Conferences

Registration Details

Join the National Speech & Debate Association in Denver, Colorado, for the inaugural national education conference for speech and debate with our gracious hosts Cherry Creek High School and the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA). Attendees can earn up to 20 hours of professional development as well as possible graduate credit hours!

Register by July 1, 2017!

The 2017 conference is open to all coaches and district leaders interested in speech and debate education. The cost to attend is $249 for members and $349 for non-members.

Note: The registration fee is non-refundable after March 3, 2017. All registration forms must be completed and payment received by July 1, 2017, to guarantee your spot at the conference.

If you plan to stay at the Hilton Garden Inn Denver Tech Center Hotel, be sure to book your room by August 3, 2017, using Group Code NSD.

Note: Member coaches, you must be logged in to receive the member rate. If you have any questions, please contact Steve Schappaugh.

Special Thanks to Our Planning Committee:

Martha Benham (CO)

Don Crabtree (MO)

Pam McComas (KS)

Steve Meadows (KY)

Renee Motter (CO)

Jay Rye (AL)

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Schedule Overview

Note: Schedule is tentative and subject to change. More details coming soon!

THURSDAY
August 24

6:00 p.m. reception
7:00 p.m. opening dinner and keynote at Hilton Garden Inn Denver Tech Center

FRIDAY
August 25

Full day of sessions at Hilton Garden Inn Denver Tech Center

SATURDAY
August 26

Full day of sessions at Cherry Creek High School

SUNDAY
August 27

Morning sessions at Cherry Creek High School

Session Previews

More than 40 proposals have been accepted for the inaugural speech and debate education conference. Check them out below!

Argumentation and Rhetoric: A Gateway to a Limitless World

Presenters: Renee Motter, Air Academy High School, Colorado, and Pam McComas, NSDA Board Member, Kansas

Literacy is the key to expanding our students’ world. Argumentation and rhetoric are fundamental components in advancing this goal to prepare students to become responsible global citizens. Language arts teachers must promote the communication and rhetorical arts. Students have to critically understand a plethora of information to determine the argument(s) being made by a speaker or an author and decide on the legitimacy and sound logic of same. One challenge facing educators is how to get students to demonstrate competency and still be creative in this rhetorical process. In an interactive format, these presenters will utilize a variety of techniques and best practices: using close reading strategies to determine the author’s argument(s), utilizing effective rhetorical devices in developing arguments, and making, writing, and presenting these arguments in a creative manner. By using a variety of resources, the presenters will illustrate the use of rhetorical devices in argumentative discourse and testing the validity of evidence in support of these argument(s).

Being an Educator of Significance: 21 Keys to Character and Leaders in the Classroom and Beyond

Presenter: Jill Lofald, Duluth Denfeld and East High Schools, Minnesota

Coaches are the most significant people in students lives. Knowing the impact we have on our students, what steps do we take to educate ourselves on how to be the best coach possible. We will go through a series of questions like: Why do you coach? What does it feel like to be coached by you? How do you coach? How do you define success in your coaching?How intentional is your coaching? We will unwrap the five stages of coaching and finally talk about the steps in teaching character (in our students and our coaching staff) through competitive speech and debate.

Bridging the Gap: Establishing Successful Curricular and Co-Curricular Opportunities in an Urban District

Presenter: Manuel Halkias, Canton McKinley High School, Ohio

As a 30-year veteran coach of speech and debate in an urban high school, Manuel Halkias’ hope is to shed some light as to how speech and debate can be brought into the classroom. He teaches advanced levels of English, AP Seminar, and competitive speech, and he builds the skills learned in this amazing activity into the curriculum. He hopes to share his experience with this and give insight as to how to further include the skills developed in our activity in our own classrooms and in other classrooms in our schools. They fit perfectly!

The Coaches Code of Ethics: Aren’t We the Adults?

Presenter: Jay Rye, The Montgomery Academy, Alabama

This presentation will cover the Coaches Code of Ethics, including the rationale for the code, how the code was developed, and what served as the foundation for the code. After the presentation, there will be a general discussion among the attendees about the Coaches Code of Ethics.

