STEPS Alaska Updates
Stepping Up for Alaska's Youth!
Previous Newsletters
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
Inside Scoop: Early Childhood

The STEPS Early Childhood Work Group is focused on aligning and enhancing approaches to improve kindergarten readiness and explore approaches to better serve kids in Southeast Alaska. They recently met with t he Carolyn Willis from the Delta Health Alliance in Mississippi, who has supported similar initiatives in the Indianola and Deer Creek Promise Neighborhoods since 2013.

In this time, they have boosted their students' kindergarten readiness rate from 25% to 60%.

Mississippi Delta from above
Torbjorn Tornqvist; EARTH Magazine
Partner Highlights
Collaborating for Pre-K Success
There is a shortage of licensed childcare providers and the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska have teamed up with the Association for the Education of Young Children, Southeast Alaska and the AASB in order to provide free, effective, and relevant trainings for early childhood educators interested in pursuing their CDA or developing their skill-set to be a better provider for their students. Childcare certification and provider training is 1 of the 41 solution areas of the STEPS Collaboration.

For more information about the initiative, contact Joy Lyon or Alice Bagoyo at .

Dive into Data
In the STEPS Neighborhood, the data for the Alaskan Developmental Profile of kindergarteners is based upon: Large Motor Skills, Small Motor Skills, Group Activities, Regulates Feelings, Curiosity in New Things, Persists When Challenged, Numbers When Counting, Classifies and Organizes, Receptive Communication, Expressive Communication, Phonological Awareness, Print Concepts Awareness, and Alphabet Knowledge.

In 2017, 26% of kindergarteners in the STEPS Neighborhood were proficient in 11 of 13 of these goals.

Source: Alaska Department of Education and Early Development
Spotlight: Early Learning from DEED
We know that STEPS AK communities, along with early childhood teachers in our state, are working hard to prepare and equip children with the skills needed for kindergarten and beyond. Programs range from language nests, home-based programs, Head Start, district pre-school programs, and other programs. 

As a part of the collaboration with the Department of Education and Early Development, STEPS AK partners are invited to attend monthly webinars offered to pre-elementary program grantees. These monthly webinars are an opportunity to build community and capacity for those working in the early childhood field. Partners can share lessons learned or challenges that they have encountered.

Spotlight: Helping Little Kids Succeed - Alaska Style
AASB’s, Helping Little Kids Succeed - Alaska Style, has been a resource for Alaskans for more than two decades. Helping Little Kids Succeed- Alaska Style provides research and community knowledge on how to build assets or protective factors for children. This book was designed for Alaskan families, school staff and or any caring adults supporting youth to grow up to be strong, capable, and caring. This inspiring, practical and easy-to-read handbook spells out 40 developmental assets young people need to shape their own success. 

While this book has remained in high demand over the past two decades, AASB has worked with partners across Alaska to update the research, refresh the look, and provide some new Alaska style practices that help kids build assets at home, at school and in the community. These assets are grouped into eight main categories: (1) support; (2) empowerment; (3) boundaries and expectations; (4) constructive use of time; (5) commitment to learning; (6) positive values; (7) social skills; and (8) positive identity.

STEPS partners can access a PDF document here.

Helping Little Kids Succeed - Alaska Style is now available as an ebook that can be read on a Kindle device and on any smartphone, tablet or computer using the free Kindle app (no Kindle device required).

Join the Helping Kids Succeed Alaska Style Facebook page and share your ideas on how to help kids succeed Alaska style.
Across the Country
Raj Chetty, an economist at Harvard, explores the idea that the social and emotional skills that kids have in Kindergarten are some of the best predictors for their economic mobility down the road. This podcast from NPR: Hidden Brain digs into what the data reveals about how and why kids succeed.

Camila Vargas-Restrepo/NPR
Send us your stories by the 8th to get your work featured in Partner Highlights!
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

Please plan on joining us. This is a great opportunity for us to connect with other partners across the STEPS communities, work areas and for us to share pertinent program information.
School Climate Connectedness Survey (SCCS)

January 17 - March 22, 2019

School climate has been shown to have a huge impact on academic outcomes. The SCCS will give you an in-depth analysis of your schools’ strengths and challenges, how they compare with other schools and communities, and what you can do to improve school climate and connectedness.
Contact Jenni Lefing,, (907) 463-1672 to ensure that you have robust participation in this important survey. 

AEYC-SEA | Early Learning Symposium

February 22-23, 2019 in Juneau

Join the AEYC-SEA for their annual early learning symposium. The theme this year is, "Hands On, Minds On! Arts in Early Education." Note that there is a pre-symposium seminar , The Art of Advocacy, that requires a separate registration from the bulk of the symposium - this can be done by contacting the host of the seminar, Hannah Weed.

CDVSA Prevention Summit

March 6-8, 2019 in Anchorage

"The Summit is a capacity building event which is designed to support communities to implement primary prevention strategies specific to domestic violence, sexual assault and/or dating violence and stalking within each community... Workshops developed for the Summit are designed to build baseline knowledge in the area of primary prevention work and include: building blocks for prevention and successful strategies for implementing and evaluating community-based programming." - CDVSA Website

There will be time set aside for STEPS partners to plan together.

DEED ECHO Session Webinar - Resiliency: Helping Our Children Be Ready for School and Life (FREE!)

March 7, 2019; 9:30am – 10:45am

Didactic Presenter: Deanna Beck - Resiliency: Helping Our Children Be Ready for School and Life

Objectives: Provide resources and information to educators for themselves and to share with families on how to help young children develop resiliency even during times of adversity or students impacted by trauma so the children will be better prepared for school and in life.

Impact: Pro vide knowledge of how ACEs can be applied to our younger students an d how parents, caregivers, and educators are able to help students build skills to calm and feel safe.

Join by phone: 1-669-900-6833
Access code: 475 961 541
Join Zoom Meeting:
Summer Internship Opportunity

Applications Due by March 15, 2019

Senator Lisa Murkowski coordinates a summer internship program with opportunities for just-graduated Alaskan high school seniors in both state offices and her Washington D.C. office. Senator Murkowski also operates a similar internship program for college students. Applicants are strongly urged to submit their application via fax (202-224-5301 Attn: Intern Coordinator) or e-mail as the Senate’s mail screening procedures can significantly delay delivery and late applications will not be considered.

Child Abuse & Neglect Prevention Grants (up to $10k!)

Applications Due by March 15, 2019

The Alaska Children's Trust offers Tier 1 grants worth up to $10,000 to organizations throughout Alaska working to prevent child abuse and neglect.

STEPS-Related News
Developed by Darkhorse Analytics
Opportunity Atlas
Kerry Anne McGeary, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

The Opportunity Atlas allows users to interactively explore data on children’s outcomes into adulthood for every Census tract in the United States. This can inform local efforts to build equitable, prosperous, and healthier communities.

Source: C. A. Nelson (2000); Reach Out & Read
The Importance of Encouraging Parents to Read Aloud to their Young Children
Nikki Shearman, Reach Out & Read

Critical pathways a child's brain are formed within the first few months of life, and the brain is 95% of it's full size by age of six. Read the full story to see how researchers are hoping to leverage this information for an improved understanding of how we raise our young ones.

Northside Achievement Zone Logo
Results NAZ: Early Childhood Education
Sarah Gehrig, Monica Idzelis Rothe & Cael Warren, Wilder Research

The Northside Achievement Zone is a Promise Neighborhood on the north-side of Minneapolis, MN. Click on the link below for an in-depth report on their findings and strategies to improve early childhood education.

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.