Edutopia: Student Data: Friend or Foe?

“Twenty years ago, former school guidance counselor and BARR founder Angela Jerabek felt hopeless after watching half of the ninth graders fail a class for five years in a row. Jerabek went to her principal to resign, but he asked her to instead design a program to get the entire staff working together to help students succeed. She never imagined that two decades later, the data-driven program she created for her school in Minnesota would be used in more than 100 schools in 15 states and Washington, DC, after receiving a prestigious Scale-Up grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

“The two pillars [of BARR] are building positive, intentional relationships and gathering data—it works because the inputs are social-emotional, and the outcomes are academic,” says Jerabek of the program, which studies have found dramatically improves student achievement, with an effect particularly strong for disadvantaged students.

Hoping to see similar results, the Dallas district launched the program this past school year at Bryan Adams, where a high percentage of students were classified by the state as at risk for dropping out. At the school, 89 percent of students are economically disadvantaged, more than a third are English language learners, and 82 percent are Latino.”

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