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Thompson School District Joins Leaders from Across the Country in New National College and Career Pathways Initiative

Graphic with Launch and Thompson School District logos highlighting TSD joining the new college and career pathways initiative

While many states and communities have taken great strides in expanding access and removing barriers to high-quality career pathways, gaps in access and outcomes for different learner groups remain persistent. To tackle this challenge head-on, five leading organizations – Advance CTE, Education Strategy Group, ExcelinEd, Jobs for the Future (JFF), and New America – have proudly announced a new joint college and career pathways initiative – “Launch: Equitable & Accelerated Pathways for All.”

Through collective investment and action, Launch will simultaneously strengthen existing efforts to provide high-quality, equitable pathways and push the field to pilot innovative design and delivery models. It will accomplish this by supporting two distinct Innovation and Impact cohorts of state and regional partners, representing leaders from across 11 states, including state education and workforce agencies, K-12 districts, postsecondary institutions, policymakers, and intermediary partners. Thompson School District is proud to be a member of the Impact Cohort.

College and career pathways provide intentional, career-aligned courses that span secondary and postsecondary education, embed work-based learning experiences, are anchored in credentials of value, and lead to better economic and social mobility for learners. While college and career pathways strategies have proven effective at improving outcomes for those involved, access and quality remain uneven, and too often, historically marginalized learners do not have the same opportunities as their peers.

Launch will challenge systemic inequities by building systems-level, next-generation solutions, providing timely and customized technical assistance, sharing out of lessons learned, and inspiring action and progress nationally. Launch will harness the expertise of the national partners and participating state and local leaders through the Impact and Innovation Cohorts to advance equitable and sustainable systems built to last.

Impact Cohort

The Impact Cohort consists of seven geographically diverse teams, each including a mix of state, regional, and local leaders who have come together to evaluate, strengthen, and scale their current college and career pathways. Site teams within the Impact Cohort will perform a three-month needs assessment to determine a baseline from which to assess progress in each state. Site teams will then participate in four content-specific academies to unpack and develop strategies addressing systemic barriers to access and completion. At the conclusion of this two-year initiative, the Impact Cohort site teams will develop a state-specific Sustainability Plan with clear next steps for improving and scaling equitable college and career pathways across their state.

Local partners who will be working alongside Thompson School District in the program include the Colorado Department of Education (CDE), Colorado Community College System, Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE), Colorado Education Initiative (CEI), Colorado Succeeds, Colorado Workforce Development Council (CWDC), The Attainment Network, Cañon City High School, Durango School District 9-R, and St. Vrain Valley School District.

“Launch provides an opportunity to help shift education toward providing more relevant, equitable, and accessible career and college pathways for all students while in high school.”

Mike Pintaric, Loveland High School Technology, Engineering and Robotics Teacher

“Launch provides an opportunity to get different stakeholders from various states together to help shift education toward providing more relevant, equitable, and accessible career and college pathways for all students while in high school,” said Mike Pintaric, Loveland High School Technology, Engineering and Robotics Teacher. “Thompson School District has the opportunity to share with the nation the innovative programs and opportunities that we are providing students to accelerate and launch their careers earlier than ever before. I am excited to bring my experiences to the table to help transform education for our country’s current and future needs.”

Innovation Cohort

Over the course of two years, the Innovation Cohort, comprised of cross-sector state, regional and local teams from five states, will come together to engage in a full Design Thinking process to identify systems-level barriers to equitable access and outcomes and develop next-generation solutions for some of the most pressing challenges in college and career pathways. Site teams will perform a three-month research and data collection process to gather local voices and experiences from learners and families in each state. The effort will conclude with the development of state-specific pilot projects that will be ready for testing and scaling within each state and eventually shared nationally.

Through the work of the Impact and Innovation cohorts, Launch will create a comprehensive approach to developing college and career pathways that drive the entire nation forward.

This work would not be possible without the support of a coalition of funders: the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Carnegie Corporation, The Joyce Foundation, and the Walton Family Foundation.

Additional details are available at the program’s website, located at www.launchpathways.org. For more information on Thompson School District’s participation in the program, please contact Michael Hausmann, Thompson School District Chief Communications Officer, at (970) 613-5011 or via e-mail at michael.hausmann@tsd.org.