UMaine-led Grant Helps Maine Schools Implement Behavioral Support Framework

More than 4,000 students across Maine are now receiving Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) thanks to intensive professional development provided by University of Maine College of Education and Human Development experts supported by a grant from the Maine Department of Education.

PBIS is a nationally recognized, multi-tiered framework providing a continuum of supports to all students, promoting positive academic and socio-behavioral outcomes. In 2018, educators from 15 Maine schools formed the PBIS Regional Professional Development Cohort, receiving instruction on how to implement the framework, and meeting regularly with UMaine experts to share their experiences and address ongoing challenges during the three-year grant period.

“When we first started this project, nobody knew we’d have to complete it during a global pandemic,” says Courtney Angelosante, UMaine lecturer in special education and one of the experts who provided professional development to teachers and school leaders.

“It really has been a wonderful experience that will have enduring benefits for years to come,” she says.

The grant included schools from several parts of Maine, including RSU 3/MSAD 3 (Brooks, Freedom, Jackson, Knox, Liberty, Monroe, Montville, Thorndike, Troy, Unity and Waldo); Brewer Community School; Indian Island School; Dr. Lewis S. Libby School (Milford); Appleton Village School; Vassalboro Community School; East End Community School (Portland); RSU 20 (Searsport and Stockton Springs); and Wiscasset Elementary School.

“We’re really proud of the work these schools have done,” says Karen Robbie, PBIS trainer and doctoral candidate in the College of Education and Human Development. “Thanks to their efforts, more children in Maine are now experiencing positive, predictable, effective and equitable school environments.”

Other members of the UMaine team included Jim Artesani, associate dean for graduate education, research and outreach, and Kristin Grant, a retired principal from RSU 14.

“It has impacted me tremendously and made me become a better and more effective teacher and person,” says Vincent Vannah, a teacher at Morse Elementary School.

He adds that the PBIS framework made school staff rethink their mindset around teaching about behavior, creating a more positive atmosphere.

“I am able to lead and support fellow teachers in my school with implementation and support of strategies to best help teachers that are experiencing difficult and hard behavior,” says Vannah, who served as a PBIS coach for Morse Elementary throughout the project.

Members of the PBIS Regional Professional Development Cohort will gather on Monday, June 21 at the Hutchinson Center in Belfast to celebrate their accomplishments. Maine Department of Education Commissioner Pender Makin and other MDOE officials will deliver remarks at the event. Jen Freeman of the National Center on PBIS is also scheduled to share a message with the cohort.


Building from What You Have: A Process for Scaling up Tiered Supports in a MTSS

The Maine Department of Education, in partnership with the University of Southern Maine School of Education and Human Development are seeking school Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) teams to engage in a summer learning institute titled Building from What You Have: A Process for Scaling-Up Tiered Supports in a MTSS. Continuous Improvement Teams from PK-12 are invited to submit an application.

The focus of the Institute is to assist school MTSS teams with engaging in a deep-dive into their current resources in order to scale-up tiered supports, particularly in Tier 1. School teams that wish to apply must be willing to commit to seven 3-hour sessions, held weekly, beginning on Tuesday, June 22 from 10:00 AM-2:00 PM with a 30-minute lunch break built in. The Institute spans 8 total weeks (please note we will not meet the week of July 5th).

This professional learning opportunity has been specifically designed for teams to engage in the work together. To that end, there is one application for the entire team. The team should consist of 4-5 individuals, including: a principal or asst. principal, two general education teachers, a special education teacher, and one team member of their choice (school psychologist, instructional strategist/coach, Title 1 teacher, school counselor or social worker, etc.).

We will be requiring two books as resources during the Institute. The first, Effective Universal Instruction: An Action-Oriented Approach to Improving Tier 1, will be provided as an eTextbook to each team member to support the summer work. The second, Supporting Successful Interventions in Schools: Tools to Plan, Evaluate, and Sustain Effective Implementation must be purchased by either the school or individually for each team member.

The session schedule is as follows:

  • June 22: MTSS Overview, Resources, and Q&A
  • June 29: MTSS resources session and workshop: Personnel
  • July 13: MTSS resources session and workshop: Curriculum and Instruction
  • July 20: MTSS resources session and workshop: Data and data-based decision making
  • July 27: MTSS resources session and workshop: Time
  • Aug 3: MTSS resources session and workshop: Facilities and physical space
  • Aug 10: Priorities Planning

Due to the highly interactive nature and the need to provide supports to teams, this Institute is being capped at 5 teams. Sessions will be molded and designed to meet participating teams’ needs to the greatest extent possible while covering all of the primary topics.

To apply for this professional learning institute, download and complete the application below. We will review applications on a first come-first serve basis. Only complete applications will be considered. You may submit your completed application beginning on Wednesday, May 19th, and you will be notified of your application status within two weeks of submission. Registration for the institute will remain open until all slots are filled.

