions alone due to the stigma surrounding these topics. The On Our Sleeves movement, launched on World Mental Health Day 2018, is on a national mission to break the silence and stigma surrounding children’s mental health."

Diplomas Now
Attendance Works

"Diplomas Now uses an evidence-based early warning system to identify and support students most at risk for falling off track and dropping out of school." Read the full story to see how the Diplomas Now program has helped create "significant improvements in their high school graduation rate and overall conditions for learning" at a couple high schools around the nation.

Past Events
Hoonah Schools Annual Ku.eex (potlatch)

May 3, 2019 in Hoonah

Hoonah City Schools hosted their 29th annual ku.eex - students from preschool through 12th grade celebrated Tlingit culture through songs, dances, speeches, and skits, which were all performed in Tlingit. Click the links below to view photos from the event and listen to KTOO interviews of Frank Wright, Gordon Greenwald, Mary Beth Moss, Amelia Wilson, and Tyler Hickman as they speak about life in Hoonah.

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.