Building Assets Reducing Risks

BARR (Building Assets, Reducing Risks) is a proven model that improves the education system predicated on two pillars – relationships and data. It is designed to create strong schools and communities by empowering students, teachers, and families with data, so that schools can re-align existing resources to nurture a unified and personalized culture of support and success for every student, both inside and outside of the classroom. BARRs mission is to create equitable schools so that every student, regardless of race, ethnicity, or economic status has access to a high-quality education where adults know them, recognize their strengths, and help them succeed. The BARR model uses eight interlocking strategies that build intentional relationships, utilize real-time data, and enable schools to achieve concrete academic, social and emotional outcomes for each and every student:

  1. Focus on the whole student - Consider academic, social, emotional, and physical needs of students
  2. Provide professional development for teachers, counselors, and administrators - Learn how a strong student-teacher relationship can improve student performance and achievement
  3. Engage students and foster a climate for learning by using BARR's I-Time Curriculum - Develop social and emotional skills in addition to other life skills including communication and goal setting. Explore relevant topics, such as bullying, grief, and substance use
  4. Create cohorts of students - Develop a structure that provides stability and connection among students and teachers
  5. Hold regular meetings of the cohort teacher teams - Asses student progress and discuss academic and non-academic factors that may be impacting performance
  6. Conduct Risk Review meetings - Identify and provide additional support to highest-risk students
  7. Engage families in student learning - Communicate with parents or guardians and increase their involvement in student progress
  8. Engage administrators - Learn how to effectively implement the BARR Model to meet specific school needs.

This program is approved for WV Expanded School Mental Health.

Last reviewed: 2023

Intended Outcomes:

Building Assets, Reducing Risks (BARR) is a school-based program that is designed to impact the school community by improving teachers' abilities to relate to and support their students; increasing students' engagement in learning, achievement scores, and graduation rates; and decreasing academic failure and use of alcohol and other drugs. BARR's effects on students:
  • More credit hours earned
  • Stronger effects on students of color, students in poverty, males
  • Narrows opportunity gap
  • Stronger effects on struggling students
  • Decreased behavior issues
  • Greater rigor and expectations, supportive relationships, engagement
  • Increased attendance
  • Increase in Math and ELA achievement test scores
BARR's effects on teachers:
  • More effective use of data
  • Teacher assumptions
  • Increased collaboration and improved view of colleagues
  • Teacher observations
  • Increase in self-efficacy
  • Improved view of school's support
BARR's effects on schools:
  • Increase in AP and IB courses
  • Upward mobility of BARR teachers and administrators
  • Part of national dialogue about education
  • Works in all school sizes, locations, and types of schools
  • Financial savings-fewer remedial courses offered
  • Improved school climate
  • Energizing of veteran teachers, and support for new teachers
  • Increased graduation rate

Continuum of Care:
Universal Prevention

Topic Areas:
Anxiety, Behavioral Health/Mental Health, Depression, Disruptive Behaviors, Intellectual Disabilities, Physical Health, Substance Use, Trauma

Childhood (4-12), Teen/Adolescent (13-18)

Geographic Locations:
Rural, Urban

Delivery Settings:

Cultural Considerations:
Significant and well-articulated attention was given to disparities in outcomes

This program is for students who are in 6th to 12th grade, teachers, school counselors, mental health specialists, administrators, and parents.

Licensed teacher


Is Training Required?
Yes, see developer info

Who can provide the required training?
Participating schools would purchase BARR's foundational package for educators, called Breakthrough. Breakthrough includes access to: Dedicated BARR Coach with Four On-Site Visits in Year One and Three in Years Two and Three Annual Needs Analysis Bi-Annual Student & Teacher Surveys Basecamp (Comprehensive LMS) North Star (Organizational Tool) Ongoing BARR Trainings/Professional Development Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) Communications Support BARR Network

Program Costs (materials, training, etc.):
Yes, refer to program website

Program/Practice Website:

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research:

Corsello, M., & Sharma, A. (2015). The Building Assets-Reducing Risks Program: Replication and Expansion of an Effective Strategy to Turn Around Low-Achieving Schools. i3 Development Grant. Final Report. Retrieved from

Borman, T. H., Bos, J. M., O’Brien, B. C., Park, S. J., & Liu, F. (2018). i3 BARR validation study impact findings: Cohorts 1 and 2. Washington, DC: American Institutes for Research. Retrieved from

Bos, J. M., Dhillon, S. Borman, T. (2019). Building Assets and Reducing Risks (BARR) Validation Study Final Report. American Institutes of Research. Washington, DC.

Bos, J., Graczewski, C., Dhillon, S., Auchstetter, A., Casasanto-Ferro, J., and Kitmitto, S. (2022) Building Assets and Reducing Risks (BARR) I3 Scale-Up Evaluation. Retrieved from

Additional Sources:

Supported By Research

WV Rating:
Supported by Research
»WV Ratings Info

Rationale for Rating:

Substantial research exists across a large number of high school sites across diverse cultural and socio-economic settings. When implemented with fidelity, academic outcomes were significant. To achieve well-supported status, we would like to see studies outside the high school age range with focus on more consistent outcomes. Outcomes tended to vary per research study with some limited in randomization, which is typical of school-based prevention programming. As with all programs, BARR needs to be implemented with full model fidelity to be effective. (One study noted that a lack of fidelity to full implementation resulted in negative outcomes.)

Contraindications or Concerns:
None noted in sites that implemented with full program fidelity.

Other Registries/Ratings

The California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare:
Not On Registry

Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development:
Not On Registry

Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness:
Unclear +

Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Model Programs Guide:
Not On Registry

Washington State Institute for Public Policy:
Not On Registry