BARR Educators Helping Students & Athletes Succeed Across the Country

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BARR Center recently kicked off a Leading with Culture series, bringing forward inspired and unscripted conversations with leaders who share first-hand experiences and insights. As part of this series, we heard from schools who are working on making an impact on their school community with BARR. 

West Valley High School, Tech High School and Patrick Henry High School are a part of the Network for School Improvement, which is an aim to increase access to post-secondary options for all students and especially Black, Latinx, and low-income students. Each of these schools are helping students succeed by supporting them socially, emotionally, academically, and athletically. Boys Basketball Coach & Diamond Valley M.S. PBIS Specialist Kristopher Brooks shared how important it is for educators to focus on supporting the whole child. 

“If we show students we care about WHO they are rather than WHAT they can do, their possibilities are endless. BARR helps do this by focusing on the whole student, not just one part of them,” said Brooks.

In Minnesota, Tech High School has also been prioritizing student success by providing tutoring during athletic practices to work with athletes to support them in improving their grades to get them back on the field. 

“When you build connections with students, whether as a BARR teacher or coach, it allows you to build a relationship that allows you to talk to students as adults. It’s authentic and respected by the students. I then use these relationships in my classroom to motivate and encourage students to do their best. I can also give this information to other teachers so they can get to know these students/athletes,” said BARR Teacher & Cross Country Coach Dan Heinen.

Other Minnesota schools have found that BARR has been critical in helping educators better collaborate and connect about students. As a school psychologist and track and field coach, Thomas S. Johnson at Patrick Henry High School in Minnesota, gets a chance to see what allows their students to thrive from different perspectives. BARR helped them lead with a preventative framework and to also intervene earlier when needed. With this approach, they are able to make sure all of their student athletes are getting matched with the right type of support earlier to make meaningful changes possible in trajectory for those who need it most.

“When our teams of educators get to know a more complete story of a student, we can intervene in a smarter way. Sometimes that’s an academic need and tutoring, matching with a therapist in our school-based clinic, or a restorative conference with a teacher. BARR helps us make sure our student athletes get to do what they love on the track, court, or field by improving ways we collaborate as educators and connect with our students in meaningful ways,” said Johnson.

* West Valley High School, Tech High School and Patrick Henry High School are a part of the Network for School Improvement