Building Assets, Reducing Risks (BARR) Schools

BARR LogoWhat is BARR?

BARR was developed over 20 years ago by a high school counselor who felt ineffective because more than 40 percent of her 9th-grade students failed at least one core course and were at risk of not graduating on time. She learned from her school’s principal that this was not just her high school’s problem, but it reflected a troubling national trend. Using strategies from the fields of business and medicine, Executive Director Angela Jerabek created the BARR model and implemented it in the fall of 1998. By spring 1999, the 9th-grade student failure rate had decreased from 44% the previous year to 20%. Teachers worked together and knew each student – not just from an academic perspective, but from a personal perspective – their interests, strengths, hopes, and dreams.


The BARR system uses eight interlocking strategies that build intentional relationships (staff to staff, staff to student, and student to student) and utilizes real-time data to enable schools to achieve concrete academic, social, and emotional outcomes for every student.

These strategies align with the DOE’s whole-student approach and work across the Department.  


Careful implementation and evaluation continued for over 20 years, all with the same findings – students passed more classes, pursued more advanced courses, and graduated on time. The focus of BARR is not just for some students but all students. Teachers reported increased collaboration, satisfaction, and their ability to use data effectively. School culture and climate were improved. Today, BARR operates in over 250 schools nationwide and works in all grade levels, K-12, including in dozens of schools here in Maine.


BARR Fast Facts


BARR's 8 Interconnected Strategies


  • There are already BARR schools in Maine and one in every county
  • BARR is a flexible approach tailored to the assets and needs of the school community
  • BARR can be customized for a grade level, specific classes, a portion of the school, or the entire school
  • Funding is by the school, and multiple schools within an SAU can participate in this opportunity
  • BARR schools receive a coach who will guide them through their journey to becoming a BARR school.
  • Every BARR school is unique; it fits with your school rather than fitting your school into a program.

Learn more about BARR 




  1. Focus on the whole student.
  2. Provide professional development for teachers, counselors, and administrators.
  3. Use BARR’s curriculum to foster a climate for learning and relationship building.
  4. Create cohorts to cultivate connections.
  5. Hold regular meetings of the cohort teacher teams to discuss each student.
  6. Conduct Community Connect meetings that engage the community
  7. Engage families
  8. Engage administrators






Page Nichols
Chief Innovation Officer
Phone: 207-592-1216