Situation Analysis

What are OCDE’s distinctive strengths that give it a unique role in Orange County (and California) education? What could OCDE do to improve its services? What are the emerging opportunities OCDE should seize? What threats must be recognized and counteracted?

StrengthsThree students in front of a computer

  • OCDE plays the role of leader, connector, and innovator, both in Orange County and throughout the state, with a strong reputation for being at the forefront, interpreting changes and lending our influence to advocacy on behalf of districts and schools.
  • OCDE has built strong relationships with school districts, county government, state officials, and community partners. Districts and schools trust OCDE as a partner in building student success and financial stability.
  • OCDE individualizes student learning with a variety of strategies, directly serving specialized student populations in alternative education (the ACCESS program) and special education, and providing professional development that equips educators to customize student learning for all student groups they are serving.
  • OCDE offers expertise across a variety of functions and is able to share information and expertise among the divisions of OCDE in a way that assures comprehensive support for districts, schools, and partners. For example, OCDE provides strong support in legal services and business services

Areas for Improvement

  • OCDE can strengthen its technology leadership role in education across the county. OCDE already plays a leadership role. New digital resources to support teaching and learning offer us a new opportunity to further serve districts and schools that are struggling to make sense of and implement the changes.
  • OCDE can tell our story, and the story of Orange County learning, more effectively by strengthening our communication functions, publicizing educational successes, articulating our services, better coordinating our relationships with community partners and the media, and championing a powerful shared learning vision for Orange County.
  • OCDE can improve its internal, cross-divisional communication and collaboration. This will include providing stronger leadership development for managers and supervisors who play a key role in communicating across the organization and engaging all personnel in a shared learning vision to which all contribute.
  • OCDE can strengthen its professional development for teachers, including those in alternative and special education, facilitating the implementation of the Common Core State Standards, and providing greater expertise in integrating technology to strengthen instructional delivery.
  • OCDE can better use its own technology for internal professional development, reducing inefficiencies and redundancies, and connecting student data systems to business systems. 


Teacher with student learning about anatomy

  • The Local Control Funding Formula presents a number of challenges, including some logistical challenges for districts to refer alternative and special education students to OCDE programs.
  • Some have lost confidence in public education and need us to demonstrate that California schools can once again be national and international leaders in educational quality.
  • Technology issues (cost, privacy, security, information overload) pose a challenge to the potential benefits of digital strategies in education.
  • Budget uncertainties and finance reform create continuing challenges for public education, especially after the great recession and accompanying budget cuts of the past five years.


Given the changes in our external and internal situations, the following opportunities have emerged and will inform our strategies for the next five years:

  • Opportunity to lead professional development and implementation efforts for Common Core and other academic standards in Orange County and in California
  • Opportunity to provide districts with support as they develop their Local Control and Accountability Plans in order to ensure high quality learning opportunities for all Orange County students
  • Opportunity to lead in integrating technology and digital resources in education
  • Opportunity to facilitate and champion educational partnerships with business, community organizations, and higher education
  • Opportunity to advocate for a shared learning vision focusing Orange County on leading the nation in college and career readiness and success
  • Opportunity to enhance services for special student populations, especially those served by OCDE’s alternative and special education programs.