Early Intervention is Key to Addressing Increasing Behavior Concerns – Legislative post by UEA Policy Ambassador Rebecca Becker

Legislative report submitted by UEA Policy Ambassador Rebecca Becker, behavior analyst in Ogden School District

I started my teaching career in 2002 as a Special Education teacher. Through the years I’ve taught in various Special Education settings including a self-contained special placement behavior school. In my current role, I coach and support school teams in establishing school-wide behavior systems in order to provide behavior interventions to students.

Over the past 7 years in this role, I’ve experienced students entering Kindergarten less and less capable of navigating the academic environment. There is an increasing deficit in behavior skills as well as average cognitive capacity that is resulting in behaviors that I only ever experienced 10 years ago in the most severe behavior settings. It’s overwhelming to think of how teachers can possibly continue to address these increasing deficits year after year.

My goal in becoming a UEA Policy Ambassador is to communicate with UEA leadership regarding these deficits and advocate for teachers. In my short time as a Policy Ambassador I’ve learned UEA leadership is fully aware and fiercely advocating for the additional resources needed to address these deficits. One example this year is legislation supported by the UEA to increase funding for optional full-day Kindergarten for those districts and schools choosing to address the deficit through full-day Kindergarten. Other legislation includes an increase in the Weighted Pupil Unit (WPU) to potentially provide funding for additional support staff necessary in buildings for skill building intervention to take place. How great to have a union advocating to ensure teacher and student success!