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We are excited to invite you to a three-day convening at the new Lone Rock Retreat campus in Bailey, Colorado on Adolescent Development. We are bringing together 50 practitioners and researchers to foster a learning environment of reciprocity between these groups. We are also inviting local youth as advisors and participants to center the perspectives of those we serve.

Participants will have an opportunity to gather feedback on current work from each other and other education practitioners.


This event is an adolescent development convening for practitioners and researchers brought to you by Pahara Fellow Chris Plutte and the UCLA Center for the Developing Adolescent, sponsored by the Bezos Family Foundation.

Intended outcomes of this convening include:

To spark ongoing collaboration between practitioners and researchers

To foster knowledge sharing across roles and problems of practice


To foster a learning environment of reciprocity, this convening will include a mix of learning structures and perspectives we hope you’ll enjoy:


  • Researchers who are deeply engaged in the work of adolescent development will be in attendance. Researchers have been selected by UCLA Center for the Developing Adolescent due to their expertise.​


  • Superintendents, CEOs, Assistant Superintendents, CAOs, Chief Schools Officers from schools districts and charter school networks: we hope to bring together a mix of Pahara Fellows as well as other phenomenal leaders to bring together a diverse, robust set of perspectives and expertise.


  • Local youth currently in high school.


Bringing together practitioners and researchers, we will explore how the following three research areas come to life throughout school systems. The research topics we will center are:


  • Learning is the process of acquiring understanding, knowledge, skills, behaviors, values,  attitudes and preferences that is applicable to educational, social, and community settings.


  • In many ways, the developments of adolescence create a very real need for them to find ways to make contributions to their social world, in ways large and small, and to figure out whether and where they belong.

  • These topics have implications for motivation and engagement both in and out of the classroom.

  • They also are important mechanisms by which the development of both personal and social identity takes place during adolescence.


  • The motivation to explore and take risks in order to better understand the environment, solve problems, and learn is one the primary hallmarks of adolescence.

  • Crucial to this motivation is the opportunity to problem solve, try new things, take chances, and fail. All of these are central to the learning process of adolescence.

    Leaders who meet our program criteria are welcome to apply to the Fellowship, with or without a nomination. The application is an essential and required part of the process, and allows candidates to share information about their work and leadership, alignment with our selection criteria, and how they most hope to benefit from participation in this powerful development experience. For applicants advancing beyond this stage, this information serves as rich background information on which to base deep, reflective dialogue during interviews taking place during candidate consideration.
    Nominations are accepted on a rolling basis and, while they are not required for entry into the Fellowship, they are critical to our ability to identify exceptional leaders from across the education ecosystem, including but not limited to experience in nonprofit schools, out of/after school learning, human capital, technology, juvenile justice, political and policy strategy, future of work/workforce development, community wellness and mental health, college access and success, faith-based organizations, community based organizations and philanthropy. Ideally, you know enough about the leader’s work to share your thoughts on why they would be an excellent choice for the Fellowship. We are sensitive to the ways sponsorship practices can disadvantage women and Black, Indigenous, and leaders of color who are less likely to have sponsors. When thinking of incredible changemakers to bring to our attention, we encourage nominators to consider leaders from within and outside of their close circles.
    During this stage, we seek to understand candidates’ motivations and challenges, learn more about their background and leadership journey, and determine candidates’ willingness and ability to negotiate the multiple domains of difference that contribute to the tapestry of Pahara cohorts. We conduct a 90-minute Zoom interview with candidates. This interview is followed by referencing carried out by our team. Given the degree of openness and vulnerability expected in this phase of our process, information shared with us by candidates or in reference interviews is held with the highest degree of confidentiality.
    We aim for cohorts that are inclusive of the breadth of our humanity across multiple domains of difference, including socioeconomic background, race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical ability, religious affiliation, and political ideology. Cohorts are also distinctive in their inclusion of leaders from various organization models, multiple sectors in education, different geographic regions, and various leadership roles. This careful cohort curation is critical, as the cohort is the container within which the personal and professional transformation Pahara is most known for occurs. Cohort dialogue is confidential and both professional and personal in nature. We seek to foster an environment that celebrates the diversity and lived experiences of all of our Fellows.
    We typically receive many more nominations and applications than we have available seats in each cohort. We strongly believe that creating the ideal blend of perspectives in each group is a vital component of the program’s value and impact on participants. Candidates who are not selected may choose to opt-in to be considered for a future cohort.
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