STEPS Alaska Updates
Stepping Up for Alaska's Youth!
What Does Your Future Look Like?
Students from around the state reflect on what they envision for their future, what strengths they can build on, and what skills and resources they might need to get there. Interview footage from AASB’s Youth Leadership Institute in November.
At AASB’s Annual Conference and the Now for Next post-conference workshop in November, the topic of how to help students prepare for life after high school took center stage. Youth, school boards, school staff, and community partners came together to discuss how to support students and families.

The Bridging Framework, which was developed with insight from STEPS partners, is one resource that can help. Read more about the Framework and what’s working in other areas of the state here.

Engaging youth in conversations about their future is key to supporting them in achieving their post-high school goals - whether that be college, career training, or finding a job.
Postsecondary Outcomes
What are Your (Community's) Strengths?
Helping students identify strengths and opportunities for growth can help them create a map for their future. The same activity can be applied at a community level. This May, Hydaburg used the Bridging Framework inventory to assess community strengths and opportunities. The group determined cultural identity was a strength while creating opportunities to partner with families was an opportunity for growth.
Hydaburg graduating class of 2022. Helping students know where they are from can help them understand where they are headed.
What Resources Do You Need to Get There?
When asked this question, students often say friends, families, resilience… and money. The good news: Alaska has a fairly low-cost burden for higher ed (in other words, postsecondary education doesn’t cost much and additional funding is available.) The bad news: Alaska has the lowest percentage of low-income students participating in postsecondary education (in other words, the students who need it the most aren’t tapping into the available resources.)
Early this year, University of Alaska President Pat Pitney estimated that Alaskan students are leaving $15 million on the table just by not completing the FAFSA. Alaska had the lowest completion rate in the nation. As of mid-November, just 7% of Alaska’s seniors had completed the form. The Alaska Education Grant is a needs-based scholarship linked to FAFSA completion. The earlier students complete the form, the more likely they are to receive the grant.
How are your students doing? The FAFSA tracker offers weekly updates of FAFSA completion rates by state (including the graph above), school district and high school.
Additional Resources
If you’re looking to “step” up your postsecondary game, here are a few folks who can help:
  • Emily Ferry can help you connect with the Southeast Network of Alaska CAN and support postsecondary inventories and planning,
  • Alicia Maryott can share more about Sealaska Heritage’s Haa Latseen program,
  • Renee Culp can link students to the Tlingit & Haida’s Navigators program,
Upcoming Opportunities
For STEPS Partners

Southeast Network of Alaska CAN
When: First Wednesdays of the month at 10 (next one: December 7th, 10 am)
Who: Southeast Alaskans working to increase access to postsecondary education
Where: Zoom, contact Emily for the link,

Restorative Practices Training
When: January 13, 2023 (tentative)
Who: School staff, STEPS partners, and others who want to learn the art of restorative practices
Where: Sitka
How: Contact Maressa Jensen if you are interested in learning more about the next restorative practices,

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!
Dialogue Host Training
When: February 13th & !4th
Who: STEPS partners and others who are interested in learning the art of hosting dialogues
Where: Juneau Yacht Club
What: A two-day training to practice and learn the art of hosting conversations around race and equity
How: Contact Connor Meyer to learn more and register,
For Students, Families and Staff

Youth On Boards
When: December 9-10, 2022
Who: Current or potential youth who are on school boards
Where: Hilton, Anchorage

Click the flyer image for more information!

Fill out this form if your school district has a Youth Representative that may benefit from this training. 

Click here for more information on best practices for supporting Student Board Members.
***Scholarships are available!!!***

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.