STEPS Alaska Updates
Stepping Up for Alaska's Youth!
Previous Newsletters

We want to thank all of our STEPS partners including school districts, tribes, non-profit organizations, and the University staff who have worked extra hard this year to serve students and families.

Your teams have been innovative, resourceful, and dedicated to making sure that students and families are fed, safe, connected, and learning. While some of you will be taking time off over the summer, please keep us in the loop with your activities. Send us your pictures and celebrations.

Gunalchéesh. Haw'aa, Thank you.  
Lori, Lisa, Tyler, Claudia, Konrad, Heather, Emily & Stephanie
One of the many drive-thru end-of-schools ceremonies in Juneau
Place Based Learning
Camille Booth, Assistant Superintendent of the Hydaburg City School District, spoke to Hydaburg’s experience in creating place based curriculum. If you would like to see the presentation slides with some great examples of how Hydaburg has integrated local culture and resources into place based learning in action, you can check them out here . Camille, thank you so much for your time and insight!  If you are interested in joining one of the place-based learning discussions, please contact Tyler Breen
Culturally Responsive Teaching
We’re happy that 35 of our STEPS participants joined Zaretta’s Professional Book Study with 9 opting to take for credit with additional meeting time with their cohorts and final project. If you were unable to join the sessions, but have been reading the book and are interested in watching the discussions for the sections (READ MORE)
A Framework fro Reentry & Reopening: The Department of Education and Early Development (DEED), in partnership with the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS), has developed a framework for the reentry and reopening of K-12 schools for the 2020-2021 school year. The framework, branded ‘Alaska’s Smart Start 2020’, is centered on student learning and how the delivery of education will continue under guidelines developed by DHSS for how schools can safely operate in low, medium, and high-risk environments.

S chool Climate and Connectedness Survey: Results were recently released.
Reviewers Requested
We are honored to ask for your help reviewing and improving two exciting new resources for school districts and communities. If you are interested in providing feedback on the two resources below, feel free to contact Claudia Plesa at . Those interested can be part of group review sessions or provide electronic feedback.

  • The Alaska School Family Partnership Framework was developed as a resource for schools and districts in Alaska that wish to deepen their partnerships with families. This Framework provides tools, strategies and case study examples for doing this work. This framework has come together in partnership with many of you, and with Alaskan teachers and community members. An outline of the Framework can be found here.

  • The Trauma Engaged Framework Toolkit is a collection of tools, next steps, and guidance provided to school districts who are working on becoming Trauma engaged. It is being developed in partnership with the Department of Education and Early Development.
Summer Learning Opportunities
Camps & Covid - Health Mandates
Students, teachers, and guardians have worked tirelessly to stay engaged remotely since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that classes are winding down for summer, similar restrictions will affect how camps can operate safely. The latest information from the State - moving from Phase II to Phase III/IV - and its impacts on summer programs can be found here
“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” - Attribute to W.B. Yeats.
Keeping the flame burning during the summer!
Summer experiences from culture camps and STEAM experience to credit recovery programs can help stoke educational fires and stave-off summer learning loss.

Even with the restrictions imposed by Covid-19 communities are working hard to find ways to keep kids connected and inspired over the summer.

This is a sampling of camps & resources that are currently available to students across Southeast Alaska.   
For Families And Children Entering Kindergarten: 

Kindergarten Transitions 
AEYC recently created a kinder-transition video featuring teachers, kids, parents, and principals with the core message that It Will Be Ok.

 This video can be used and shared by anyone. Several districts are also partnering with Baby Raven Reads to offer distance kinder-transition camps and more tailored resources later in the summer.
For Elementary & Middle School Students:

Storytime With Haa Tóoch Lichéesh Coalition  
Tuesdays at 10
Storytime for Elementary age students. AWARE and Haa Tóoch Lichéesh Coalition are offering weekly storytime for elementary age students every Tuesday at 10am. Join in for fun and educational stories and weekly space for kids to learn and connect. To join the Zoom link go: here

Voices On The Land: Performing Arts Camp
July 6-17
For 4th-8th grade students.
This camp will be offered virtually. To register contact Jen LaRoe,

Voices On The Land: Digital Storytelling Camp
July 3-17
For 4th-8th grade students
This camp will be offered virtually. To register contact Jen LaRoe,
For Middle & High School Students:

#TongassTime - A Distracting Hour Of Entertainment For SE Youth!
Wednesdays at 10
This time just for youth will be provided until we no longer need to hunker down and socially distance ourselves. Each week there will be a prize drawing for all youth attendees! Partnerships between Tlingit & Haida, AWARE, and the Juneau Sucide Prevention Coalition have helped make this possible.
Email Renee Culp, for the Zoom link.
Healthy Relationships For Teens! 
Thursdays at noon
AWARE is offering a virtual Healthy Relationships Class for Teens every Thursday at noon. Participants will have discussions and activities focused on building skills for stronger friendships, better relationships, and more resilience. All rising high school students and recent graduates in Juneau are welcome! Email for more information and the Zoom link.

