Joshua Maerzke

Professional Biography

  • My name is Joshua Maerzke. This will be my fifth year of teaching. Prior to joining the team at River Ridge High School, I taught the Social, Communication, and Learning Support (SCALS) program for students with Autism and Developmental Delays at Lakes Elementary for three years. In 2016, I received a Masters in Education (MAE) at Pacific Lutheran University. In 2017, I went back to school at the University of Washington to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and a Licensed Behavior Analyst (LBA) in Washington State. At River Ridge, I am the case manager for students in the Emotional and Behavioral Support program and teach classes focused on social and emotional development. 

    I am originally from Wisconsin. In 2004, I joined the United States Army and was stationed at Joint-Base Lewis McChord (JBLM) from 2005 until leaving the service in 2010. While in the military, I met my wife Lindsey, who is also a teacher in Washington. After working for the government for a few years, we decided to settle down and start our family. In 2016, we adopted and welcomed our now 14-year-old daughter to our home. On the weekend, our family enjoys movies, camping, board games, and cheering for the Green Bay Packers.

2020-2021 School Year Schedule

    • 1st Period: Social Psychology
    • 2nd Period: Planning
    • 3rd Period: Consultation 
    • 4th Period: Social and Emotional Learning
    • 5th Period: Social Wellness
    • 6th Period: Social Psychology 

Social and Emotional Learning Resources

Mr. M's Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Emotional and Behavioral Support?

    Posted by:

    The Emotional and Behavioral Support classroom is for students in special education receiving specially designed instruction (SDI) related to specific emotional or behavioral challenges typically identified as services in Social and Emotional Learning. This service is designed in the student's Individualized Education Program (IEP) and determined by the IEP team. 

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  • What is an Emotional and Behavioral Disability (EBD)? How is that determined?

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    According to the WAC 392-172A-01035, "Emotional/behavioral disability means a condition where the student exhibits one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects a student's educational performance:

    (A) An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors.
    (B) An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers.
    (C) Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances.
    (D) A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression.
    (E) A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems."
    More information on disabilitiy categories used in special education can be found at the following website: Child with a disability or student eligible for special education.
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  • What types of supports do students receive in the Emotional and Behavior Support classroom?

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    There is a continuum of different levels of support provided to students in the Emotional and Behavior Support classroom depending on each student's individual need. This includes determining the level students in the program participate with their typically developing peers in the general education setting. Some students who are identified with an emotional and behavioral disorder are appropriately served in regular education classrooms with supplementary aids and services, while others may require self-contained programs for all or part of their school day.

    Additionally, there is an increased emphasis in utilizing Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) for students as part of the IEP. These supports generally include teaching appropriate behaviors, reinforcing (e.g., rewarding) demonstrations of these behaviors, and providing corrections and reteaching when students display inappropriate behaviors. More information on PBIS can be found at

    When the student's behavior impacts his/her learning or that of others, despite the use of positive behavior interventions, the IEP team may determine a behavior intervention plan (BIP) is required to support that individual. The emphasis is on positive interventions and strategies to address the behaviors of concern, and the plan should be based on the most recent evaluation results including information from a functional behavioral assessment (FBA). More information on BIPs/FBAs can be found at FBA/BIP...Why?

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Special Education Online Resources