BARR Testifies at Minnesota House Ed Finance Hearing

Student holding a sign

At BARR, we believe that each and every student has the right not only to an education, but a right to success in education. Associate Director of Strategic Initiatives, Trainer, and Coach Christina Ritter and BARR’s Founder and Executive Director Angela Jerabek were invited and testified at the Minnesota House Ed Finance Hearing! Check it out (BARR is featured at 1:11:45)! 

During the opportunity, Ritter shared an explanation of the BARR model, explored the positive outcomes of BARR’s work, and highlighted the transformational story of a BARR district in Minnesota, South Saint Paul Public Schools. 

“At BARR, we believe relationships should never be a byproduct of education, but an essential and intentional prerequisite for academic success,” said Ritter. “We also know that you cannot have great teaching, great learning, and great academic success unless you adjust the structure of school so that it is possible for adults to understand and respond to every single student as both a learner and a person.”

Ritter shared how the 10th U.S. Secretary of Education and The Education Trust President & CEO John B. King Jr., recently participated in a virtual conversation with Jerabek and SAS Principal Education Advisor and former South Dakota Secretary of Education Melody Schopp. 

During the event he shared, “The BARR model reflects the conviction that all students can excel regardless of race, zip code, or family income when they are provided with the right supports.”

South St. Paul Public Schools was highlighted for their partnership, as they were recently announced as the first K-12 BARR district. Ritter shared how BARR has been transformational in supporting students throughout the district. 

“The BARR teachers at South St. Paul Public Schools meet as a collective team, review their student data, implement interventions with students, and they keep both pillars (relationships and data) in the front of their minds to ensure the development of authentic, strength-based relationships with their students and each other,” Ritter said.

In the five years South St. Paul Public Schools has been implementing BARR, they have reduced the failure rate, increased attendance and graduation rates and most importantly improved the school culture. This important work was also showcased in a 2021 podcast called “IB Matters Podcast Featuring BARR Center.

During the testimony, Ritter shared how it is BARR’s goal for every school community to experience similar successes like those experienced by South St. Paul High School. BARR believes the model would help every school across Minnesota.

BARR is asking the state to consider access to funding for this evidence based model. Schools and districts have realized that funding the BARR model school wide is less than the cost of one teacher. As our tagline, Same Students. Same Teachers. Better Results states, re-aligning resources to nurture a unified and personalized culture of support for each and every student is cost-effective and effective. 

The BARR team was grateful for the opportunity to testify and share the important takeaway – that by paying attention to students’ lives, we can change the trajectory of their lives, both inside and outside the school building.