Building Assets, Reducing Risks (BARR)

Since Stillwater Area High School implemented the Building Assets, Reducing Risks (BARR) program in the fall of 2017, the overall number of courses ninth graders have failed has been cut in half - dropping from 14% in 2016-2017 down to just 6% in 2018-2019. Ninth graders are also self-reporting less stress and a need for less support in organizational and study skills.

BARR is designed to help ninth graders make the transition from middle school to high school. By creating teams of students who work closely with a core group of common teachers, the large school feels much smaller and more personal. It pairs a core group of three teachers with approximately 160 ninth grade students to form a small learning community. 

  • In addition to teaching Science, English and Geography, BARR teachers also help students develop good study habits and practice skills in collaboration, communication and critical thinking.

  • Teachers get to know their students personally, and work as a team to identify and address concerns with academic performance, as well as social and/or emotional issues. 

Stillwater Area High School is gaining both local and national attention for its successful BARR program. 

  • In 2019-2020 the high school added a BARR 10 program to help support students as they moved into 10th grade. 

  • The school district has also been invited to work with the BARR Center to develop a possible elementary version of the program. Lake Elmo Elementary fifth grade teachers are participating in a Think Tank for this purpose.


Read more about BARR:

District continues to raise BARR to support students, September 27, 2019

Governor visits Stillwater to celebrate social/emotional learning, April 11, 2019

Making it harder for ninth graders to slip through the cracks, December 13, 2017

Raising the BARR to make a large school feel small, May 26, 2017