BARR & Share Our Strength

We believe that not only is education a right, but success in education is a right for each and every student, regardless of race, ethnicity, or economic status. Education is recognized as the pathway to success, providing opportunity, but sadly leaving too many children behind.  

Schools have been one-dimensional for over a century, focused solely on academics. The faulty assumption has been that home and community would fill in the missing pieces.

We need to systematically change our schools to break down the barriers to learning, implementing a model to combat hunger by providing access to school meals and improving academic achievement through fostering relationships. We need to unleash the talent of educators, providing them with a system to know their students, strengths, and struggles. 

When we focus on nurturing students’ minds, bodies and hearts, we know that each and every student will succeed, in the classroom and beyond.

Our goal is to break down barriers to learning to combat hunger through providing access to school meals and improving academic achievement through social-emotional learning (SEL).

There is nothing we can do inside the four walls of our school until children’s basic needs are met. The brain will purge everything. As educators, we have to ask ourselves, what can we do to help our families support and lift up their children? These families are struggling and the children need to know their basic needs are a top priority for all of us. The meals at school provide stability, comfort, reduce anxiety and stress, and get them ready to learn. We hug them, we welcome them and we feed them. Only then can we really teach them.

Pam Davis, Principal, Highland View Elementary School, Bristol, Virginia

BARR and NKH address long-lasting inequities and systemically change schools by:

  1. Changing the belief systems of adults so that they understand the broadening role of schools to meet children’s needs; 
  2. Breaking down silos within schools to address the needs of the whole child; and
  3. Creating pathways and communication between schools and communities to access resources that serve the child and family’s needs.

Educators know that addressing students’ basic needs is a precursor to students’ learning and ensuring each and every student can succeed. No Kid Hungry (NKH) partners with community resources and state leadership so that children’s basic food needs are met.  Through supporting current school staff and community, the BARR model disrupts the legacied school system so that the whole child (strengths, background, etc.) is known, community partnerships are established, and opportunity gaps are closed.  

About BARR

BARR gives educators the tools to work together to better understand and build on students’ strengths, proactively address the non-academic reasons why they may fall behind in school and identify what they need to thrive within and outside the classroom.

Angela Jerabek, BARR’s Founder and Executive Director

BARR (Building Assets, Reducing Risks) is a proven model that improves the education system predicated on two pillars – relationships and data. It is designed to create strong schools and communities by empowering students, teachers, and families with data, so that schools can re-align existing resources to nurture a unified and personalized culture of support and success for every student, both inside and outside of the classroom.

On average, large urban schools see a 40% reduction in failure rate after one year of BARR while smaller rural schools see a 29% reduction. BARR has been researched for over 20 years and is one of the few models proven to reduce the opportunity gap and consistently replicates regardless of setting. Staff in BARR schools learn to share data/observations with one another, both utilizing other staff’s observations and techniques and community resources/experts when necessary, breaking down traditional silos to empower staff to serve students, staff and families effectively.

Additional Resources

About No Kid Hungry

“Providing access to school breakfast is providing access to an educational resource crucial to students reaching their full potential.”

No Kid Hungry is a national campaign run by Share Our Strength, a nonprofit working to solve problems of hunger and poverty in the United States and around the world. After 25 years of successfully investing in local nonprofits and helping find the best approaches to eradicating poverty and hunger, Share Our Strength launched No Kid Hungry in 2010.

As a child hunger organization, ending childhood hunger is our primary focus, though Share Our Strength continues to invest in and develop other campaigns.

Learn more about Share Our Strength and other work at ShareOurStrength.org.

Additional Resources