STEPS Alaska Updates
Stepping Up for Alaska's Youth!
Cedar ornament, cedar oil rollers, and tea blends participants made at SHI Family Night. Photo Credit: Naomi Leask, AISD Cultural Education Specialist.
Building strong relationships is at the heart of trauma engaged practices and these connections serve as the foundation for our SEL and trauma engaged work with students, with families, and with our school teams. 

STEPS partners, in and out of school, continue to deepen their professional learning, expand their instructional and classroom supports, and create intentional moments of positive relationship building.

The impacts of this work are far-reaching. At a statewide workshop designed to explore ways to improve Alaska’s low rate of postsecondary completion, one of the group's top recommendations was embedding culturally affirming social and emotional learning. 

When hosting conversations with families this year, family members and caring adults continue to request resources on how to help students manage anxiety, depression, and grief, how to help students and adults regulate their emotions, and how to help students plan for the future.

See how Sayéik Gastineau Elementary School, Sealaska Heritage Institute, and Yakutat Schools are intentionally building connection with their students.
Trauma Engaged Schools — Sayéik Gastineau Elementary School
At Sayéik Gastineau Elementary School in Juneau, part of our trauma engaged practice is creating intentional moments of joy as a school community. Every Friday, we have an all-grades morning Sing-Along which families are invited to join. This consistent practice strengthens connections, engages families, and supports self-regulation through music.
Family Wellbeing Night with Plants and SEL — Sealaska Heritage Institute
Sealaska Heritage Institute is incorporating SEL into their programs across the organization. One recent example is a Family Night event held in Metlakatla, where families had the opportunity to weave cedar ornaments; make cedar-infused oil rollers and tea blends, while discussing the healing properties of local plants for traditional medicines, and how relationship to land and plants contributes to personal wellbeing.
Families at SHI Family in Metlakatla, Alicia Maryott leading. Photo credit: Chelsea Martinez, AISD School Counselor.
Strengthening School Community — Yakutat School District
After looking at School Climate and Connectedness Survey data with AASB staff at the beginning of the year, staff at Yakutat School District wanted to focus on strengthening relationships in their building, and an elementary staff member suggested an elementary morning assembly. The goal was to connect with everyone before the school day began. In just 10 minutes, we say the pledge together, learn a new Tlingit phrase and learn a new affirmation that we repeat each day for that week.
Teacher Sarah Israelson holds up cards with the Tlingit words of the week in the daily morning assembly for Yakutat Elementary.
We end the time with a "Just Dance" video where we all have fun trying to learn some new moves. This 10-minute investment, ending with a playful moment of music and movement, builds positive relationships and helps everyone start the school day learning-ready.
School Climate & Connectedness Survey
What does your School Climate & Connectedness Survey (SCCS) say?

The School Climate and Connectedness Survey is full of rich insights. Results are available for every STEPS community, and the 2023 survey is now live for many schools.

Most schools find that staff, families and students have differing perceptions. For example, in our STEPS communities...

54% of students in Grades 3-5 said that "At school, there is a teacher or some other adult who will miss me when I'm absent."

In Grades 6-12, only 48% said, "There is a teacher or some other adult who will miss me."

Meanwhile, 64% of staff said that "Every student at our school feels that they have an adult who will miss them when they are absent."

Why is it that students don’t know that adults will miss them if they are absent? How are you letting students know that you are glad they came to school?
Upcoming Opportunities
ANDORE Host Training
When: February 13-14, 2023, 9 am-5 pm
Where: Juneau Yacht Club, 1301 Harbor Way, Juneau, AK
What: Join AASB, Haa Tóoch Lichéesh, and the University of Alaska Southeast for an Alaska Native Dialogues On Race and Equity (ANDORE) host training. Registration is free, but space is limited. 
Who: All are invited

For more information and to sign up now, please visit or reach out to

Youth Advocacy Institute
When: February 4-6, 2023
Where: Juneau - Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall, 320 W Willoughby Ave 
What: Join AASB and students from across the state for 3 days of advocacy. Meet legislators, learn how a bill becomes a law, spend time with school board members and more!
Who: Students, Grade 9-12