Congressional Debate Across the Curriculum

Presenter: Jay Stubbs, Bellaire High School, Texas

Congressional Debate has more applications than the competitive speech and debate tournament. This session will explore how the skills learned in Congressional Debate (including legislative writing, research, speech construction, and refutation) can be applied to other parts of the school curriculum (social studies, language arts, etc.).

Controlling the Chaos

Presenter: David Huston, Colleyville Heritage High School, Texas

Many of us are expected to not only teach regular classes, but also manage multiple events within a classroom. This session will give practical lessons on how to juggle all of those things and still keep your sanity.

Critical Linkages: From High School, to College, to Career

Presenters: Kevin Minch and Massey Hammons, Truman State University, Missouri

Forensic education at the high school and college levels should not be viewed as isolated endeavors, but rather as a pathway of education and community building that incrementally prepares students for advancement intellectually and socially. Practicing educators face the immediate concern of creating meaningful relationships between students and coaches at both levels that can be mutually beneficial while preparing students for collegiate experiences, should they elect to pursue them. Additionally, one of the strongest arguments in a forensic educator’s arsenal, when advocating for their program, is to make connections to college and career readiness objectives—particularly in the present political and budgetary climate. This session approaches the goal of common community in forensic education from two perspectives: that of building relationships between high school and college teams, and that of using the high school experience to advance the longer term goals of college and career readiness.

Debate: A Model of Effective Argumentation Instruction

Presenters: Heather Walters, Missouri State University, and Kristen Stout, Greenwood Laboratory School and Crowder College

This panel is for any instructor who teaches or is interested in teaching courses in argumentation at the high school or college level, as well as for any debate coach who would like to learn more about how debate can provide a practical mechanism for introducing argumentation theory concepts to students. The presenters will discuss the format and structure of an argumentation course that uses debates as a base activity, as well as how argumentation theory informs debate practice at all levels. The goal is increasing knowledge for students on what constitutes an effective argument as part of a conversation on how debate education can improve critical thinking skills and the quality of civil discourse in society.

Developing a Champion Oratory in the Classroom and Beyond

Presenter: James Harris, Andover High School, Kansas

This session will focus on the structure and practices that go into making a nationally competitive Oratory. Discussion will center on the idea that this can be done all while competing on a local circuit with primary instruction happening in a curricular setting.

Discovering Your Voice: A Perspective on Helping Students of Color Excel in Forensics

Presenter: Dr. Tommie Lindsey, Jr., James Logan High School, California

Having had a successful 40-year career teaching a diverse population of students in the Bay Area, Dr. Lindsey has been able to develop some unique techniques for helping students be successful in forensics as well as in their lives after high school. More than 90% of his students move on to four-year colleges and have been able to carry their commitment to social justice and their dedication to service well beyond the classroom. They are only capable of doing this because they have discovered and developed their own voices in forensics and have grown to embody their team’s mantra of being “voices for the voiceless.”

The Educator as Journalist: How the Techniques of Journalism Will Transform Your Classroom Communication

Presenter: Bob Ickes, Leland High School, California

After a nationally recognized high school speech career, Bob Ickes used the deadline-management, research, and oratorical skills he learned in Extemporaneous Speaking and Original Oratory to forge a 30-year career in print journalism and book publishing. He has written for and/or edited at The New York Times, Newsweek, New York Magazine, Vogue, Details, Brill Media, and Inside.com, and has profiled Tom Stoppard, Tony Kushner, Paul Simon, Christopher Durang, Glenn Close, Sigourney Weaver, Samuel L. Jackson, and Audra McDonald, among many others. Bob never lost touch with his NSDA roots, and in the past five years alone, he has coached 30 qualifiers to the National Tournament in Original Oratory. In this seminar, he will explain how he has used career lessons to help those students and the 100 orators he coaches every year for Summit Debate and InterProd. Bob will also demonstrate how teachers can best inspire students to channel their communication skills into media careers. More important, he will produce a variety of teaching tools to empower educators to use the fundamentals of journalism—interviewing, researching, sourcing, point of view—to better know, understand, and motivate their students in the classroom.

