Symposia and Outcome-Based Clubs
To supplement curricula and promote student leadership, Barrack students participate in several biennial conferences organized and run by 12th-grade student leaders. An important part of the Barrack student experience for decades, these half-day conferences feature well-known keynote speakers and several breakout sessions that are led by alumni, Barrack parents, and community members. Breakout sessions often feature a hands-on component to foster in-depth learning. Students choose which breakout sessions to attend based on their personal interests. Our conferences extend the learning from the classroom to real world situations and help to foster educated, global citizens who strive to make a difference in our world.
The Annenberg High School Science Symposium is a highly selective program designed to raise the level of scientific and medical discourse among high school students in the Delaware Valley. Composed of a subset of students from the 9th grade Honors Biology course, Barrack annually participates in on-site symposia at The Annenberg Medical Center at Lankenau Medical Center with a year-end presentation at Bryn Mawr Hospital. With the support of mentors, students delve into a current medical topic chosen by participants investigating technology and its bioethical considerations. Topics vary year to year.
Students engage in research, delve into ethical discussions, and are asked to create an artistic representation of the subject. Students may film a video, create a dramatic scene, or illustrate a graphic novel to make the facts and nuances of the medical advancement. Presentations are made to a panel of judges, physicians, and peer schools in the spring.
DECA is an organization that helps students gain experience in the fields of marketing, finance, and business management. Students work together to prepare for local DECA competitions where they demonstrate their presentation, organization, and writing skills. Students successful at the local level can progress to regional and state competitions. DECA encourages students’ creativity and independence and is a great way for students to develop business savvy.
Pennsylvania high school students compete in district and regional levels of the Statewide Mock Trial Competition sponsored by the Pennsylvania Bar Association Young Lawyers Division. During the competition, eight-member student teams are given the opportunity to argue both sides of a case in an actual courtroom before a judge.
Students, who play the roles of lawyers, witnesses, plaintiffs, and defendants, are assisted by teachers and advising lawyers in preparing for competition. Lawyers and community leaders serve as jurors for the mock trials. Juries determine the winners in each trial based on the teams' abilities to prepare their cases, present arguments, and follow court rules. Students participating in Mock Trial gain a working knowledge of our justice system, presentation, critical thinking, teamwork skills, and dispute-resolution techniques.
Barrack students participate in the annual Moot Beit Din competition vying against more than twenty Jewish day schools from across the US and Canada. Students in the Moot Beit Din Club receive a hypothetical case that they research and rule on as a court on behalf of the "Moot Beit Din of B'nei Barrack.” Past cases have raised issues of whether teachers can form unions and strike for better pay, whether a person can be compelled to donate their bone marrow to save a dying stranger, and what a person can claim copyright protection for under Jewish law. Up to four students are selected to attend the competition where they present and defend Barrack’s decision before a panel of judges. The competition is held in a different city each year. The program is excellent preparation for law school Moot Court proceedings while infusing students' decision-making with Jewish values.
Every year, Barrack juniors and seniors in the STEAM Institute participate in Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics, and Science (TEAM+S), an annual competition designed to help students discover their potential for engineering.
During this day-long competition, students apply math and science knowledge in practical, creative ways to solve real-world engineering challenges. Barrack students placed first in the regional competition this year as well as last year and this year both the 9th/10th and 11th/12th teams placed in the top five nationally.
Each year, Barrack’s World Affairs Club participates in an international student summit run by the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia at the Fox Business School facility at Temple University.
The summits present opportunities for students to learn about the socioeconomic and political issues that face specific countries as they develop an understanding of international affairs. Summit topics have included the crisis in the Horn of Africa, cyberwarfare in the South China Sea, and NATO’s response to Russian expansionism. Students have an opportunity to interact with both experts and their peers as they develop leadership skills and gain global awareness. Student delegates and leaders have been recognized for excellence by the Philadelphia World Affairs Council, and some of our students have been inspired to study and contribute in the field of international relations.