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Special education majors present with COE faculty at state conference

Pictured back row, l-r: Rebecca Hinrichs, Tasha Livingood, Kylie Brady, Megan Fromme; front row, l-r: Claire Waldmann and Shannon Rainey.

Georgia Southern University special education faculty Kymberly Harris, Ph.D. presented with six undergraduate students at the Georgia Positive Behavior Supports (GAPBS) conference held Nov. 28-29, in Duluth, Georgia.

The conference brings together educators, interventionists, family members, clinicians and community partners to share research, information and resources regarding positive behavior supports (PBS) and the lasting impact they have on homes, schools and community. PBS is a behavior management system used to establish behavioral supports and social culture needed for students to achieve success. Often, the management system is used to understand what maintains an individual’s challenging behavior.

Harris presented with special education majors Rebecca Hinrichs, Tasha Livingood, Kylie Brady, Megan Fromme, Claire Waldmann and Shannon Rainey. Their presentation, titled “Using Best Practice to Teach Best Behavior,” focused on one of the major components of Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS), the design and instructional delivery of behavioral expectations to middle and high school students.

“This conference provided an opportunity for me to model for teachers across the state the importance of teaching behaviors from evidence-based lesson plan formats, and the students had the opportunity to really be the experts,” said Harris.

Special education majors at Georgia Southern complete SPED 3231: Classroom Management, a course that emphasizes the understanding and development of skills in data-based behavioral management, research-based effective instructional management, and applied behavior analysis techniques. Combined with the research skills they acquire from their program curriculum, students crafted presentations during the fall semester in their classroom management course to present to the schools they are training in.

“Schools in the state of Georgia that utilize PBIS are constantly inquiring how to design lesson plans and strategies to teach behaviors to their students,” explained Harris. “Our students in the special education program at Georgia Southern get experience with designing these types of lesson plans within their coursework. I felt it was important to allow them to showcase their ideas as well as support them in a presentation that many educators in the state are asking for.”

In addition to the group presentation, Fromme, Waldmann and Livingood also participated in poster presentations. Fromme’s research, completed with co-author Hannah Rogers, featured a comparison of PBIS versus leadership-focused schools. Waldmann and Livingood presented a posted titled “Comparison of Two Behavior Management Plans in Two Classroom Settings” using their classroom placements to analyze different systems in place for teaching behavior.

The GAPBS is a network of the national Association for Positive Behavior Support (APBS). The purpose of the network is to increase the visibility of positive behavior support in the state. Members aim to provide a collaborative statewide effort to disseminate positive behavior support practices. The network supports a range of persons interested in promoting positive behavior support capacity building initiatives, promoting the use of positive practices, and promoting membership in the national APBS organization.

Positive behavior supports are effective in a variety of settings, from schools to mental health and counseling practices. As an affiliate of the national APBS, GAPBS works toward increasing the visibility and success of positive behavior supports in Georgia.

This years’ conference theme was “Connecting School, Community and Home Through Positive Behavior Support.”


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