Click here to download the application.

For more information or questions regarding the Institute, you may email Andrea Logan at or Rachel Brown-Chidsey at You may submit your competed application to Andrea Logan at beginning Wednesday, May 19th 2021.

Reminder of Resources for Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS)

The Maine Department of Education continues to partner with the University of Maine system to provide Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS) training and coaching. PBIS is a multi-tiered approach to supporting the social, emotional and behavioral development of students in preK-12 settings. The purpose of PBIS is to improve the social, emotional and academic outcomes for all students, including students with disabilities and students from underrepresented groups.

An information session for SAUs and schools interested in joining a new PBIS cohort will be held April 30 at 12 pm. To learn more and access the remote meeting, contact Tracy Whitlock at

MTSS Professional Development Opportunity: Four-Step Problem Solving in Tier 1

Time is short and needs are high.  As we rapidly progress through the second half of the 20-21 school year, many educators begin to ask, “Have I gotten enough done? Are my kids ready for the next grade? How will I ever meet the needs of those I notice struggling with the time I have left?”

Beginning March 3rd, a new 6-week MicroPD series will focus on strategies for strengthening tier 1 supports for all students by exploring a 4-step problem solving process as it is applied at the tier 1 level.  The goal of the series is to develop both understanding and application strategies for improving supports for all students through tier 1 instruction.  Participation in this MicroPD series will prepare administrators, interventionists, and other support staff/teams with skills to evaluate the tier 1 setting in their school, application of a four step problem solving process for addressing areas of need, and action planning for initiating the process to better support teachers and students as they round out the school year.

Session dates and topics:

  • Session 1: March 3:   Exploring effective four step problem solving models
  • Session 2: March 10: Goal/Problem Identification
  • Session 3: March 17: Problem Analysis
  • Session 4: March 24: Instructional/Intervention Design
  • Session 5: March 31: Response to Instruction/Intervention
  • Session 6: April 7: Implications for leaders/action planning

Sessions will be held on Wednesdays from 1:00-2:00 PM for 6 weeks.  Participants will receive a PD companion guide that they can use to facilitate their learning throughout the series.  Can’t attend all of the sessions?  That’s ok!  Sessions will be recorded and registered participants will be able to view the recording and use the companion guide to catch up and stay on track with the series.

You MUST register for this new PD series even if you have registered for MTSS MicroPD in the past.  Registration for this PD will close on Tuesday, March 2nd and registered participants will receive the workbook prior to the start of the MicroPD on March 3rd.

Click here to register for this 6-week series:

For more information or if you have questions, please contact

Maine DOE Launches a New Web Resource to Support Multi-Tiered Systems of Support Framework Implementation

The Maine Department of Education is thrilled to announce the launch of a new web experience designed to provide relevant content and valuable information about Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS). The new resource aims to be a useful guide and implementation tool that will help schools with the complex task of fully implementing MTSS.

The creation of a MTSS website resource began with the establishment of a full time MTSS Specialist in November of 2019. With support and input from a variety of specialists across the Department, as well as many discussions with stakeholders from the field, one thing became clear: Maine educators need a resource they can access that will not only provide information about MTSS, but empower them to take action on a MTSS problem or challenge.  With the theme “what they need, when they need it” in mind, each page of the website seeks to provide a way for educators to find what they are looking for, quickly and easily, so Maine students have access to the supports they need to grow academically, behaviorally, and socially.

Braiding together the “What” and the “How”

Understanding that educators utilize web resources to learn something new, seek answers to questions, or explore solutions to a challenge, the MTSS website seeks to braid together the “what” of MTSS and the “how” of MTSS.  The site provides a combination of informational content and links, learning opportunities, and downloadable tools that can be used immediately.  For example, looking for information on team leadership?  The MTSS Framework page unpacks the “team leadership” component of MTSS and provides tools and resources to put into place as soon as  you leave the site.  Or, maybe you want to learn something new about implementation fidelity or how to facilitate school and family partnerships.  The Professional Learning page offers short learning modules and webinar resources you can participate in to help you on your journey.

The MTSS Framework page and the Professional Learning page are just two examples of what you will find when you visit the MTSS website. Other features include problem solving through technical assistance, information on opportunities for how you can get involved, and trail maps and action guides to help move you forward no matter where you are on your MTSS journey.

A work in Progress

Above all, the MTSS website will be continually growing, adapting, and changing as needs  arise or change. Some sections of the website are still under construction, but plenty of content is already available. Visit the site often to stay up to date on new resources .  If you are looking for something in particular, simply click the contact tab and reach out.  The MTSS Specialist will be in touch to help.

To visit the MTSS website visit to get started.  For more information contact Andrea Logan, MTSS Specialist via email at, or phone (207) 592-2011.