City Council District #4 Debate Initiative

Our Mission

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.


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.


District #4 Summer Debate Tournament

For the past 5 years, each summer we hosted the District 4 Summer Debate Tournament in July open to all community members, students and summer debate participants. This is a two day debate tournament.  One day being our middle school debate tournament. And the other day being our all Girls Debate Tournament.


Tournament Photo Album:


Website Landing Page of the Tournament:


Tournament Results Page:

Girls Summer Debate Tournament.

In partnership with Hunter College and the Bella Abzug Leadership Institute we work with over 100 high school, college and middle school students in a 2-3 week debate and leadership program that is free for all students. This summer program culminates with our Summer Girls Debate Institute Tournament.



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:


Schools Served:


Hunter College


Hunter High School

Our staff coaches at Hunter High School and Middle School and debaters in the district are among the top debaters in our middle school and high school division.


Special Awards & Recognition:


We host the largest summer debate institute in the nation in District #4 serving over 200 students in middle school, high school and elementary school.



Other District Debate Programs


Debate Club.   All students are able to participate in our debate programs. We have a Debate Club that serves students without debate teams at their schools. 


Middle School Summer Debate Institute. We host a free summer debate institute at Hunter College very summer for 2 weeks.  Each year from 2014 over 100 students participate in this debate institute.

Girls Summer Debate Institute. In partnership with the Bella Abzug Leadership Institute we work with over 100 high school, college and middle school students in a 2-3 week debate and leadership program that is free for all students.