Summer is for Growing: Learning & Professional Development Focused on Cultural and Place-based connections

While summer can be a time for rest, vacation, and time off, many of our STEPS partners were very busy! Continued learning through professional development, rich cultural summer programs for students, and year-round programming occurred all summer long.

Some highlights include:

Summer Career Academy

The University of Alaska Southeast and Juneau STEPS Partners hosted a week-long academy for Southeast Alaska students (ages 16–24) from May 31 to June 4, 2022. Students had the opportunity to take a sample university course such as Construction Trades, Health Career Exploration, Behavioral Health, and Outboard and Small Engine Repair.

Students work on outboard motors and woodshop. June 2022

SHI Celebration 2022

It was nice to see so many friends and families at Sealaska Heritage Institute’s Celebration in June. Juneau, Hoonah, Hydaburg, Sitka, and Yakutat childrens’ dance groups joined the Celebration to share clan songs and dances. Juneau School District’s TCLL students also danced at Celebration. At the start of the TCLL performance, Rep. Andi Story and Sen. Jesse Kiehl presented a legislative citation.

TCLL Legislative Citation presented by Sen. Jesse Kiehl & Rep. Andi Story. June 2022

Rep. Story shared the following words during the presentation:

“I was pleased to get the opportunity to recognize the vision and work of the Elders, the participation of the students and families, teachers and administrators of the Tlingit Culture, Language and Literacy (TCLL) program at Celebration Thursday evening. The members of the legislature commend TCLL in making a difference in education and language revitalization. Of course, it couldn’t happen without funding from Sealaska Heritage Institute, Tlingit & Haida, Goldbelt Heritage Foundation, federal funding from the Alaska Native Education Program, and the support from the Juneau Board of Education. TCLL integrates culturally relevant, place-based learning and the Tlingit language into all academics. The Juneau community and our state are proud of these children and the program.”

Summer Culture Camps

Haa Leelk’u Has Aani in Angoon with the participation of staff and students from Hoonah & Juneau engaged students in hands-on nutrition education and healthy living best practices that incorporated the harvesting, preparing and cooking of nutritious meals under the direction of a culinary instructor. The students harvested local plants, berries and the produce grown in the community and high school garden. The curriculum included Indigenous plant and seafood preparation and the incorporation of multiple-use meals into a healthy diet. Other activities included the identification and uses of Indigenous plants.

Lḵoot culture camp. July 2022

SHI: Opening the Box STEAM camp provided a week of hands-on learning, reflection, and place-based analysis of how water quality impacts the health of our salmon populations. The teaching integrates four core values of the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian people of Southeast Alaska. The students learned about community/citizen science, collected data at Mendenhall Glacier and they made observations out in the community, learning how to take water quality samples, how to analyze their data, and reflecting on their observations, learning, and wonders.

Yakutat held a Summer Explorers and STEM/Place-based Education summer camp. The STEM camp included an oil spill simulation where students needed to brainstorm different ways to contain the (vegetable) oil that had spilled in their bin.

Sitka held cultural camps for 1-2nd graders and also 3-6th grade. Students got to learn about stop motion films, how to create their own, and how to make a Lingit vocabulary word come to life through the story and harvested local indigenous plants.

Hydaburg School District hosted “Creating Something Together.” Students in Hydaburg worked together to put up the four corner house posts of the mini-long house. Students spent time harvesting, using construction tools, kayaking, team building, and journaling. Students had a great time. 

Harvard Grad School of Education – Family Partnership training

AASB staff, Sitka School District attended the Harvard Grad School of Education’s Family Partnership week-long training in Boston. This team has been involved in hosting community dialogues with families that are being used to identify and develop materials for educators and families to engage fully in their childrens’ learning. Materials will be shared with all of the STEPs funded partners.

Gunalchéesh, Háw’aa

Lisa Worl, Supt. Dee Dee Ivanoff, Claudia Plesa, and Kari Sagel