BARR Center Awarded $13M Grant as National Expansion Accelerates

BARR Center’s Network for School Improvement (NSI) grant funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will expand its national footprint with a focus on Black, Latinx and low-income students. 

December 11, 2019

The BARR Center is proud to announce that today,  it was awarded a five-year, $13 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to expand BARR’s focus to also include increasing college ready, on-track rates for grades and 11 and 12.

At the BARR Center (Building Assets, Reducing Risks), our 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 to succeed. Built from a foundational belief that all schools have the capacity to make key changes using current staff, BARR  produces proven and significant results. This strengths-based model provides schools with a comprehensive approach to meeting the academic, social, and emotional needs of all students. In fact, BARR has proven that “Same Students. Same Teachers. Better Results” is more than just a tagline. It is the reality for virtually every school that has implemented the BARR model.

Designed by an educator, the BARR model is rooted in the belief that growth is possible and within reach for every school, even with the same students and same teachers, when the core principles of the BARR model are implemented with fidelity. Now, with the support of this Gates Foundation grant, over the next five years the BARR Center will expand its reach and national impact even further by developing a Network for School Improvement (NSI) that focuses on increasing the college ready, on-track rates of Black, Latinx, and low-income students by initially networking 30 high schools across two regions in California and the Midwest. Efforts will focus on grade point averages in grades 11 and 12, ELA and mathematics proficiency, advanced course taking, increased high school graduation, and reductions in 9th and 10th grade course failures.

As part of this grant, BARR will work with a complement of anchor schools who have experience implementing BARR in 9th grade as well as a group of new schools whom prior,  have not implemented the BARR model. All schools, both anchor and new, will implement BARR school wide, in grades 9-12. Collectively, the network will use continuous improvement methods to increase college ready, on-track rates for 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students. This grant will also allow the BARR Center to identify the strategies that schools (both anchor and new) most effectively utilize, review multiple indicators by group, and support participating schools in using continuous improvement strategies to uncover which strategies are most effective for specific students at various points in time.

Finally, coupling the work of BARR-specific strategies in grade 9 with upper grades, BARR will provide a structure to ensure that all students are on-track for college, with this newly expanded school improvement network ensuring that each school in the network can function as an individual laboratory, testing the effectiveness of various on-track strategies while sharing the results of each within the broader NSI.

Needless to say, the BARR team is very excited about this next chapter in our continued growth and hope that you will join us in celebrating our collective success!

Read More from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation