Building Assets Reducing Risks (BARR) is a whole-school reform approach focused on “developmental, academic, and structural challenges during the ninth year.” BARR is used in all subjects across ninth grade to attempt to increase students’ achievement by improving their social-emotional skills, building positive student-teacher relationships, and solving non-academic barriers to learning, such as truancy and misbehavior. BARR schools closely monitor student achievement and behavior, carrying out real-time analysis of data. Block scheduling is used to build connections among students and teachers. Teachers meet regularly to review progress of at-risk students and make plans to deal with academic as well as behavioral problems, including substance abuse and delinquency. Extensive professional development and coaching are provided to teachers and school leaders.
One study in a Southern California high school found that low achieving students in BARR gained more than similar control students on NWEA Math, with an average effect size of +0.37. This qualifies BARR for the ESSA “Strong” category for low achievers. Positive outcomes for reading were also found.
A staff member needs to be selected to serve as the school’s coordinator for the BARR model. The coordinator can be an assistant principal, school counselor, teacher, or another staff member. The coordinator will manage, coordinate, and integrate the BARR model. He or she works with school staff, administrators, and parents/guardians to support the needs of all students. Teams of teachers need to meet at minimum weekly using the BARR model.
Each training session uses BARR materials and practice.
In year one, two days of professional development are dedicated to understanding the BARR model, adopting a whole student approach, identifying and leveraging student strengths, and practicing facilitation of I-Time (SEL curriculum). Each subsequent year of training focuses on the staff increasing the effectiveness of I-Time lessons, adopting a strength-based approach, focusing on topics for the whole student.
In year two, two day training focuses on building a trauma sensitive classroom and the development of an equity lens and protocols.
Year three covers substance use and effective team meetings.
No specific technology required