Bobcat Sue Brown builds assets and reduces risks at Hamilton High

Diane Sieker photo

Hamilton High School in Anza has a new Bobcat named Sue Brown. Although she has been around the district since 1988, she is new to our site. We feel privileged to have her at our school, leading the BARR team.

We asked Mrs. Brown to explain the importance of BARR, which stands for “Building Assets and Reducing Risks,” and what it does to help the success of the students at Hamilton High School.

“BARR is a ninth grade promotion program,” Brown said. “It started over 20 years ago in Minnesota. It was developed by a ninth grade counselor who realized that almost all of the freshmen were failing one or more of their classes. So we focus on building relationships and focus on real data like pulling grades every week to see how students are doing.”

The BARR program has been at Hamilton High School for five years. According to last year’s data, the program has shown to be successful at lowering the freshman failure rate – that is, students who have one or more failing grade.

Before BARR started the freshman failure rate was in the 50th percentile, Brown said.

“It’s the lowest it’s ever been, and last year we ended at 13%, one of the lowest failure rates across the nation,” Brown said.

We later asked her why she chose to come to Hamilton High School.

“For five years I have been coming up here for one day a week and working with the BARR team, and every time I came up here I would say ‘If I came back to a campus, Hamilton is where I would want to be.’ I love the setting; I love the vibe of the whole campus,” Brown said.

We are so grateful to have such a passionate BARR coordinator who cares about the success of the students, especially freshmen.