Improving Mental Health and Academic Interventions at Johnson Central High School

KASA presentation

Administrators throughout the state recently gathered at the Kentucky Association of School Administrators Conference to connect, collaborate and strategize as they prepare for how to best support students while kicking off the 2021-22 school year.

BARR’s Deputy Director Rob Metz and Johnson Central High School Principal Noel Crum spoke at this year’s conference that had the theme of: “Rejuvenate. Reinvigorate. Rejoice.” This was just what Crum and Metz lifted up in their presentation where they engaged with education leaders regarding the topic of improving mental health and academic outcomes by sharing Johnson Central High School’s experience with BARR.

During the presentation, Crum shared how he watched student success increase in their building by embracing the BARR model. 

“We are so used to addressing symptoms in our culture,” Crum said. “BARR is a way to address root causes to ensure that staff feel both better supported and empowered to help each and every student succeed.”

Prioritizing BARR’s two pillars of relationships and data, Crum walked the administrators through their high school’s data where they have seen their graduation rates statistically increase over the past several years. In 2016, 87.6% of their students graduated. By the 2019-20 school year, they had 98.3% of students walking across the stage to grab their diplomas after implementing BARR. Crum also shared how they have simultaneously seen their behavioral incidences and failure rates decrease. 

While schools have different approaches to social emotional learning, BARR provides the structure for educators to embrace a whole child approach.

“Even though other school communities may already have other multi-tiered or PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions Supports) systems in place, BARR serves as a way to better support all of those initiatives and programs to help students thrive socially, emotionally and academically,” said Metz.

Crum explained that while the pandemic has brought many challenges, it has also created opportunities to connect with students like never before. Through a focus on relationships and data, Metz and Crum emphasized how schools can see their culture flourish by focusing on staff-to-staff, staff-to-student, and student-to-student relationships.

“In my 26 years of education, we have implemented many initiatives and programs,” said Crum. “I can say hands-down that BARR has made the greatest impact on helping students succeed both inside and outside of the classroom while improving our school culture.”