Douglas ESD receives OAESD innovation award

May 31, 2019 – Douglas ESD’s Education Services Department has been honored by the Oregon Association of Education Service Districts for its work to expand professional development tools throughout schools in Douglas County.

Douglas ESD instructional coach Ryan Zeedyk poses with the IRIS Connects system.

Douglas Education Service District received an OAESD New Ideas in Education award in the Technology category for facilitating the use of a video-based professional learning platform called Iris Connect. The equipment and program allow educators to record classroom interactions and lessons. The process gives educators the opportunity to reflect on their own teaching styles as well as watch other educators in action.

The Douglas ESD and project lead Ryan Zeedyk, an instructional coach, were recognized for implementing the professional development platform at the OAESD’s annual banquet on May 16. The purpose of the OAESD New Ideas in Education Awards is to both recognize innovative ideas, projects or programs initiated by member ESDs as well as to stimulate a culture of innovation and creativity within each Oregon ESD. 

“Douglas ESD purchased these systems to serve our component school districts in Douglas County,” said Analicia Nicholson, Douglas ESD assistant superintendent. “Ryan was instrumental in not only supporting teachers as they tested out the program but in ensuring teachers truly embraced the program’s capabilities for professional development.”

The goal behind implementing the system has been to support rural districts by providing a way to connect educators that transcends the traditional time- and money-consuming method of meeting face-to-face during the school day.

To date, the system has been used by all 13 component districts. Douglas ESD has seen:

  • Teachers recording themselves to share best practices in regional workgroups.
  • A trauma-informed coordinator recording professional development sessions to meet the needs of all staff.
  • Instructional coaches recording their clients and providing time-stamped feedback digitally.
  • An elementary school principal recording behavior triggers between staff and students to target specific management strategies.
  • Mentor teachers recording themselves and mentees for objective reflections of lessons.
  • Professional Learning Communities modeling specific strategies and recording themselves to refine their teaching.

Zeedyk credits Douglas ESD for acquiring the professional development systems, saying he was happy to spread the word.

“It’s good that the county is being recognized for this because there are a lot of mentors using it, there are a lot of coaches using it, there are a  lot of principals using it now,” he said. “The more people use it, the more comfortable people become with the concept.”

Zeedyk has plans to continue expanding the use of the systems, including adding a 360-degree camera piece that will provide educators with a virtual reality-type experience.