Bipartisan Education Funding Legislation Aims to Improve Student Success in More Minnesota Schools

Published: Jan. 25, 2023 at 4:45 PM CST

MINNEAPOLIS, Jan. 25, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- BARR Center (Building Assets, Reducing Risks) announced legislation today to provide funding for additional Minnesota schools to implement a system focused on addressing the academic, social, and emotional needs of students.

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HF 806/SF 494, authored by House E-12 Finance Committee Chair Rep. Cheryl Youakim (Hopkins) and Sen. Aric Putnam (St. Cloud) asks the Minnesota legislature to allocate $7,650,000 for 30 additional Minnesota schools to implement the BARR system. More than 40 Minnesota schools and 200 others nationally are currently using the BARR system to improve their schools' cultures and students' outcomes. With this new funding, 30 geographically distributed (urban, suburban, and rural) Minnesota schools serving Black, Indigenous, and students of color, and those experiencing poverty, would benefit from the results the BARR system brings, too.

"In just over one year of implementation, BARR has had a tremendous impact, including a dramatic reduction of course failures across all 9-12 grades and an improvement in school culture. With BARR, we are way more efficient at addressing student challenges, proactive in preventing problem behaviors, and successfully addressing social and emotional needs, all while focusing on the positives and strengths that each person in our school community brings to the table," expresses Detroit Lakes High School Principal Joshua Omang. "If we are truly serious in education about getting better results for all kids, expanding the BARR system should be at the top of everyone's list in our state!"

Now more than ever, in this challenging, post-pandemic period, educators need support addressing school climate and student mental health issues. Using existing resources, the BARR system focuses on building meaningful relationships – capitalizing on the strengths of every student – and leveraging student data to truly transform a school's culture. In every school implemented it has proven to be a successful way to meet the social and emotional needs of all students while simultaneously increasing student achievement and teacher satisfaction and effectiveness.

"Implementing the BARR system in our school has exponentially increased the depth at which we know students, positively increased teacher collaboration and given us a platform in which we can create and have solid follow through on SMART goals for our students," states Kelly Hoskins, Grade 5 Teacher at Lake Elmo Elementary School and St. Croix Education Association Treasurer.

"It is our third year working with BARR at Marshall High School and we have seen ninth grade student achievement increase, largely due to more timely identification (and interventions) for students who need academic and mental health support," shares Principal Brian Jones. "The BARR system takes a comprehensive approach and builds on what schools are already doing to make improvements that benefit students while allowing staff to work as a team to create a culture of learning and support."

The BARR system stands alone as the most consistently proven school improvement model in the country. Through rigorous studies conducted by the American Institute for Research (AIR), the BARR system has demonstrated statistically significant results in 20 areas, including increasing math and English achievement scores, improving student credit attainment, reducing course failure, closing the achievement gap, and reducing chronic absenteeism all while improving the school environment for both students and staff.

"BARR's mission is to create equitable schools where every student, regardless of race, ethnicity, or economic status, has access to high quality education where adults know them, recognize their strengths, and help them succeed," explains Angela Jerabek, founder and executive director of the BARR Center. "I developed the BARR system while serving as a school counselor here in Minnesota then spent 20 years rigorously testing its effectiveness because that is what educators deserve – to know that the programs they're using are vetted and a proven-effective way to positively impact the students they care so much about."

About BARR Center
BARR Center (Building Assets, Reducing Risks) delivers the expertise and resources required for a school to implement the BARR system, an evidence-backed system designed to nurture a collaborative and strengths-based culture of support and success for every student through intentionally deepening relationships and improving use of data. For more information, visit, https://barrcenter.org/.

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