STEPS Alaska Updates
Stepping Up for Alaska's Youth!
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 AK is made possible by the US Department of Education Promise Neighborhoods funding award to the Association of Alaska School Boards
Trauma Informed at School: A New Framework

STEPS partners are already incorporating trauma engaged approaches into schools and programs and to support these efforts, STEPS partners can now access a new statewide framework, Transforming Schools: A Framework for Trauma Engaged Practice. Some highlights from the framework include valuable reflection questions to how trauma impacts our brains, thought processes and actions. Read more to get an overview of the framework and to see how it could be used in your schools!

Cover of Transforming Schools Document; Illustration by Kristin Link
Dive into Data
of Alaskan students’ English language scores in grades 6-12 can be explained by their answers to how the feel about being safe in their schools. Helping students to feel more safe at school could significantly improve reading scores.

Source:Analysis of PEAKS data and School Climate and Connectedness Survey by the American Institute for Research for the Association of Alaska School Boards
Across the Country
Students' trauma has a direct impact on their academic proficiency and attendance rates - in a Promise Neig hborh ood Institute webinar, Sue Fothergill and Rachel Donegan discuss these impacts and trauma-informed strategies that can be implemented to support students and improve these outcomes.
Inside Scoop: Early Childhood Collaboration Updates
Thank you to everyone who has been attending the many Work Group and Committee Meetings over the previous handful of months. Moving forward, one meeting and its outcomes will be highlighted by the newsletter, but there were simply too many to choose from this time!

Highlights from the Early Childhood Work Group include learning how a Promise Neighborhood in the rural Mississippi Delta leveraged partnerships between child care providers, Head start, and the school system to bring kindergarten readiness scores up from 25% to over 60%. Their strategies and results were inspiring for the STEPS Early Childhood Work Group, which is focused on smoothing kindergarten transitions. 

The Post-Secondary Work Group has been focused on creating more Dual Credit opportunities for more students. 

Check out additional notes, resources, and even videos on Post-Secondary, Family Engagement, or other meetings from this past few months here!
Partner Highlights
Running to Healthier a Future
Girls on the Run is a program that has been shown to improve girls' connectedness, confidence, and social and life skills. Boys Run I toowú klatseen was developed locally to provide a similar kind of program for boys in the community. Boys Run and Girls on the Run programs are two of the 41 solutions in the STEPS collaboration and works to give kids the skills and resources to make good decisions and have healthy relationships now and into the future.

Use the links below to find out more about Girls on the Run, Boys Run, or updates from their most recent season. Contact Natalie Watson at [email protected] or 907-586-4902 about bringing either program to your community!
GOTR participant and coach cross the finish line in style at the 5k
BRITK participants and coaches pose for a photo after their final run
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
STEPS Partner Meeting Survey 

Open Now!

Please take a moment to take this short and easy on-line survey. It should take just 2-5 minutes. We’d like to schedule and organize a regional meeting this spring for our STEPS partners. Last spring, at the very start of our program, we took some time to meet one another and to share a little information about STEPS program. Now we’d like to build on some of the initial work each of you have started. Please take a few moments to share your input.

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, [email protected], (907) 463-1672 to ensure that you have robust participation in this important survey. 

2nd Annual STEM Summit

February 7, 2019 in the Juneau-Douglas High School Commons

The 2nd annual STEM Summit sponsored by the Juneau STEM coalition, the Juneau School District, and AASB is focused on building partnerships and aligning resources by giving more kids more access to STEM experiences. RSVP or contact the Juneau STEM Coalition with the links below!

AASB 2019 Leadership Fly-In & Youth Advocacy Institute

February 9-12, 2019 in Juneau

School Board members and young adults from around Alaska will be headed to Juneau for advocacy training. Are there young adults in your community who could benefit from this leadership and advocacy training? Please encourage them to register by February 1st. The training costs $455 per person if registered by this date; it costs $465 to register afterward.

Community Dialogue Host Training

February 13 & 14, 2019 in Juneau

Please join the Association of Alaska School Boards, AWARE, UAS and Darlene Trigg February 13 & 14 in Juneau for a dialogue host training. This will be an opportunity for leaders interested in helping to host dialogues on co-creating solutions for STEPS and dialogues that promote equity, hope and healing. This training is deeply informed by First Alaskans Institute’s Dialogues on Racial Equity and will have host trainers Darlene Trigg and partner organizations creating space to practice and refine hosting skills of community champions, social justice and education advocates, or others. This is a an opportunity to support our communities and increase opportunities to better understand the collective traumas we have faced. As a part of the host training, hosts will have an opportunity to work on practicing general dialogue hosting skills and will have an opportunity to develop ideas and flows for specific dialogues you may host on (racial equity, key areas for partnership. or education-centered dialogues).

Contact Konrad Frank at [email protected] for more information. 
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

Botvin LifeSkills Training (LST)

Botvin LifeSkills is offering free LifeSkills Training curriculum to organizations interested in evaluating a new version. Botvin has been used with success by Tlingit and Haida’s Navigator’s program. Contact Ruchi Mehta to learn more to to sign-up for the free version while supplies last.

Ruchi Mehta, MPH: [email protected], (914) 421-2525 ext. 220

STEPS-Related News
A community mural in the Chickaloon clinic. Photo by Anne Hillman
How Little Organizations Make a Big Difference Through Collaboration
By Anne Hillman, KTOO Public Media

Weekly Elder Lunches in Chickaloon are one of the most popular events in town. Read how the Chickaloon Tribal Council has collaborated with other agencies to formulate this impactful community resource, and how they are using their experience to support other local communities.

Tlingit Language Room at Klukwan School
Klukwan school stages their Winter Program
By Claire Stremple, KNHS FM

Students at the Klukwan School put on their winter performance in December, half of which was performed fully in Tlingit. Read more about the program and Tlingit language revitalization here!

4 of 6 staff members at Haa Yoo X’atángi Kúdi
Photo by Michael Penn
Juneau's First-Ever Tlingit Language Immersion Preschool to Open Next Month
By Ben Hohenstatt, Juneau Empire

Haa Yoo X’atángi Kúdi, which translates to "our language nest" in English, is set to open in February. Read more about the school, the work it took to get it started, and the plans they have to create an immersion environment for 3- to 5-year-olds.

Student mentor and mentee meet at University of Michigan
Photo by Diane Weiss
'Going To Office Hours Is Terrifying' And Other Tales Of Rural Students In College
Heard on Morning Edition, NPR

Students share their stories about the difficulties they have experienced transitioning from rural communities onto large college campuses. Read or listen to what a few schools around the country are doing to extend their support to these students.

Past Events
AASB Conference

November 8-11, 2018 in Anchorage, AK

A big thanks to everyone who made it to the AASB Conference this past November! Check out the links below if you would like to review some of the notes, slideshows, or photographs from the weekend.

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.