City Council District #24 Debate Initiative
Every school should have a debate team. Every student 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.
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.
Girls Debate League Tournaments:
We host the Girls Debate League Tournaments at the Young Women’s Leadership School of Queens. Traditionally, there is a substantial gender gap in debate participation between males and females which increases in the higher grades especially in college. The Girls Debate League was founded by our alumnae to address the gender gap in debate as well as to empower our female debaters through workshops, Youth Leadership Council, and other programming. Each tournament serves over 100 high school and middle school young women, volunteers, teachers and community members.
District 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:
District Schools Served:
PS/IS 499 - The Queens College School for Math, Science and Technology
The Young Women's Leadership School of Queens
Other District Debate Programs
Debate Club. All District students are able to participate in our debate programs for free. We have a Debate Club that serves students without debate teams at their schools.
Middle School Quality Initiative (MSQI) Partnership. The New York City Urban Debate League (NYCUDL) partners up with the NYC Department of Education to boost middle school literacy skills through curricular and extra curricular debate.