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Building Assets Reducing Risks (BARR) — Reading

Essa Rating
No. Studies
No. Students
Average Effect Size

Program Description

Building Assets Reducing Risks (BARR) is a whole-school improvement model focused on “developmental, academic, and structural challenges during the ninth year.” BARR is used in all subjects across ninth grade 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 with real-time analysis of data. Block/team scheduling is used to build connections among students and teachers. Teachers meet regularly to review progress with all students, especially at-risk students, and plans are made to address academic and behavioral problems, including substance abuse and delinquency. Extensive professional development and coaching are provided to teachers and school leaders.

Program Outcomes

Two studies in California, Maine, and Minnesota high schools found that students in BARR achieved statistically significantly higher scores than non-BARR students on NWEA MAP Reading, with an average effect size of +0.09 after one year. Positive effects were also found in math.

Staffing Requirements

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.

Professional Development/Training

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