Analyzing Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats in Central Valley, California
“A professional teacher is one who learns from teaching rather than one who has finished learning how to teach.” This was a sign on the wall of a Merced Union High School District (MUHSD) conference room. I and my colleagues were there earlier this month to facilitate activities with key stakeholders across the district and community, including Merced College, for a daylong highly interactive SWOT analysis workshop.
The sentiment of this sign was echoed throughout the day. The career and technical education (CTE) instructors in the room were clearly passionate and dedicated educators; in fact, everyone agreed that this is an internal district strength. The day was engrossing as stakeholders brainstormed about the reality of their situation:
- What are our strengths—those qualities we have as a district that make us strong?
- What are our weaknesses—those qualities within our district that work against student success?
- What are our opportunities—those chances outside our district we can capitalize on?
- What are the external threats to making the changes necessary to support our students?
Engagement continued throughout the afternoon as stakeholders reviewed these internal and external factors with an eye toward maximizing, diminishing, leveraging, or avoiding them. It was amazing to see stakeholders from across the district and community strategizing, bringing their different perspectives, even disagreeing, but always sharing a common goal—strengthening their CTE program.
And yes, the cornerstone of their strength is the team of CTE instructors, the passionate and dedicated professionals wanting to learn and collaborate in order to create the best learning environment for their students. I look forward to working with this district, with these instructors, in creating academic coherence that will move students from high school, into college, and on to careers that can support them and their future families.