City Council District #1 Debate Initiative

Our Mission

Every school in District 1 should have a debate team. Every student in District 1 should have access to the best debate education opportunities. Debate is one of the best academic programs to prepare students for college, career, and civic success.


District #1 Tournaments Hosted


Our flagship program is our Saturday Debate Tournaments. We host debate tournaments every month during the school year and summer for high school and middle school students. Each monthly debate tournament will feature different topics including current events, economics, environmental affairs, philosophy, international politics, law and justice, and every other topic - topics traditionally not covered in school curriculums.  Students practice every academic skill preparing for these tournaments including reading, writing, researching, listening, practicing, public speaking, questioning, team work, and every other academic skill.  Academic learning time basically doubles through this out of school time program and culminates with the monthly debate tournament. At each tournament we serve over 300 students, teachers, family members and volunteers. Tournaments are all day from 7:00am-5:00pm and include breakfast, lunch, debate rounds and an awards ceremony.  Our Tournaments are free thanks to City Council support.


The New York Round Robin Debate Tournament

The top debaters of New York are invited in March to our office for a Round Robin tournament all day.


Saturday Debate Scrimmages

Every Saturday from 10am-12pm at our office at 25 Broadway we host an open debate club and center or students without debate teams and students practice at our office.


District #1 Public Debates and Weekday Debate Nights

These are public debates for the community held at our office in District #1 as well as neighboring law firms and other corporations.  Students learn about careers at the firm, opportunities for speed networking with career professionals, and are judged by a panel of policy experts on the topic they are debating.



District #1 Schools and Students Served


Half of our work is debate tournaments every Saturday. The other half of our work is how we support our teachers, schools and students through outreach and starting and sustaining debate programs in schools. We have outreach coordinators in each Borough to support schools, train teachers, provide curriculum and professional development, coordinate local debate scrimmages, year round virtual support (webinars, emails, phone calls, etc), help teachers recruit and start debate programs at their school, and anything else needed to start and sustain a successful debate team. We provide assistant coaches and volunteers to schools to support their debate programs. We have all day teacher training conferences at least four times a year.


As a result we have successfully partnered with the following schools in the district to create sustainable and successful debate programs through year round support:


Schools Served:


Leadership and Public Service High School


Leman Manhattan Preparatory School


Special Awards & Recognition:


Each year, District #1 wins the City and State Championships. Debaters specifically from Leadership and Public Service High School are always in the top ten including national circuit tournaments such as Harvard University, Yale University and other national tournaments.



Other District #1 Debate Programs

  • Debate Club @ District #1’s Charging Bull We Work Office  (25 Broadway, NY, NY, 10004). District 1 students are able to participate in our debate programs. We have a Debate Club that serves students without debate teams at their schools.
  • Our Office.  All our staff, office, programming and professional development for teachers takes place at our office at 25 Broadway, Teach for America, 12th Floor.
  • Girls Debate League Workshops. These District #1 workshops are open to all middle school and high school young women. These workshops and tournaments are completely free. We host these at least four times a year at our office at 25 Broadway and New York University. 

           Girls Debate League Workshop #1 (9/26/17): Click here for Photo Album.  

  • Debate Educator Conferences.  We host these in District #1 four times a year for educators across the city to learn about debate. These are all day workshops on a Chancellors Professional Development day where new debate educators receive training, curriculum and support to start and sustain debate teams at their schools. These are open to anyone in the community in District #1 and are free. 
  • NYC Travel Team Practices. These are held once a month in District #1 at our office for debaters across the city who are Varsity level debaters (in their 2nd, 3rd or 4th year of high school debate.)  Students receive scholarships to to travel and compete at the nation’s top tournaments including Yale University, Princeton University, Harvard University, Columbia University, Georgetown University, Rutgers University and other top tournaments across the nation.
  • Monthly Workshops. These workshops take place once a month at our office in District #1 and are open to all students and the general topic on the monthly nationwide debate topics. Topics include gun control, environmental affairs, international relations, US economic reform, Sports & Health, Law & Justice and other topics in current events.