Professional Development Center

Spring 2018 Courses

The Professional Development Center (PDC) is the inservice agent of the School of Education and Human Development (SEHD) of the University of Southern Maine. Its mission is to provide sustained, high-quality professional development that enables K-12 educators and human resource professionals to continue learning throughout their careers. 

panorama with Corthell Hall and blossoming trees

Many of the courses below are offered as part of our cohort plans (although open to any interested students as space allows). Contact us today to design a cohort for your district and:

  • work alongside your district / school colleagues toward a certificate or higher degree 
  • take courses by USM instructors at your own school sites 
  • tailor your USM experience to what the students in YOUR district need

Browse courses by area of interest:


PDS 600 Stretch Your Math Brain Grow Your Mind: A Course for Practicing Educators - Registration form

This course is intended for teachers who are teaching in an elementary school setting and would like to continue to grow as a math teacher. Major areas of focus include: problem solving, use of Number Talks, reading and implementing ideas from Principles to Actions, formative assessment, and providing equitable access to learning for all students. 


EDU 559 Aspects of Reading for Multilingual Learners - Registration form

This course examines the role of literacy in the K-12 and adult classroom for linguistically and culturally diverse learners in local and global contexts. A critical analysis of the developmental nature of the reading process as it applies to young learners, as well as application to older learners with varying degrees of first language literacy, is a major emphasis. An examination of first language and cultural and linguistic diversity influences on reading in a second language and multiliteracies in the light of current applied linguistics research is also a major emphasis.

EDU 563 ESL Testing and Assessment - Registration form

The focus of this course is on learner-centered approaches to constructive evaluation of language and content. Emphasis is predominantly on authentic, performance-based assessment practices but also include the role of criterion-and norm-based formal testing procedures within a holistic evaluation framework. Comprehensive evaluation of language involves the whole learner, including an integrated approach incorporating socio-cultural, academic, and cognitive perspectives. Also included is an understanding of biases influencing formalized second language testing.

Class notes: Class is meeting in South Portland.

EDU 620 Reading Development and Instruction

Becoming a skilled reader is a developmental process. Although literacy acquisition is continuous, distinct stages of reading growth may be discerned as students become accomplished readers. The course provides a theoretical framework for sound instructional practices based on a cognitive, developmental perspective. Major emphasis is on using literature-based instruction. Current issues in the teaching of reading will be examined and the application of literacy practices to ESL, adult basic education, and special needs populations will be addressed. Suggested readings represent current research and practice. In addition to the texts, students are expected to read professional books and journal articles, synthesize information from readings, and generate implications for literacy instruction. Case studies and simulation exercises will be used to provide practical applications of the course content.

Class notes: Class is meeting in Oxford Hills (email PDC for permission to attend)

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SED 621 Teaching Functional Life Skills 

An education that includes the acquisition of functional life skills is critical for children and young adults with autism, intellectual disabilities, and other developmental disabilities. This course addresses: selection of and teaching methodologies for an array of functional life skills, including assessment of pre- and post- intervention skill levels, data collection and the selection of evidence-based methodologies to enhance student learning.

Class notes: Class is meeting at the Margaret Murphy Center (email PDC for permission to attend)

SED 660 Curriculum and Methods for Teaching the Gifted - Registration form

This course is for individuals responsible for a) developing or modifying learning experiences for gifted/talented students at the elementary or secondary school level, b) implementing differentiated learning experiences within the regular classroom or through a special grouping arrangement, and/or c) creating/selecting instructional materials to support the implementation of differentiated learning experiences. 

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EDU 603 Analysis of Teaching and Assessment - Registration form

This course provides an opportunity to view teaching from the perspective of selected conceptual frameworks and research findings in the theory and practice of teaching and assessment. Analysis of individual teaching behavior and classroom assessment is an important aspect of this course.

EDU 659 Special Education Law for School Leaders

This course acquaints prospective school leaders at the building and district level with the general principles of special education law as found in the interpretation of constitutional and statuary provisions by the higher courts. Laws governing pupils, teaching personnel, administrators and boards of education will be stressed.

Class notes: Class is meeting at Noble Middle School (email PDC for permission to attend).

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