Elevating Achievement: Maximizing Your Squad for Both In-State and NSDA Competition

Presenter: Adam J. Jacobi, Wisconsin High School Forensic Association

Before students can register for NSDA district tournaments, they must earn points participating in local contests. This underscores the important relationship between state associations and the NSDA. However, event rules, judging standards, and contest protocols don’t always align, plus a squad of diverse ability levels and interests in competition can leave a coach with much to balance. This session will showcase best practices of developing squad competition philosophies, using tools like NSDA merit points, degrees, and rankings to motivate students, and approaches to goal-setting and measured attitudes with students of varying success.

Ending the Debate: Evaluating Student Responses to Changing Incentive Structures

Presenters: Jonathon Shapiro, American University, Adam J. Jacobi, Wisconsin High School Forensic Association, and Anna K. Weixel, Michigan State University

There’s no golden formula for making a strong debate performance, but too often coaches and camps stress finding one strategy as a path to success. This session focuses on how to teach students to adapt their style to variations in the rules and methods of adjudication for Congressional Debate. We take participants through different variations of Congress and similar competitions, and then lead them through a few exercises that can be implemented in their programs back home to help their students expand their toolbox.

Engaging Students Over the Long Term

Presenters: Sandra J. Berkowitz, Ph.D., and R. Shane Stafford, The Blake School, Minnesota

Developing students’ critical thinking and critical communication skills through classes and extracurricular activities is more important than ever. Often as teachers and coaches, we work with students through four years in high school and, in some instances, over seven years if we have students beginning in middle school. In this session, we discuss ways to track student progress and development through the use of rubrics, videos, and collaborative technologies, which allows students, teachers, coaches, and even parents to understand and critically evaluate the evolution of argumentation, style, and delivery.

Ensuring Access to Speech and Debate for Students with Disabilities

Presenter: Thomas Mayes, J.D., Iowa Department of Education

This session will review federal laws that require schools to provide students with disabilities an equal opportunity for participation in extracurricular and nonacademic activities. Mayes will explain how those laws apply to speech and debate competitors with disabilities, and the support that schools and associations may be obligated to provide.

Envisioning a New Standard for Speech, Debate, and Communication Education

Presenters: David A. Yastremski, Ridge High School, New Jersey, and James Weaver, National Federation of State High School Associations

Over the past several decades, many organizations have created standards dealing with speaking, argumentation, listening, and media literacy. For educators, such standards provide direction toward helping students, of all ages, develop their voice and confidence as communicators. On a policy level, such standards help states and school systems recognize the communication discipline as a significant, relevant, and purposeful course of study, worthy of its own identity in licensure, state/school requirements, and overall contribution to the whole child. Along with members of the National Communication Association, the International Listening Association, and the National Association for Media Literacy Education, the current standards will be reviewed, in order to consider how they currently function in our K-12 classrooms in order to raise the question whether bridging the organizations can foster and promote a new vision of communication education.

From Aristotle to 21st Century Skills: Redefining the Public Speaking Process

Presenters: David A. Yastremski, Ridge High School, New Jersey, and Harry Strong, The Potomac School, Virginia

With the advent of new technological tools and platforms, communication has evolved to new heights in the past 20 years. Schools are investing in more technology than ever and developing Bring Your Own Technology policies so teachers and students can integrate digital literacy and media into their teaching and study. This workshop will introduce various ways to incorporate cloud-based services (such as Google Drive, Docs, and Forms) along with BYOT options to help bring the art of public speaking, from design to presentation to reflection, into the 21st century.

