STEPS Alaska Updates
Stepping Up for Alaska's Youth!
Unbelievable as it may be, we are preparing to wrap up our fifth year with you, our STEPS AK partners.
Sealaska Heritage Institute - Photo on the left of a new collaboration with libraries where we piloted Raven Reads at the Library. The last event was Picking Berries. The child in the right picture is painting with berry juice!
Our STEPS staff attended and presented at our Promise Neighborhoods conference this past week on much of the work we are doing through and with you. It was affirming to hear from other grantees who were grateful for us sharing our experiences and examples. In the words of one of our two Trauma Engaged practices sessions, “You all are running some powerful programs.” We’d like to take credit, but in truth, you are doing this work.

Together we have been creating space and building relationships with each other, our community partners, students and families. 
It has been a joyous time to meet in person and revisit how we can best support students, families, and essential programs after the impacts of Covid. This has also meant we are regaining momentum and resetting what is essential for families and students. 

Many of us have been able to once again host Family Dialogues (Angoon, Juneau, Hoonah and Sitka), which have provided space for families to share what and how we can collectively support their child’s learning. 
Juneau School District - Families and school leaders talked about transitions to high school during a Family Dialogue.
Several of you participated and presented at Sealaska Heritage Institute’s (SHI) Through the Cultural Lens in August and also at Juneau School District’s STEAM conference in October. This work is helping to build our teachers’ capacity around culturally responsive/place-based, trauma-engaged, and family partnership using data, such as SCCS and community dialogue harvests, to guide and track the progress.
SAFV - During the 2021-2022 school year, the Sitka Youth Leadership Committee expanded its Peer Education program from 6 peer educators to 11 and reached over 220 students in high school classrooms with healthy and unhealthy relationships education. Teachers were very enthusiastic about having peer educators in the classroom and commented to students that, “it is valuable to have students’ peers present on these topics since students are more likely to listen to people their own age.”
Some of you also participated in the Now for Next workshop, which helped take the postsecondary Bridging Framework concepts developed here in Southeast and infuse them into the statewide conversation. There is now consensus that identity and SEL are essential components of postsecondary readiness. Now for Next partners planned next steps to embed some of the keys to student success: early personal support and mentorship to plan for life after high school and clear opportunities for families to be a part of the process. 
Many of you continue to figure out how to best serve our youngest kids, who, in many cases, were most impacted by pandemic-related closures. Through pre-school immersion and centering culture in early learning programs or through strong kinder transition programs, we see how each of you are caring for our early learners and their families. We celebrate that Juneau voted to include childcare as part of the “infrastructure” that can be funded through sales tax revenue.
AEYC - Kalneegí, each child received a rain suit so that they can enjoy and connect with the outdoors every day.
There are so many other highlights we could share, but one final highlight we’d like to share; Haa Tóoch Lichéesh Coalition partners, including AASB, have been working to develop Restorative Practices Trainings and experiences which are rooted in Indigenous teachings - emphasizing interconnection and community building. At a recent training there were a lot of lessons learned about how to improve on and best support restorative practice work.
AWARE including Haa Tóoch Lichéesh unveiled the Healing Kootéeya (Totem pole) commissioned in partnership with the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska at Twin Lakes. The Kootéeya raising ceremony featured the Tlingit Culture and Language Literacy (TCLL) students who danced and sang at the ceremony.
Ultimately, our work is grounded in relationships. It informs us and also provides the trust and connection that our students, families and organizations need. We want to thank each of you for working hard at building, restoring and maintaining our relationships.

We look forward to continuing to systematically and collaboratively try to understand how we can better serve our families, students, educators, community, language, and each area of work.
Hydaburg School District
Students from around the state traveled to Juneau at the end of the school year for a one week summer career academy intensive cohosted by UAS, SERRC, Tlingit & Haida and AASB.
Thanks for meeting with us in the past months, weeks to finalize your work plans for year 6. We are excited to have this extension and we appreciate your understanding and assistance in helping our grantors see the work we’re doing together. Your workplans, reports, and data collection helps us share our stories, challenges, and successes. 

Gunalchéesh - Haw’aa - Thank you for the gift of partnership and collaboration.
Yoo at kooteek oolxéis' - Holiday Cheer!


