Grant Application Materials


Areas of Focus

Area 1: Student Academic Outcomes

In the grant application, you are asked to describe your current academic data such as graduation rates, opportunity gaps, reading and math scores or any other data and statistics that will help illustrate current trends and the need for the BARR Model. 

Here is some helpful language on how BARR will help you improve student academic outcomes:

On average, large urban schools see a 40% reduction in failure rates, and rural schools see a 30% reduction after one year of BARR. Also, BARR students had statistically significant increases in grade point averages and standardized test scores in ELA and math versus their peers in the control group. BARR’s positive impacts were slightly more pronounced for male students, students of color, and students who received free/reduced lunch.

BARR achieves these outcomes, not by replacing curriculum in the classroom but by helping to remove the non-academic barriers to learning and enhancing relationships and supporting teachers as they work together to implement strategies that address the specific needs of each and every student. By implementing BARR in your school, both quantitative and qualitative data on student academic progress will be monitored for each student and if BARR is implemented with fidelity, schools  can expect these same positive outcomes.

Additional language to consider:

With over 20 years of research and evaluation, the BARR model is one of the most evidence-based, system-wide school improvement models within K-12 education. Research on the BARR model has led to 19 different statistically significant outcomes for BARR schools at the student, educator, and system level, with largest impacts for Black, Latino/a, low-income, and other historically underserved student populations. BARR has proven effective at closing the opportunity gap with low-income students and students of color. BARR has resulted in increased standardized test scores for math and reading and better course performance, with the strongest effects for economically disadvantaged students, males, and students of color.

As a result, BARR is listed five times in Evidence for ESSA for having strong evidence for all secondary students in math, reading, and socioemotional skills, and for struggling students in math and reading, based on the model’s ability to improve standardized test scores in these areas. Independent research on BARR’s effectiveness meets What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) standards without reservation at the high school level (Bos et al., 2019; Boulay et al., 2018). Also, BARR has received evidence-based recognition for increasing outcomes prioritized by schools, such as math, reading, SEL, substance use reduction, and college readiness. 

Area 2: Student Behavioral Outcomes

In the grant application, you are asked to describe current attendance rates, discipline incidence rates, risky behavior trends (i.e.,YRBS), social-emotional and mental health challenges or any other data and statistics that will help illustrate current trends and the need for the BARR Model. 

Here is some helpful language on how BARR will help you improve student behavioral outcomes:

BARR is listed as a CASEL SELect SEL program in CASEL’s guide and it is included in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s national registry of evidence-based programs. By implementing BARR, each and every student participates in weekly lesson plans that are aimed at building intentional relationships between student-to-student and student-to-staff. These lesson plans facilitate conversations across differences, empathy, collaboration, and listening skills. They focus on building assets through lessons like goal setting, leadership style, and communication, as well as reducing risk through lessons on substance use (secondary model), bullying, grief and loss. Special trainings for staff are delivered focused on addressing trauma, reducing substance use, and building resilience through the BARR Model.

Through rigorous research studies, the BARR Model has shown to positively impact student behavior. BARR has resulted in increased attendance, decreased behavioral issues, and enhanced social-emotional skills. Also, BARR has been shown to decrease discipline incidences, and the continuous improvement mindset of BARR’s system helps schools shine a light on disciplinary practices that may need to change.

Area 3: Teacher and School Level Outcomes

In the grant application, you are asked to describe your current school culture and climate, teacher satisfaction, willingness, and ability to collaborate, utilization of qualitative and quantitative data or any other data and statistics that will help illustrate current trends and the need for the BARR Model.

Here is some helpful language on how BARR will help you improve teacher and school level outcomes:

BARR teachers had significantly more positive views about collaborating with colleagues than teachers at control group schools. BARR teachers also reported greater levels of self efficacy and more positive perceptions of student behavior than did control group teachers. Teacher mindset, attitudes and behaviors are improved because the BARR Model fosters staff-to-staff relationships in an intentional way, nurturing collaboration and a sense of teamness. 