Fundraising Opportunity: Debate Big Questions for Big Bucks

Presenters: Lauren Burdt, Katie Hines, and Steven Schappaugh, National Speech & Debate Association

Earn money for your team or classroom by hosting a new debate event, Big Questions! Do three rounds with your class, team, or tournament, and receive up to $1,700. The accessible format and flexibility in how you hold your event makes it easy to use Big Questions to fund debate competition, buy classroom materials, or introduce debate to students in a low pressure environment. Learn about the interdisciplinary topics, how your students can qualify for Nationals, and receive advice from educators on ways to integrate Big Questions into your classroom or team.

The Gender (Speech and) Debate: Gendered Microaggressions in the Forensic Community

Presenters: Harry Strong, The Potomac School, Virginia, and Richard Glover, McClintock High School, Arizona

After years of coaching strong and talented young women, Harry Strong and Richard Glover grew increasingly concerned about the problems women faced in achieving the success they desired. Equally concerning was our community failing to live up to young women’s needs and expectations. Using research conducted over three years, combined with years of coaching experience, Harry and Richard will discuss the challenges faced by young women in our community, and possible steps we can all take to make this community a place where the voices of these our amazing young women get the audience they deserve.

The “Go-To” Person

Presenters: Susan Knoblauch, Illinois High School Association, and Jan Heiteen, Downers Grove South High School, Illinois

What would your program be like if you were the person who came to mind every time someone said they need X, Y, and Z? Becoming the go-to person in your profession takes consistent, clear, and laser-focused effort. You must be bold in your beliefs and teaching, and you must be seen as a resource in your community. Sound difficult? It’s not difficult, but it takes getting a few things nailed down with crystal-clear precision and accuracy, so that people know EXACTLY what you do and who you serve.

Grace in the Lion’s Den: A Technology Empowered Confrontation of Racism

Presenters: Andy Charrier, Dr. Becky Bauer, and Marilyn Buchvold, Global Academy, Minnesota

Grace in The Lion’s Den empowers students to use technology to deconstruct racism. This project is inspired by Princeton professor Ruha Benjamin who asks, “How do we make our schools laboratories of democratic institutions for social change? Where we experiment with technologies of love, reciprocity, and justice?” Apps create multimodal learning experience that responds to what Harvard researcher Matthew Desmond calls “five fallacies of racism.” Students express themselves through photography, academic conversation, poetry, and public speaking.

Great Books Inspire Great Arguments

Presenters: Serge Danielson-Francois, Erich Heiden, and Rob Eppler, Divine Child High School, Michigan

The panel will share the coaching strategy they have pursued for their Policy and Public Forum teams over the last three years. They see every resolution as an opportunity to acquaint or re-acquaint their students with the classics of Western literature. They have used John Stuart Mill’s Considerations on Representative Government to explore elections, Cicero’s De Officiis to explore the custodial authority of the school, and Karl Popper’s Logic of Scientific Discovery to explore scientific determinism. Participants will be guided through the critical steps from Chaim Perelman’s Realm of Rhetoric to move from argumentation that insinuates self evidence to the meaningful clash of contested truths.

Holding a Debate Day at Your School

Presenter: Jeffrey Miller, Marist School, Georgia

Challenged to create a day that centered around teaching students to learn how to “agree to disagree,” Jeffrey Miller created an Informed Discourse Day for the upperclass students at his school. The day focused around social justice and challenged all students to engage in discussions, dialogue, and debate. After completing this successful day, he realized this is something that could be modeled at any school across the country. The day not only had non-debaters learn about a social justice issue and engage in a topic they wouldn’t in their core classes, but it also offered the student body a spotlight on the members of the speech and debate program.

How to Use Technology to Foster a Cohesive Speech and Debate Team

Presenters: Dontae Hill, Brookfield East High School, Wisconsin, and Julie Roos, Canyon Springs High School, Nevada

It’s 2017, yet a lot of us are still coaching like it’s 1984. Whether you’re a veteran or this is your first year coaching, you’ve probably asked, “What can I do to make this the best season ever?” There are myriad things one can do to accomplish that goal, but Dontae Hill and Julie Roos are here to tell you about the ones that speak to them the most. In this session, you’ll learn how to take that smartphone in your pocket and turn it into the assistant coach you’ve been begging your school to give you the budget for. In this session, you’ll see how to use everything from Snapchat to Unhangouts and Edmodo to connect with your team. So, before you do something that might give your devices a virus, learn how to use technology to foster a cohesive speech and debate team.

