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Special education majors present with College of Education faculty at state conference

Pictured back row, L-R: Special Education majors Rebecca Hinrichs, Tasha Livingood, Kylie Brady, Megan Fromme; Front row, L-R: Claire Waldmann and Shannon Rainey.

Georgia Southern University Special Education Professor Kymberly Harris, Ph.D., and six undergraduate students recently presented at the Georgia Association for Positive Behavior Supports conference in Duluth, Georgia.

The conference, which was themed “Connecting School, Community and Home Through Positive Behavior Support,” brought educators, interventionists, family members, clinicians and community partners together to share research, information and resources regarding positive behavior supports (PBS). The behavior management system is used in a variety of settings, from schools to mental health and counseling practices, 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 the importance of teaching behaviors from evidence-based lesson plan formats to teachers from across the state,” said Harris. “And the students had the opportunity to be the experts.”

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.

“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 participated in poster presentations. Fromme’s research, completed with co-author and fellow student Hannah Rogers, differentiated PBIS and leadership-focused schools. Waldmann and Livingood presented a poster 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 Georgia Association for Positive Behavior Support is a network of the national Association for Positive Behavior Support (APBS), which supports a range of persons interested in promoting positive behavior support initiatives and practices.

Georgia Southern University, a public Carnegie Doctoral/Research institution founded in 1906, offers 142 degree programs serving more than 27,000 students through nine colleges on three campuses in Savannah, Statesboro, Hinesville and online instruction. A leader in higher education in southeast Georgia, the University provides a diverse student population with expert faculty, world-class scholarship and hands-on learning opportunities. Georgia Southern creates lifelong learners who serve as responsible scholars, leaders and stewards in their communities. Visit GeorgiaSouthern.edu.

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