STEPS Alaska Updates
Stepping Up for Alaska's Youth!
STEPS Naomi Michelson and Ati Nasiah
Naomi Michalsen and Ati Nasiah with a basket of nettles. Photo Credit: Connor Meyer
Happy summer to all of our STEPS AK partners! Your dedication, knowledge and relationships made a meaningful difference to our students and their families this past school year.  

Together we have seen how schools and community partner collaboration has indeed led to doing it better together! We have appreciated working and learning together. Like many of you, the AASB will be in and out of the office, the STEPS team will use the summer to work on some focused projects, we will recharge and spend time with our families and community.  

 Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us over the summer to ask questions, and share any updates you have over the next two months. These will be included in the August STEPs newsletter.

Take care and we look forward to seeing you all together in the fall! 

With gratitude,

Stephanie, Lisa, Emily, Lauren, Lori, Claudia, Connor, Konrad, Jenni and Heather
Our Time Together
By Emily Ferry, AASB
STEPS gathering
There’s nothing like the power of spending time together, preferably over a cup of Naomi Michealson’s healing nettle tea. We are grateful to all who took the time to attend the STEPS gathering this May. While each person had a different takeaway, here are a few of the insights that you shared:
What has been our collective impact:
STEPS lg rw lw hp by
Left to right: Lori Grassgreen, Dr. Rosita Worl, Lisa Worl, Heather Powell, and Ben Young
  • The impact of our work impact extends beyond reading & math scores; it is not always captured in numbers but can be seen, heard, and felt in our schools. 
  • School districts & community partner collaboration has deepened our impact 
  • When it comes to relationship building, consistency in staff, programming, routines, and expectations can have a profound impact.

How we think about our time together:
STEPS Gathering Christian Nault
  • Our work together doesn’t have to end even if a grant does
  • Connecting with people who we can collaborate with is priceless
  • Our work takes the time it needs to take to do our work right
  • When meeting, it is always wise to ask “What is worthy of our time together”? We can get more out of our gatherings by thinking including shared learning opportunities into every meeting.

How does cultural & identity impact our work:
  • Knowing who you are is a source of strength from cradle to careers
  • Culture is prevention
  • Non-native teachers have permission & a encouragement to share the history & culture of this homeland

Tying it altogether and sustaining this work is taking care of ourselves and each other.

Check out the presentations and the original footage of the STEPS partner perspectives video 

PS - If you haven’t had a chance to fill out the evaluation, please share your thoughts so we can continue to improve upon how we’re using our time together.
2022 School Climate Survey Results are now Available!
By Lauren Havens and Jenni Lefing, AASB
Earlier this month, your 2022 School Climate and Connectedness (SCCS) results were released.  

SCCS provides a great opportunity for STEPS partners to understand the impact of efforts to transform school climate and strengthen relationships. 

A new question around household income was added to the Family Survey and 6th-12th Grade Survey: “These days, many families have difficulty affording basic things they need, like food, clothing, transportation, or housing. In the past year, how difficult has it been for your family to get the basic things you need?”
STEPS Student Insight: Students & families reporting it was somewhat difficult or very difficult to afford basic things they need felt less connected and favorable to school climate in all topics.

Districts and community partners are using the data to get insights and knowledge into what students, families and school staff members feel about their school’s climate and connectedness.

A Learning Recovery topic helps us to better understand students’ experiences with learning last year and their readiness for learning this year.

Insight: Students, staff and families reported learning loss, and more families than students or staff felt confident about students’ learning this year. 

50% of students, 54% of families, and 75% of staff felt students learned less last year (2020-2021 school year) compared to other years.

For this school year (2021-2022), 44% of students, 54% of families, and 41% of staff felt confident about students learning what they needed to for this school year. 

Two new questions were also added to the Family and Community Involvement topic on the staff survey.
STEPS SCCS question
You can access your district’s result to see specific schools, income groups, and age-groups or cultural groups separately.

Each school district has a unique link to look at results. How will you use your data?

Next Steps for Consideration: 
  1. Send out results to key stakeholders (to include district leaders, school board, school staff). Contact your district’ survey coordinator for the link. 
  2. Set aside time for staff, school board members, district leaders, and others to review the results. Work together to identify focus areas, and create action steps to improve school climate outcomes.
  3. Share action steps. Once action steps are identified, share and gather input on how steps can be implemented, and continue to visit these steps throughout the year.

Included with a district’s survey participation is tailored support from AASB to carry out these recommendations. Many of the STEPS districts are already having conversations around these results, and have been strongly encouraged to include STEPS community partners in these conversations.
Please do not hesitate to contact the School Climate Team at with questions about the survey and to figure out how your district can make the most of your school climate data.
Meanwhile, here’s the link to the STEPS district public link:
For Educators
Kayaaní Áwé Náakwx̱ Sitee; Plants are Medicine Symposium
June 4, 2022, 9:00am - 5:00pm
In Juneau at Thunder Mountain High School

Haa Tóoch Lichéesh, the Central Council of Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, and Goldbelt Heritage Foundation are excited to partner with Naomi Michalsen, of Kaasei Training and Consulting, Elise Krohn of Garden Raised Bounty (GRuB), and Elizabeth Campbell, of Northwest Indian College to co host Kayaaní Áwé Náakwx̱ Sitee - Plants are Medicine, a symposium to learn and share about the healing, medicinal, and spiritual properties of plants that will offer Indigenous-led hands on workshops and keynote and panel presentations.
Additional information, a draft agenda, and a registration form will be distributed by mid-May; please reach out to for follow-up.

Our Cultural Landscape: Culturally Responsive Education Conference
August 11 - 13, 2022
In Juneau, with key elements offered virtually

Sealaska Heritage Institute has hosted inspiring conferences that are free for educators to attend. The theme of this year’s conference is “Our Way of Life Persists”. The call for presenters has been extended through June 10th; please consider submitting a proposal to share the innovative approaches you’ve been developing!

Alaska STEAM Conference
October 14 and 15, 2022

This statewide gathering of educators will be held in Juneau this fall. Please consider sharing your wisdom by submitting a proposal to lead a session.  

Tutors needed
Now through the school year
In Juneau and virtually

Tlingit & Haida’s Navigators program is looking for tutors to support middle and high school students with math and English. Tutors can be current students or adults. Tutoring services are offered both in person and virtually. Those interested can reach out to Renee Culp,
For Students and Families
Summer Camps
In Juneau and virtually

Sealaska Heritage Institute is offering seven summer camps for students entering kindergarten through 12th grade. Please check out the list of camps and encourage students to register

Sheet’ká Family Challenge
Now through June

The Sheet’ká Family Challenge is a coordinated effort to get families spending time together, playing, talking, and sharing. Sponsored by the Sitka Pathways Family Engagement Workgroup, this challenge aims to help build strong foundations for healthy families in our community.

June 8-11, 2022
The theme of Celebration 2022 of Celebrating 10,000 Years of Cultural Survival. This year marks the 40th year since the regional gathering was first first held in 1982. To learn more, visit Celebration Programs.

Kaasei Healing Kootéeyaa
June 12, 2022 • 12:00 pm
Juneau, Twin Lakes Totem Plaza

AWARE and The Wooshkeetaan and L'eeneidì A'aakw Kwàan invite you to join in bringing hope and healing to survivors of domestic violence & help keep us all in stronger, safer relationships. To donate to this campaign (or project), please visit
Looking for additional ideas? Check out the STEPS resources page for past newsletters and other STEPS-related resources.