FARGO - BARR, or Building Assets, Reducing Risks, is a program used by school districts around the country.

South Fargo High School is the first to try it in North Dakota.

The program is designed to develop freshmen students and help prepare them for future success by keeping them together for core classes while keeping a strong focus to help them develop personally and socially.

One way that's done is through a unique aspect to BARR, called I-Time.

"It's really just a time to pause on the academics and build on the personal social skills of students, create relationships between students to students, students to staff, and even staff to staff," said Dr. Shannon Mortrud, vice principal of Fargo South High School.

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These are social and emotional activities where students are placed into groups at random so they can form a variety of connections.

These interactions can build relationships vital to the high school experience.

"We think that those relationships if they're created quicker, there's just a lot more buy into high school. Kids are able to access resources and get involved in our community quicker," said Dr. Mortrud.

While I-Time and close-knit class communities are a big part of the school's development efforts, the program required much more behind-the-scenes work by teachers.

"A lot of it actually happens on the back end where teachers were honoring their time to meet, they're talking about students, were catching them early, providing interventions, you know, contacting home, all of those things in a more organized fashion," said Dr. Mortrud.

Though it's only the first year in the program, Dr. Mortrud says teachers are doing a great job, students have responded well and the program will help keep the school more of a community going forward, which she hopes will improve graduation rates moving forward.