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Kwang-Sun Cho Blair Receives $999,000 grant from U.S. Department of Education

Kwang-Sun Cho Blair, PhD from the USF College of Behavioral & Community Sciences has just received a five-year, $999,000 award from the U. S. Department of Education/Office of Special Education Programs. Funding will address state-identified needs to improve the quality and increase the number of personnel locally who are fully credentialed to serve children with disabilities and behavioral challenges.

Project TSBA: Preparing Tiered System Behavior Analysts will build on the strengths of the current M.A. program in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) at USF to prepare 16 students to graduate with a Master’s degree in ABA, certification as a Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analysts (BCaBA), and to receive the Positive Behavior Support (PBS) Certificate.

The students will gain skills to provide leadership and consultation to educators on the use of PBS, a proven intervention method that significantly reduces the occurrence of problem behaviors in the school, resulting in a more positive school climate and increased academic performance. PBS is based on a multi-tiered system of student support, which emphasizes effective school practices in all areas of a student’s life: community, family, classroom, and individual contexts.

TSBA students will gain first-hand knowledge through a specialized practicum experience with an emphasis on high-need children with disabilities. In addition, they will complete 1,000 hours of field experience – including 500 hours within a school setting serving high-need students within a high poverty school – and three online courses that are aimed toward obtaining the PBS Certificate. The TSBA students will receive mentorship from faculty with national reputations in the design and delivery of PBS, and from experienced coaches implementing system-wide PBS in Florida schools.

Dr. Blair serves as a faculty member within the ABA Master's Program. She earned her doctorate in emotional and behavioral disorders from the University of Arizona in 1996 and conducted post-doctoral research in 1997 with a specialty in functional assessment and intervention for young children with challenging behaviors in community settings. She has an extensive teaching and program development record in early intervention and early childhood special education and research. In addition, she has written and conducted numerous research studies on effective instruction, challenging behavior, and translating research to practice for young children with disabilities.

“Receiving this award is a real tribute to Dr. Blair,” said Mario Hernandez, PhD, Chair of the Department of Child & Family Studies. “I am thrilled that the importance of her work is recognized in such a way that will improve services for Florida’s children and their families for generations to come.”

In addition to Dr. Blair, Heather Peshak George, PhD will be involved with the TSBA project. For additional information, contact Kwang-Sun Cho Blair, PhD.

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