Educators from Around the Country Meet in Bucksport for BARR Program Conference 

BARR stands for building assets, reducing risks.The program is being used at four high schools in the U.S. to improve interaction between freshmen and teachers.Bucksport High School was one of the schools selected.”We had really interested and winning leadership that were kind of willing to be invested and a staff that was kind of able to participate in, too. It’s very heavily working with a lot of evaluators and, quite frankly, kind of the enthusiasm to try something new to really improve the students success,” said Angela Jerabek, BARR Project Manager with Search Institute in Minneapolis.Educators from the other three high schools traveled to Bucksport to discuss the program.The main goal is starting student success right out of the gate in high school. “If you don’t do well in 9th grade, the odds of you not doing well in high school are much, much higher,” said Jerabek.It seems to be making a difference in Bucksport.”Last fall when we opened the program with students in the first two weeks of school and did our first grade check, we had 53 failing students in our freshman class failing one or more classes. Whoa! That was the beginning of work with those students. In two weeks that number was down to 26. By the end of the quarter, it was down to 17,” said Maryanne Mytar, an english teacher and BARR Coordinator at Bucksport High School.”I think it was really helpful because you got a study hall and your teachers were all here to help,” said sophomore Sarra Bridges.”It helps you a lot to get through high school, your freshman year, really easily,” said sophomore Matthew Stewart.”Use all the different opportunities you can use and just try your hardest. I really liked it, I thought it made transitioning from eighth grade to my freshman year really easy,” said sophomore Abigail Bohleng.Those are exactly the results educators are looking for.”The most important thing I see is the amazing opportunity for teachers to work together. I think students truly, quickly figured out that last year and again this year, that teachers are talking about them in a very positive way and that we know our students very well,” said Mytar.With hopes for that success to continue well after graduation.”So, when they graduate high school, they’re really able to kind of go into the workforce, go into society, you know kind of with these skills with the accumulating credits, as well as kind of working socially and emotionally with others around them,” said Jerabek.