Professional Development Center


Maine educators from more than twenty school districts and organizations from around the state attended the 2011 RTI Summer Academy on the USM Portland Campus and, through the technology of interactive video conferencing, at the University of Maine, Presque Isle, June 27 through July 1.  The RTI Summer Academy was offered to assist Maine schools in developing and implementing district-wide RTI plans for student support.  Sessions included keynote presentations and workshops with RTI leaders, as well as smaller breakout sessions for school teams to work on their RTI policies and plans.  The event was sponsored by the Professional Development Center of the University of Southern Maine’s School of Education in collaboration with the Maine Department of Education.

Response to Intervention (RTI) is a scientifically-based methodology for evaluating student progress toward development of academic and social skills. The RTI Summer Academy was designed to help Maine educators develop and implement multi-tier systems of intervention and assessment, as required by Maine law.  RTI allows teachers to know which of their students are making progress and which ones need focused instruction in specific skills.

The program coordinator of the RTI Summer Academy was Rachel Brown-Chidsey, Associate Professor and Coordinator of the School Psychology Program at the University of Southern Maine. Prior to joining the USM faculty she taught general and special education for 10 years.  Dr. Brown-Chidsey’s research focuses on implementing research-based interventions to support all students.  She is the author of three books and numerous research articles concerning academic interventions and promoting student success.

The featured keynote presenter, Steve Goodman, currently serves as Co-Director for Michigan’s Integrated Behavior and Learning Support Initiative (MiBLSi), a statewide project to improve the behavior and reading outcomes in over 600 elementary and middle schools. His area of expertise includes school-wide positive behavior supports and an integrated approach to reading and behavior supports.  His 29 years in the field of education involve teaching in special education and at the university level, as well as providing teacher consultant services. Dr. Goodman has co-authored research articles in professional journals and several book chapters.  He is currently serving on the board of directors for the Association for Positive Behavior Support.

Other presenters include national RTI experts, Maine educators experienced with RTI, and Maine Department of Education staff involved in RTI implementation.  Also, as a special feature of the Academy, teams of teachers from Maine schools outlined their on-going progress and next steps in implementing RTI school-wide.

For information about RTI professional development offerings through the USM Professional Development Center, please visit