The Center for Leadership in Disability Co-Hosts 10th Annual Georgia Positive Behavior Support Conference (GA UCEDD/LEND)

March 12, 2018

The Center for Leadership in Disability (CLD) in the School of Public Health at Georgia State University (GSU), co-hosted the 10th-annual Georgia Association of Positive Behavior Support (Georgia APBS) conference on November 28-29, 2017. The 2017 Georgia APBS Conference had over 100 presentations and 1,400 registrants. Georgia APBS is a network state under the national Association for Positive Behavior Support ( According to the Association for Positive Behavior Support, positive behavior support is defined as "a set of research-based strategies used to increase quality of life and decrease problem behavior by teaching new skills and making changes in a person's environment.

CLD Director, Dr. Daniel Crimmins, is one of the co-founders of the Georgia APBS Network. Georgia APBS began hosting its annual conferences at GSU shortly after the network formed. CLD has been honored to be the backbone organization for Georgia APBS and has had primary responsibility for conference coordination for over five years. CLD defines the strength of Georgia APBS as the partnerships that have been developed among staff at state, local, and academic institutions who are committed to statewide implementation of positive behavior support.

Historically, the Georgia APBS conference has highlighted the implementation of school-wide positive behavioral intervention and support (SW-PBIS) in K-12 schools across Georgia. Five years ago, the conference added an early childhood track and a family track to expand the focus of PBIS beyond K-12. Georgia supports statewide implementation of SW-PBIS so public educators are still the primary audience at the conference but the early childhood track grows larger each year and the conference attracts family and community member registrants. Of the over 100 conference presentations each year, most are presentations by educators who are actively implementing PBIS in their schools or early childcare settings. Conference attendees appreciate the opportunity to learn from their colleagues who are using PBIS practices in schools with students. The conference keynotes for the past several years have included some of the world's leading researchers in the area of PBIS including Dr. Mark Durand, Dr. Lise Fox, Dr. Heather George, Dr. Mary Louise Hemmeter, and Dr. George Sugai.

A committee of state stakeholders on the topic of PBIS from the Georgia Department of Education, the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL), Georgia Southern University, Georgia College and Georgia State University, and local school districts convene monthly to plan the conference. One of the committee members, Molly Tucker is a Community Support Specialist at CLD and took the reins of the conference coordination in 2017 from CLD faculty member, Dr. Emily Graybill, who coordinated the Georgia APBS conference for four years. Molly reflects that "the collaboration...between the committee members and our community partners is a wonderful reminder that we can accomplish much more as a collective and that there is a lot to be proud of in Georgia!" Molly's favorite part of the conference was the energy of the attendees. Attendees shared PBIS ideas, experiences, successes and challenges with each other at the conference. Molly recalls a comment from one of this year's featured speakers who said of the conference, "The level of collaboration across organizations and school districts within Georgia is unlike that observed at any other PBIS conference I've attended. Kudos to you in Georgia for modeling how to work together to spread PBIS implementation across the state."

The 2018 conference is scheduled to take place on December 5-6, 2018. If you would like to learn more about Georgia's work in the area of PBIS or the GAPBS conference, please reach out to [email protected].