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Director's Welcome

Welcome to the Paonia Experiential Leadership Academy!

We use wellbeing science to innovate education, and provide youth with experiential leadership and academic learning opportunities. We are pioneering an educational curriculum that is focused on delivering a personally relevant education that will serve youth in all aspects of their lives. We are in the process of acquiring accreditation from the Association for Experiential Education.

The Paonia Experiential Leadership Academy is designed to honor the skills and talents of young adults. Our curriculum teaches core content via realms of wellbeing. We focus on health, happiness, safety, our environment, civics, self-expression, life skills, and leadership. In each unit we begin with fostering the physical and mental skills required to understand a unit. Then we guide students to practice higher order thinking skills of analysis, evaluation, and creation. 

Our regular field trips provide students with exceptional opportunities for growth and exploration. In addition to taking students on numerous outdoor adventures in our community, we have four major field-trips that frame the year. In the first quarter, we go on a local 3 day back-packing trip. Second quarter we take students to the front range, and each student plans an experience for the group. The third quarter this year, we will be taking students to Europe. The fourth  quarter trip is out of the state and entirely planned by the students. Leadership trips require students to research, plan, execute, and reflect on the trip. We also require the students to be in charge of budgeting and navigation.

If you are interested in learning more about the school, please do not hesitate to contact us. You can also listen to this podcast about our school. 

Thank you!

Emily Wassell , PhD
Director of the Paonia Experiential Leadership Academy
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