BARR Center Awarded $13M Grant to Expand Education Model

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 students in marginalized communities.

MINNEAPOLISMay 7, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — BARR Center (Building Assets, Reducing Risks), a model that improves America’s education system with intentionally deepened relationships and a data-driven personalized and supportive approach, announced that 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 11 and 12.

Designed by educator and executive director Angela Jerabek of BARR Center, the BARR model is rooted in the belief that growth is possible and within reach for every school when the core principles are implemented with fidelity. Now, with the support of this Gates Foundation grant, over the next five years, 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 students in low-income families 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, English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics proficiency, advanced course taking, increased high school graduation, and reductions in 9th and 10th grade course failures.

“Too often our current educational practices expect more from less, punish schools for failing to achieve, and create barriers for students farthest from opportunity,” explains Jerabek. “This is a 200-year-old point of view. Our society has evolved and grown and so should our education system. BARR believes that not only is education a right, but success in education is a right. We have the information, knowledge, and understanding as a society to build successful people. We have to understand them as individuals, give them actionable opportunities, and catch them when they stumble or fall. We can do this with the same teachers, the same students, and achieve better results.”

As part of the grant, BARR will work with a complement of anchor schools that have experience implementing BARR in 9th grade, as well as a group of schools that are newly implementing the BARR model. All schools, both anchor and new, will implement BARR schoolwide 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. The grant will also allow BARR Center to identify the strategies that schools (both anchor and new) most effectively use, 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 that will ensure all students are on-track for college. This newly expanded school improvement network will enable every school in the network to function as an individual laboratory and test the effectiveness of various on-track strategies while sharing the results of each within the broader NSI.

Jerabek added, “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. I developed and built BARR from a foundational belief that all schools have the capacity to make key changes using current staff. This strengths-based model provides schools with a comprehensive approach to meeting the academic, social, and emotional needs of all students.”

About BARR Center
BARR Center (Building Assets, Reducing Risks) is a model that aims to bring education into the 21st century with intentionally deepened relationships and a data-driven personalized and supportive approach that aligns students, teachers, staff, and families with unified culture of support and success so that, together, we can build strong schools and communities. For more information, visit,