For more information, please contact or Registration can be found at

Tlingit & Haida Youth Summit
When: February 2-4, 2023
Where: Juneau - Generations Southeast, 3239 Hospital Dr. 
What: T&H Youth Commission are preparing an amazing Youth Summit to bring voices together for action. Gather with other youth to discuss issues and solutions, learn new things, meet new people, learn about Tribal government, and be a part of the change by sharing your voice.
Who: Tribal youth ages 16-27, Juneau residents’ registration

Unfortunately, due to travel arrangements, registration for youth living outside Juneau is closed.
Reach out to Navigators if you have any questions. or 907-463-7752.

Family Engagement Team Meeting
AASB is bringing together school and community teams to think about their family and school partnership efforts. This will include using the family engagement audit and setting clear actionable goals in a school or in your district. This will be in Anchorage on April 27th. 
Contact to register your group or get more information.

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,

Exploring Collaborative, Culturally Connected Career & Technical Education
When: February 3, 1-5
What: An opportunity to take a closer look at the Bristol Bay Region Career & Technical Education program and consider how Southeast School districts might foster a similar collaborative effort.
Who: School Board members, superintendents, CTE Directors and community support organizations
Where: Juneau and Zoom

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.
Where: Anchorage
How: Contact Lori if you are interested,

For Students, Families and Staff

Holding Each Other Up; QPR Suicide Prevention Training 
When: Saturday, January 28, 9:00 am-Noon
What: NAMI Juneau is offering a QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) is an educational program designed to teach community members how to recognize the warning signs of suicide and how to respond effectively. 

How Are Our Students Doing After They Graduate?
When: Thursday, February 16, Noon
What: As part of AASB’s “How do you know?” series, we will be looking at new and useful data sources to get a sense of how students are doing after they graduate from high school.
Who: School board members, administrators, and program staff 
How: Register here 

Suicide Safety Planning Workshop 
When: Thursday, February16, 5:30 - 7:30 pm
What: NAMI Juneau is offering a suicide safety planning workshop. Suicide safety planning is a written plan for what to do when someone is in a crisis situation. These can be made for a loved one or for yourself! The plan will list out steps and ideas on how to de-escalate the situation, assess risk, and make sure the environment is safe. 

Juneau Community Cafe on Opioid & Polysubstance Misuse
When: February 24, 12-5 pm 
Where: Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall

Outer Coast Summer Seminar 2023
When: The deadline to apply is March 1, 2023
Who: Current high school sophomores and juniors. Scholarships available for students who are Alaska Native, low-income, or first-generation.
Where: Sitka

How Are Our Schools Doing Implementing Trauma Engaged Approaches?
When: Thursday, March 16, Noon
What: As part of AASB’s “How do you know?” series, we will be looking at ways of evaluating trauma engaged approaches and what difference it's making.
Who: School board members, administrators, and program staff.

How Are Our Schools Doing Applying an Equity Lens?
When: Thursday, April 20, Noon
What: As part of AASB’s “How do you know?” series, we will be looking at ways of evaluating how our schools are achieving equity goals. 
Who: School board members, administrators, and program staff.

Alaska Native Language Summit Pre-Conference
When: Thursday, April 27, 2023, 9 am - 4 pm
Where: William A. Egan Civic & Convention Center, 555 West 5th Avenue Anchorage, AK


Parents as Teachers
Who: Adults who are parenting kids ages 3 and under
What: 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,
How: Please send referrals to Emily Thompson,
Rural Career Counseling 101 Class
Who: Staff in schools that do not have career counselors and would like to build a program from the ground up. 
What: Anyone can take this class for free on the Alaska Department of Education & Early Development CANVAS platform. Rural Career Counseling 101 is also available for one 500-level UAA credit. Those taking the class for credit will pay a $79 fee, and must complete the class by May 15, 2023.
How: for an invitation to the class.
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
Looking for additional ideas? Check out the STEPS Resources page for past newsletters and other STEPS-related resources.