Robbinsdale Area Schools
Middle School

BARR Program

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 all students. 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.

The BARR model is also used at Armstrong and Cooper high schools.

BARR model chart

This model recognizes that each student enters school with unique strengths, challenges and histories. To help teachers learn about each student, the model utilizes proactive strategies rather than waiting for something to go wrong. Specific components are designed to meet individual student needs, offering extra support to struggling students while providing ample opportunities for all students to develop the skills needed to be successful. BARR employs a comprehensive set of 8 interlocking strategies including:

  • regular teacher meetings based on a shared group of students
  • weekly student-focused lessons based on social and emotional health
  • ongoing professional development for teachers
  • program-specific support staff who are able to intervene when students need additional support

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 I-Time in order to better engage and challenge our students.

To learn more about BARR, visit

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

Once a week, one of the block teachers will facilitate an I-Time lesson. The goal of I-Time is to help strengthen student-to-student and staff-to-student relationships, and to build classroom community. Important topics they will explore together: building community, stress management, bullying and substance use awareness. 

How does BARR benefit my student?

BARR educators focus on your child as more than just a learner – but work to understand them 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 also provided with ongoing professional development on the BARR model and on topics that are relevant to our students including interdisciplinary planning and teaching, equity, substance use and mental health awareness.

The 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; narrowed opportunity gaps; and decreases in failure rates, suspensions, and absenteeism.