Maine DOE grant to fund professional development program provided by UMaine faculty, graduate students

University of Maine faculty and graduate students in the College of Education and Human Development will collaborate with local school districts to train teachers in Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) as part of a grant from the Maine Department of Education.

The three-year, $246,000 grant is one of 11 projects to receive funds in the second round of a DOE initiative called EMBRACE, or Enabling Maine students to Benefit from Regional and Coordinated approaches to Education. The total amount awarded to schools across the state from this round of EMBRACE grants was $4.6 million.

The grant will allow local schools, in collaboration with UMaine faculty and PBIS doctoral students, to create a sustainable, regional professional development program with a multi-tiered Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports framework. PBIS is an evidence-based model for fostering positive school climates and promoting behavioral growth and academic engagement. It is based on a community health prevention model.

“The PBIS framework helps schools establish a continuum of behavioral supports to address student needs,” says Courtney Angelosante, a lecturer in special education with the College of Education and Human Development and an expert in PBIS.

Angelosante will help train teachers through the professional development program, along with PBIS doctoral student Karen Robbie and Jim Artesani, associate dean of graduate education, research and outreach with the College of Education and Human Development.

“It is expected that 80 percent of students in a given school will respond favorably just by implementing the first tier of PBIS, and 95 percent of students will have most of their needs met by implementing the second tier,” Angelosante says.

Besides UMaine, participants in the EMBRACE grant-funded PBIS program include, RSU 3/MSAD 3 (Brooks, Freedom, Jackson, Knox, Liberty, Monroe, Montville, Thorndike, Troy, Unity, Waldo), Brewer Community School, Indian Island School, RSU 20 (Searsport, Stockton Springs) and Wiscasset Elementary School.

A separate, ongoing collaboration between Maine DOE and the University of Maine System helped 42 schools across the state adopt PBIS during the 2016–17 school year.