Helping Each & Every Student Succeed at South Charleston Middle School

Students in classroom with teacher

At South Charleston Middle School, educators have been collaborating to ensure each and every student succeeds. The team has been working with BARR (Building Assets, Reducing Risks) to change their culture to ensure students understand how much they are cared for as both a person and a learner. 

BARR is the nation’s leading evidence-based school improvement model that brings education into the 21st century through intentionally deepened relationships and a data-driven, personalized and supportive approach. South Charleston Middle School began implementing the model this school year for their school’s sixth through eighth grade students. With the same students and teachers, the K-12 model provides educators with time in their days to be able to focus on students through strength-based conversations in BARR meetings. 

Seventh grade social studies teacher Iris Settle mentioned how these BARR meetings have helped staff better support students by identifying those who need interventions, collaborating with the team to come up with a plan and having helpful access to additional resources. Family partnership has also been a key strategy in their approach to understanding the whole child. 

Earlier this year, Settle prioritized calling home to families to check in with how their students were doing in the classroom. She noticed one phone call home to a family helped her student’s grades improve. This is being noticed in each grade level.

“BARR has focused our attention and energies on students in need – across the board and in all areas. I know for me personally it’s given me time and an avenue to recognize, identify and address individual students and their individual needs,” said 8th grade West Virginia Studies teacher Amy Holland.  

BARR supports focusing on the positives in the building. Educators have been sending uplifting postcards home praising students for the great work they have been doing.

Educators are noticing how I-Times support engaging in deeper conversations with their students. I-Times are a 30-minute weekly relationship-building lesson that help students focus on refining skills for goal setting, leadership style, communication, reducing risk such as: substance abuse, bullying, grief and loss. While this has been a powerful tool to strengthen connections between staff and students, it has also been pivotal in building trusting student-to-student relationships. 

“I think the kids enjoy getting to work with one another for activities that they believe are not academic. These activities have also felt like a “brain break” for the classes, and allowed kids to relax more within the classroom environment,” said 7th grade English teacher Summer Burns.

Together, the South Charleston Middle School team looks forward to continuing to work together with families and BARR to make sure each and every student knows they matter, are cared for and loved. 

“We are celebrating student success and growth, while also working on interventions for students in need,” said Assistant Principal Ms. Kizmet Chandler. “BARR has helped South Charleston Middle School create deeper relationships with every student in our building.”

This partnership is just the beginning of making sure students feel they have the support they need to achieve their best futures as tomorrow’s leaders.

Check out the official press release.