Additional language to consider:

BARR transforms school systems to develop healthy and supportive environments through the empowerment of educators and students and supporting schools to realign their existing staff and resources to maximize student, educator, and school strengths. BARR provides schools with a common lens, belief system, and vocabulary to prioritize relationships and use of data to empower all individuals within the system. This shared understanding helps cultivate a positive school climate, which provides the environment for all children and adults to thrive and succeed. Further, BARR works with the current staff at the school and acknowledges their experience, expertise, and student and community knowledge. BARR provides the structure and support for educators to collaborate, innovate, and create change within their own school environments. The collaborative nature of brainstorming interventions and developing strategies as a team reinforces relationships among teachers.  

Research on the BARR model showed five statistically significant educator impacts, including increased teacher satisfaction, higher self-efficacy, enhanced collaboration and use of data, and stronger positive intentional relationships with students. As a result, through enhanced student and teacher experiences, BARR schools report enhanced school climate (as measured by students feeling more supported, having more supportive relationships, higher expectations and being more engaged, and teachers reporting more collaboration, feeling more effective, more accurate in their perceptions of student behavior, and more positive towards colleagues and school’s supports). 

BARR Information

BARR was developed by a former high school guidance counselor to support students transitioning into high school. BARR is based on two pillars, relationships and data, that can be applied K-12. Schools that implement BARR designate one staff person responsible for coordinating the model, and this person is an existing staff member who does so on a part time or full time basis. Adopting secondary schools subdivide students into small cohorts, and students take their core academic courses in these cohorts. The same set of teachers teach the core academic courses to all of the students in a cohort. Cohort teacher teams hold weekly meetings to review students’ academic, behavioral, and social/emotional needs, and the BARR coordinator facilitates these shared cohort team meetings. The BARR coordinator works with school administration to conduct a risk review process for students with the highest needs. Teachers and staff at BARR schools complete a professional development cycle over three years. School administrators play an important role in integrating the BARR model into the school’s culture and aligning the structures the BARR model provides with other school goals. Positive impacts are typically seen within the first year. Three years of services are recommended for a school to fully embed BARR into its operations. Since its creation, BARR has also expanded to developed adaptations that are implemented at the elementary and middle school levels.

Helpful links to learn more about BARR:

  • Learn more about how BARR works in this video
  • Check out how “South High School Prioritizes Student Success with BARR” in Fargo, North Dakota through this press release
  • Watch video features of how South High School was highlighted as the first BARR school in North Dakota on local television stations KVRR and WDAY
  • Hear directly from educators at Detroit Lakes High School about how they have improved their culture with BARR in rural Minnesota in this webinar for South Dakota’s Department of Tribal Relations’ Indian Education Conference
  • Preview this video about how BARR has supported student success at Johnson Central High School in rural Kentucky

Connect with Us

Contact Strategic Growth Officer Jenny Fox at or 651-587-2121 for additional information.

The North Dakota Department of Public Instruction (NDDPI), Office of Educational Improvement and Support, invites North Dakota public schools to submit a grant application for participation in Building Assets, Reducing Risks (BARR).

Learn More About this Grant

Check out this recording with BARR’s team and Robin Lang from the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction to learn more about this grant opportunity and how to get started.

Connect with Us

Contact Strategic Growth Officer Jenny Fox at or 651-587-2121 for additional information.

I have seen more growth in two months of us running this BARR program in terms of our staff culture and how we’re approaching things and how we’re dealing with students, than I did the previous seven years.

You have all of these people that are brought together in a systematic way, and they share those little pieces with each other and there’s a lot of power in that…You can actually get at how you could help these kids.

BARR provides a structure for educators to be able to best work together to support students throughout their education…By establishing strong relationships with each of our students, we are going to be able to collaborate as a team and effectively coach students through transitions to make sure they feel safe, supported and cared for in order to achieve their academic goals.

 The Building Assets and Reducing Risks model is unique in that it builds the academic muscles of current students through a network of teachers, staff, and family. When BARR becomes how we ‘do school,’ students have even greater access to educational opportunities. Students are more likely to feel valued and connected, learn content and skills, and graduate on time, choice ready.