Lisa Xunyéil, Emily, Shak’shaai éesh Konrad, Lori, Claudia, Kami, Maressa, Connor, Lauren, Stephanie, Raymond
Sitka School District - Summer cultural camp with students processing salmon.
Yakutat School District - students in the fabrication class helped the community by repairing boat trailers. 
Hoonah City Schools - Dancing and drumming at the end of the day grounds us in our culture!
Chatham School District - Haa Léelk’u Has Aaní summer cultural camp.
Sitka Tribe of Alaska - Cultural program, making a button blanket.
UAS - Professors Zoomed into classrooms in Angoon and Yakutat during the Community Engagement and Resources Challenges in the Local Environment (CERCLE) course.
Upcoming Opportunities
For STEPS Partners

STEPS Regional Gathering - Save the Date!
When: January 26th, 3:30 - 5 pm
Who: All STEPS partners
Where: Zoom - Register in advance for this meeting. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
What: Reconnect and launch for the final year of our work together!
Upcoming Workgroups or Trainings

Southeast Network of Alaska CAN
When: First Wednesdays of the month at 10 am
Who: Southeast Alaskans working to increase access to postsecondary education
Where: Zoom, contact Emily for the link,

Family Engagement PLC
When: Wednesday, January 25, 2023, 3:30 - 4:45 pm
Who: Family engagement leads
Where: Zoom
How: Contact Lisa Worl,

Host training
When: February 13-14, 9-5 
Who: Educators and community partners
What: Are you interested in learning how to facilitate ANDORE (Alaska Native Dialogues on Race and Equity) for your community or organization? If so, please join us and our partners from Haa Tooch Licheesh and UAS ANDORE Host Training. ANDORE hosting strategies are built on strong relationships, restorative communities, and systemic change, and provide opportunities for healing and growth.
Where: The Juneau Yacht Club

Family-School Partnership Teams
When: Wednesday, February 15, 2023, 1-3 pm
Who: Required for Alaska Family Engagement Center grantees and optional for STEPS community/school teams. 
Where: Zoom
How: Contact Lori if you are interested. 

Family-School Partnership Teams In-Person
When: Thursday, April 27, 2023 (all day), 
Who: Required for Alaska Family Engagement Center grantees and optional for STEPS community/school teams. Contact Lori if you are interested. 
Where: Anchorage
How: Contact if you are interested.

For Students, Families and Staff

Parents as Teachers
When: On-going
Who: Adults who are parenting kids ages 3 and under
Where: Online
AEYC’s Parents as Teachers program continues to offer in-home AND virtual home visits. If you know of a family with young children who could use some extra support, please refer them to Emily Thompson,
Outer Coast Scholarships Available for Spring Semester
Who: Recent high school grads
When: ASAP
Where: Sitka
Full scholarships are still available for students interested in joining the Outer Coast Spring Semester 2023, which begins in mid-January in Sitka.
Summer 2023 Internships
Who: Sealaska shareholders, descendants or spouses who are 18 or older
When: Apply by January 23rd for summer 2023
How: Apply here
Sealaska interns work with supportive teams to work on meaningful projects and provide new perspectives. You will be able to apply your education through practical experience in the field and business environment.
The Learning Connection
Who: Anyone over 16 needing support taking the next step toward college and career training
When: Daily
Where: Downtown Juneau and the Valley Library

Native American Heritage Books & Podcasts
Who: Staff, families, and students
Our friends at Sitkans Against Family Violence put together a great list of podcasts and books to celebrate Native American Heritage month. SAFV writes:
By listening to special radio shows and podcasts and reading books we can learn about the history, cultures, peoples, languages, and traditions of those who are the original keepers of this land.

Share it with others by having meaningful conversations about the past, present, and future of Indigenous peoples.

  • Coffee & Quaq
  • The Urban Auntie Show
  • All My Relations
  • Toasted Sisters
  • On the Land
  • Unbroken Tongue with X̱ʼunei Lance Twitchell
  • Blonde Indian by Ernestine Hayes
  • The Tao of Raven by Ernestine Hayes
  • Berry Song by Michaela Goade, for children of all ages
  • Through the Storm Towards the Sun by Carol Feller Brady
  • When the Wind Was a River: Aleut Evacuation in World War II by Dean Kohlhoff
  • Once Upon an Eskimo Time by Edna Wilder
  • Shadows on the Koyukuk: An Alaska Native's Life Along the River by Sidney Huntington
Looking for additional ideas? Check out the STEPS Resources page for past newsletters and other STEPS-related resources.