What is the Launch Years Initiative?

And who is the Charles A. Dana Center?

What is the Launch Years Initiative?

The Launch Years Initiative is a project of the Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas at Austin. Together with states from across the country, the Launch Years Initiative supports the scaling of mathematics pathways from high school through postsecondary education and into the workplace, aligned to students' goals and aspirations.

What or who is the Charles A. Dana Center?

The Charles A. Dana Center has its beginnings in the late 1970s and early 1980s when Uri Treisman, then a graduate student at the University of California at Berkeley, focused his studies on the high failure rates of African American and Latinx students in undergraduate calculus classes. This focus on the success of undergraduate students in mathematics grew to become the Charles A. Dana Center, which moved to the University of Texas at Austin in the early 1990s. Today, the Dana Center continues to be directed by Uri Treisman and has a staff of almost 80 people focused on multiple initiatives, most of which focus on math pathways and high school-to-college success.

How did Colorado get involved in the Launch Years Initiative?

The topic of high school math pathways came up at seemingly every CML meeting in 2021-2022. That spring, CML President Kim Smith used a connection at the Dana Center to inquire about future pathways work. That May, Kim, along with Lisa Rogers and Raymond Johnson, met with Josh Recio from the Dana Center to get a better sense of what opportunities might be coming. Josh suggested that Colorado might be a good candidate for "Launch Years 2.0" and encouraged us to apply when the program was announced.

In July of 2022, Kim, Lisa, and Raymond completed an interest form to indicate Colorado's intent to apply to the Launch Years Initiative. The Dana Center replied with a surprise: there was a second group from Colorado who had completed the interest form, and they connected Kim, Lisa, and Raymond with Danen Jobe and Landon Pirius of the Academic Affairs Division of the Colorado Community College System. In August, we assembled a state leadership team (see below) and submitted an application, and learned in late September that Colorado would be one of twenty states participating in the Launch Years Initiative.

This is not Colorado's first experience working with the Dana Center on pathways work. From 2014-2016, Colorado assembled a Math Pathways Task Force across higher education to reform mathematics opportunities across Colorado's 2-year and 4-year institutions. More information about that work, and their final report and recommendations, is available on the Colorado Math Pathways pages of the CDHE website.

Who is Colorado's state leadership team?

We assembled eight people to represent K-12 and higher education to submit our application for the Launch Years Initiative:

  • Danen Jobe, Director of Academic Programs and Curriculum, Colorado Community College System
  • Carl Einhaus, Senior Director of Student Success & P20 Alignment, Colorado Department of Higher Education
  • Chris Rasmussen, Senior Director of Academic Pathways & Innovation, Colorado Department of Higher Education
  • Rachel Sefton, Associate Professor of Mathematics, Community College of Denver
  • Jennifer Lamanski, Colorado Northwestern Community College
  • Lisa Rogers, Student Achievement Coordinator for Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8 / President of CML / Secretary of CCTM
  • Kim Smith, Secondary Mathematics Specialist for Mesa County Valley School District 51 / Past President of CML / Vice President of the CCTM
  • Raymond Johnson, Mathematics Specialist, Colorado Department of Education / ex officio board member of CML / ex officio board member of CCTM

Danen Jobe was designated as the team lead for the application and the kickoff meeting in Austin in November of 2022. The roles and representation going forward will change as a task force is formed, problems are defined, and recommendations are drafted.