Opening The Box: A Virtual STEAM Academy
June 21-30
For middle school students
Sealaska Heritage Institute will offer this course virtually and tools to participate will be provided for students who need them. Alaska Native middle school students can register here .

Latseen Northwest Coast Arts & Leadership Academy
July 6-18
For high school students.
This course will be offered virtually.
To register contact Katrina Hotch,  
Health Careers Pathway Camp
June 8th - 19th
Must be fifteen years old by June 19th to participate
In this free virtual courses students will get certified in Mental Health First Aid and learn about key topics in healthcare and behavioral health including abuse, neglect, wellness strategies, addiction, grief, stress, therapeutic practices, and mental health. Participants will also have the option to earn 2 college credits for attending. Register here .

Outer Coast Summer Seminar
For rising high school juniors and seniors
Application deadline May 31
Summer Seminar students will choose from a slate of stellar academic course offerings, execute project-based virtual service for the community of Sitka, and design integral components of future Outer Coast Programs, all while building a community of learning online. Outer Coast will meet all demonstrated financial need and can provide technological accommodations as well. Students can apply at

UA Advantage Dual Enrollment
The University of Alaska Fairbanks and Southeast have teamed up to make it easy for high school students to enroll in e-learning courses. These dual enrollment opportunities allow students to earn both high school and college credit while also getting exposure to college material. The Advantage Program offers discounted rates to participating school districts, and there are scholarships available for eligible students from STEPS communities. Find out more by emailing Tina Ryman, .
For College Students:

Successful Scholars
August 18-20
For incoming freshmen at UAS
The Successful Scholars Program is designed to help incoming freshmen who are Alaska Native, first-generation, low income, and/or underrepresented students feel at home at the University of Alaska Southeast. During the three-day program - and throughout the year - Successful Scholars will have the opportunity to develop deep connections with peers, faculty, and staff while learning new skills to help navigate life after high school. Travel to UAS from the students’ home communities will be provided. Incoming freshmen enrolled at UAS can apply here .

Outer Coast Year
For rising high school graduates (2020 or earlier)
Application deadline: June 30
Fall Semester: August 31 - December 19; Spring Semester: January 19 - May 8.
Students may apply for one or both semesters.
Each semester, Outer Coast Year students will participate in two engaging, seminar-style courses, enter service partnerships with Sitka-based organizations, and self-govern their campus's present and future policies. Outer Coast will meet all demonstrated financial need for program costs and travel expenses. Students can apply at
For The Whole Family:

Strengthening Families Through Culture
The Sitka Native Education Program and Tlingit & Haida are co-hosting Strengthening Families through Culture , a virtual culture class intended for the whole family. The classes include Lingít language, storytelling, book share, Northwest Coast Art, Traditional Games, and song and dance. For more information, contact: Will Kronick at

Formline Fridays & Food Sovereignty Fridays
Fridays at noon
For UAS students…and anyone else who would like to join!
Formline Fridays and Food Sovereignty Fridays with the Native & Rural Student Center (UAS). Contact Kolene at to be added to the mailing list.
For Teachers, Staff, Board Members and Program Managers:

Daily Gathering To Strengthen Our Spirits
Monday - Friday, 9-9:30
Haa Tóoch Lichéesh Coalition is offering a place for parents, teachers, staff, and teens to gather for daily practices that regulate our systems and strengthen our spirits. We meet every M-F 9-9:30 AM. This gathering is co-led by community leaders and coalition partners. To access the zoom link please go: here or for more information contact Ati Nasiah. Email
Meeting ID: 247 742 395, Password: 022171

Amplifying Stories Through Arts And Culture
July 20-31, M,T, Th, F, 4-6 hours per day
Offered in partnership with Alaska Arts Education Consortium and Sealaska Heritage Institute. Learn from teaching artists, cultural specialists and elders while also honing your distance teaching skills. Scholarships are available for teachers from Juneau, Yakutat, and Ketchikan. For more information contact

Our Cultural Landscape - Culturally Responsive Education Conference
August 3-8
This conference sponsored by the Sealaska Heritage Institute will take place virtually this year. The call for presenters for breakout sessions is open through June 1st.
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.