Bipartisan Education Funding Legislation Aims to Improve Student Success in More Minnesota Schools

February 23, 2023

MINNEAPOLIS, MN (February 23, 2024) —BARR Center (Building Assets, Reducing Risks) announced legislation today to provide funding for additional Minnesota schools to implement a system focused on addressing the academic, social, and emotional needs of students.

HF 3378/SF 3539, authored by House E-12 Finance Committee Chair Rep. Cheryl Youakim (Hopkins) and Sen. Aric Putnam (St. Cloud) asks the Minnesota legislature to allocate $10,000,000 for 36 additional Minnesota schools to implement the BARR system. More than 48 Minnesota schools and 350 others nationally are currently using the BARR system to improve their schools’ cultures and students’ outcomes. With this new funding, 36 geographically distributed (urban, suburban, and rural) Minnesota schools serving Black, Indigenous, and students of color, and those experiencing poverty, would benefit from the results the BARR system brings, too.

“Armstrong High School’s graduation rate has increased by 4% since 2018, our first year of BARR. Our students of color report feeling more of a sense of belonging due to the stronger relationships they have with adults and teachers in our building. BARR has permanently changed Armstrong High School for the better in four years.” — Erick Norby, Principal at Armstrong High School

Now more than ever, in this challenging, post-pandemic period, educators need support addressing school climate and student mental health issues. Using existing resources, the BARR system focuses on building meaningful relationships – capitalizing on the strengths of every student – and leveraging student data to truly transform a school’s culture. In every school implemented it has proven to be a successful way to meet the social and emotional needs of all students while simultaneously increasing student achievement and teacher satisfaction and effectiveness.

“From starting the BARR model in 2019 until now our MCAs have grown an average of 10.2% just in math which is huge considering the state we are all in and all of the challenges we have overcome in the last four years. This year focused on literacy and our most recent scores indicate that students are meeting and exceeding their growth goals.” — Kelly Hoskins, Fifth Grade Teacher and BARR co-coordinator at Lake Elmo Elementary

“I’ve been teaching for 31 years and for a lot of those years I felt like I was on
an island when dealing with students who struggled. I tried to figure it out by myself, there was nothing set up for me to communicate with other teachers. I’d throw something out there and hope it worked, oftentimes it did not. With BARR, teachers communicate and share strategies about how to meet the needs of these students. We have far more collaboration and direction with helping students.” — Kalan Malchow, Social Studies Teacher at Detroit Lakes High School

The BARR system stands alone as the most consistently proven school improvement model in the country. Through rigorous studies conducted by the American Institute for Research (AIR), the BARR system has demonstrated statistically significant results in 20 areas, including increasing math and English achievement scores, improving student credit attainment, reducing course failure, closing the achievement gap, and reducing chronic absenteeism all while improving the school environment for both students and staff.

“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,” explains Angela Jerabek, founder and executive director of the BARR Center. “I developed the BARR system while serving as a school counselor here in Minnesota then spent 20 years rigorously testing its effectiveness because that is what educators deserve – to know that the programs they’re using are vetted and a proven-effective way to positively impact the students they care so much about.”