Applications are now open to all willing and qualified public schools who would like to become a BARR (Building Assets, Reducing Risks) school. Click here to apply. Using American Rescue Plan, state reservation funds, the Maine Department of Education (DOE) will cover all costs of implementing the program for schools new to BARR, and all costs of continued implementation support to existing BARR schools. Additionally, the DOE will provide travel reimbursement and educator stipends associated with participation in the program. Applications are due by May 26, 2023.
BARR was developed over 20 years ago by a high school counselor who felt ineffective because more than 40 percent of her 9th grade students were failing at least one core course and were at risk for not graduating on time. She learned from her school’s principal that this was not just her high school’s problem, but it reflected a troubling national trend. Using strategies from the fields of business and medicine, Executive Director Angela Jerabek created the BARR model and implemented it in the fall of 1998. By spring 1999, 9th grade student failure rate had decreased from 44% the previous year to 20%. Teachers worked together and knew each student – not just from an academic perspective, but from a personal perspective – their interests, strengths, hopes, and dreams.
Careful implementation and evaluation continued for over 20 years, all with the same findings – students passed more classes, pursued more advanced courses, and graduated on time. The focus of BARR is not just for some students, but all students. Teachers reported increased collaboration, satisfaction, and their ability to use data effectively. School culture and climate was improved. Today, BARR operates in over 250 schools throughout the nation and works in all grade levels, K-12, including in dozens of schools here in Maine.
“There is no question that BARR has had a positive impact on the students and staff at Sacopee Valley Middle School. We are intervening with students earlier, our meetings are more efficient, and most importantly, our relationships are stronger. Honestly, I couldn’t imagine our school without BARR. It is not a flavor of the month intervention — it is now part of our fabric and is here to stay,” said Amy Vacchiano, counselor and BARR Coordinator at Sacopee Valley Middle School.
The BARR system uses eight interlocking strategies that build intentional relationships (staff to staff, staff to student, and student to student) and utilizes real-time data to enable schools to achieve concrete academic, social, and emotional outcomes for each and every student. To learn more about BARR visit: https://barrcenter.org/about-barr/barr-model/.
To be eligible, a school must meet one of the following:
- a SAU as defined under as defined under 20-A M.R.S.A Section 1, Subsection 26; or
- a publicly supported secondary school as defined under 20-A M.R.S.A Section 1, Subsection 23-B, B; or
- the Education in the Unorganized Territory (EUT) under 20-A M.R.S.A Chapter 119.
Sign up for an informational session on:
Wednesday, May 17, 2023 | 4:00 ET | REGISTER
Thursday, May 18, 2023 | 4:00 ET | REGISTER
Join Beth Lambert, Acting Chief Innovation Officer and Director of Innovative Teaching and Learning at the Maine DOE to learn more about this opportunity to implement the BARR system in your school(s). We’ll also be joined by Rob Metz and Jennifer Fox from the BARR Center who will provide an overview of BARR and other Maine educators who are excited to share their experiences and the impact it has had on their schools:
- Jennifer Mull-Brooks, Principal, Congin Elementary School
- Greg Henderson, School Counselor and BARR Coordinator, Mt. Blue High School
- Shelly Lajoie, Counselor and BARR Coordinator, Noble High School
- Josh Tripp, Principal, Bucksport High School
Learn more about BARR at http://www.barrcenter.org.