Professional Development Center

Summer 2020 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.

Portland campus with flowers

Some of the courses below are offered as part of our cohort plans (although usually 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

Summer course flyer (PDF) 


PDS 521 Effective Writing Instruction [** NEW! **] - Registration form (PDF)

This course will introduce K-12 teachers to practical strategies, activities, and ideas to help motivate their students to become more experienced and proficient writers. Topics to be studied and discussed include daily writing, purpose and audience, choice, teacher modeling, mentor texts, assessment and grading of writing, and using technology to enhance writing instruction.

June 22-August 7, 2020; Paula Boyce, instructor; online (mostly asynchronous with some Zoom class meetings TBD); 3 credits

PDS 513 Integrating Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction & Social Emotional Intelligence in the Classroom - Registration form (PDF)

Students will develop Mindfulness skills to integrate into the school setting for themselves and for their students. The emphasis is on integrating Mindfulness into the classroom through modeling to help develop emotional and social skills. 

The course will use the current public health situation as an opportunity to build and practice Mindfulness, Social and Emotional Skills for oneself that can later be used in the classroom.

June 29-July 3, 2020; Nancy Hathaway, instructor; online-live (synchronous); 3 credits

There will be 1/2 day Zoom sessions each morning as well as solo work expected. 

AED 599 (class #23058) Expressive Art Practices for Educators - Flyer (PDF)

This course will introduce students to theories and practices from the field of Expressive Arts, especially as it connects to k-12 Education. This course will assist students in developing teaching strategies that support Expressive Art practices in k-12 classrooms and community art contexts. The following topics will be explored, including but not limited to: Intercultural communication, strategies for encouraging social emotional growth, trauma informed teaching, and ways to develop healing art practices.

July 6-31, 2020; Marie Sheffield, instructor; online; 3 credits

FMI about AED 599, contact Kelly Hrenko at

*PDS 540 Executive Skills: Practical Strategies for Assessment and Intervention - Registration form (PDF)

This course will provide an introduction to executive skills, beginning with what they are, how they develop across childhood, and how they impact school performance in profound ways. From there, the discussion will move to meaningful assessments and strategies educators can use to promote executive skill development in struggling learners.

August 3-7, 2020; Peg Dawson, instructor; online-live (synchronous); 3 credits

There will be 1/2 day Zoom sessions each day as well as solo work expected. 

*This course is offered as a 3-credit graduate course, but it is also available in a modified format for CEUs. This is a more cost-effective option for tight budgets - $600 for 3.5 CEUs. Register at this link or contact the PDC. See also this CEU course information sheet (PDF) for more information.

PDS 514 Integrating Mindfulness-based Compassionate Communication into Education - Registration form (PDF)

Having a foundation in mindfulness knowledge, study, practice, and skills, the student will have the essential beginnings to study and practice this language which has as its core empathy for oneself and others and one's experience rather than from evaluation, blame, advice, judgments. This language is conducive to use in all aspects of education as it gives language to respect, non-judgment, compassion for self and others whether students, colleagues, school staff, and parents.

The course will use this current public health situation as an opportunity to build and practice Mindfulness-based Compassionate Communication Skills for ourselves, helping to ease stress, with the vision that these skills can be brought into the education.

August 10-14, 2020; Nancy Hathaway, instructor; online-live (synchronous); 3 credits

There will be 1/2 day Zoom sessions each morning as well as solo work expected. 

Prerequisites: Previous 3 credit or week long Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction course (UMA/USM/UM) or Instructor permission.



PDS 535 Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age: 2020 Topics

NOTE: This course is no longer being offered Summer 2020. Contact the PDC to be put on the interest list for next year.

Cohort Courses

Contact the PDC if you would like to register for any of these courses. Non-cohort students may be registered as space allows.

EDU 604 Curriculum Development

This course provides students with an understanding of curriculum and curriculum development. Using a collaborative approach, teachers and administrators plan the design of a curriculum consistent with personal ideals and a given context. Students analyze the curriculum in terms of knowledge, skills, learning processes, and affective dimensions. Special emphasis is given to the processes of curriculum implementation and curriculum evaluation.

Class notes: Class is primarily for students in the LTS cohort. Email the PDC for permission to register.