Benefits of BARR


What is BARR?

BARR — Building Assets, Reducing Risks — is an evidence-based model that provides our school with a strength-based comprehensive approach to meeting the academic, social, and emotional needs of each and every student. Through BARR, we work to harness the power of relationships and data to remove both academic and non-academic barriers to learning and ensure that no student is invisible.

At Nitro Elementary School, all teachers and staff are grouped into Small Block (grade level) and Big Block (multi-grade level) teams. These teacher teams meet throughout the week to monitor student progress, identify strengths and consider ways to support and challenge all block students. Each week, our BARR Coordinator, Mrs. Haynes, meets with teacher teams to offer additional support for students and provide recognition for students' unique strengths and talents.

BARR is the framework that provides us the opportunity to get to know each of our student's strengths and interests during a critical transition time in their education. As educators, we leverage the knowledge we gain through relationship building and U-Time in order to better engage and challenge our students.

What are these U-Time lessons my student talks about?

Once a week, teachers will facilitate a U-Time lesson. The goal of U-Time is to strengthen student-to-student and staff-to-student relationships and build classroom community. Important topics they will explore together: building community, stress management, bullying, and communication skills. 

How does BARR benefit my student?

BARR educators focus on your child as more than just a learner – we work to understand him or her as a whole child.  They are trained to use strength-based techniques to build positive relationships and support each student toward success in the classroom and beyond. BARR staff are provided with ongoing professional development on the BARR model and on topics that are relevant to our students, including interdisciplinary planning and teaching, equity, behaviors of concern and mental health awareness.

The BARR model has a 20-year track record of student success and has been proven to drive significant improvements in school climate measures, course credits earned, grade point averages, and standardized test scores. BARR has narrowed opportunity gaps and shown decreases in failure rates, suspensions, and absenteeism.

What they’re saying

“From a parent perspective, we get to see that the teachers are really connecting with the students… They take an interest in students above and beyond academics.  To me, that’s what makes it - when my kids come home and they are so excited because a teacher gave them a nickname.  From then on, math is awesome, and they are motivated.” - Carrie, BARR parent


"Grades are a good indicator of how a student is doing, but if you just look at grades, you miss a lot of things: social changes, friend-group changes, attendance, health, all of a sudden a student is getting too skinny ... It's like a puzzle, and everybody holds a piece of the puzzle, so when we are all together, we can see the whole kid." -Janice, BARR educator

“BARR has enabled me to deepen my relationships with my students and families. It has also provided a structure that encourages me to collect and use data with purpose.” -Kelly Hoskins, 5th-grade teacher, Lake Elmo Elementary School, Stillwater School District, Minnesota

To learn more about BARR, visit

If you have questions or want more information about BARR at Nitro Elementary, please contact BARR Coordinator, Mrs. Sarah Haynes, [email protected], (304) 755-2451.


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