International Best Practices: Strategies for Teaching Debate to First and Second Language Learners

Presenters: Randall Martinez, Christopher Columbus High School, Florida; Claire Sagstuen, Bulgarian English Speech Tournament (BEST) Foundation and Ekzarh Yosif I FLS; and Al Schleicher, Los Angeles Leadership Academy, California

The world of debate is much closer than we initially think. From Latin America to Europe, what is successful in the squad room? Our colleagues across the globe are using debate as a pedagogical tool for teaching students at every language level. This interactive session will provide participants with international strategies to teach debate to all language learners. Come to this session to find out what teachers are doing to move their students toward mastery, and the available opportunities to reach within and across borders.

Interp: Bringing Characters to Life

Presenters: Joe and Pam Wycoff, Apple Valley High School, Minnesota

This session will address the basics of oral interpretation, not only as they apply to competition, but also how they apply to the inner workings of effective interpersonal (even intrapersonal) communication. Bringing characters to life means that we bring meaningful communication to life—and with that comes an understanding of the power and potential of both verbal and non-verbal communication. Understanding Interp skills and creating believable characters transcends the competitive realm. One becomes more than a good performer: each person becomes a master storyteller, a teacher of didactic messages that are creative, relevant, and transferable to many personal and pragmatic walks of life. Joe and Pam believe in the power of the spoken word—the power of words and honest emotions and discernible truths—and how “Interp” and “character building” are valuable building blocks to create some real latitude in the Communication Process of Speaker, Message, Listener, and Feedback. This session will be from one teacher to another; it will focus on offering a differentiated learning style that just might turn the light bulb on for some kids.

Investigating and Addressing Gender Differences in Debate

Presenter: Shuntá Jordan, Pace Academy, Georgia

In this interactive session, participants will investigate gender differences in speech and debate. By understanding the issues faced by students in the classroom and debate spaces, participants will reflect on how actions and inaction foster and perpetuate beliefs of gender inequality and in response, come up with solutions to better serve all students.

NFHS Services and Opportunities

Presenters: Kevin Minch, Truman State University, and James Weaver, National Federation of State High School Associations

Beginning in 1977, the National Federation of State High School Associations took over leadership of the national Policy Debate topic selection process after more than 50 years of management by the National University Continuing Education Association (now UPCEA). Since that time, with the help of representatives from the NSDA, NCFL, NDCA, and most active debate states, the process for selecting the annual debate topic has become increasingly refined and efficient. Yet recruiting new authors and expanding participation in the process remains a challenge. This session aims to enhance participants’ understanding of the topic selection process while informing the community about steps they can take to participate as authors, reviewers, and/or state delegates.

Researching the Activity: What Factors, Detractors, and Elaborators Need to Do

Presenters: Dr. J. Scott Baker, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, and Adam J. Jacobi, Wisconsin High School Forensic Association

In 2015, two national surveys were conducted as part of a dissertation at Texas A&M University. 434 coaches completed the first survey, which addresses the lived experiences of coaches: impacts, educational benefits, personal sacrifices, and interactions with students during their coaching years. 1,050 alumni completed the second survey, which addresses the perceived influences and personal experiences of students who competed in forensic activities while in high school: academic influences, difficulties, strengths, team interactions, relationships with coaches, and benefits after graduation. This research has resulted in numerous articles over coach and alumni experiences. However, as a whole, additional research in forensic activity is needed. This session discusses results of research, articles in progress, and also what steps should be taken to continue research in forensics as a community.

Riding the Zombie Wave: Apocalyptic Strategies for Advancing Argumentation Skills

Presenters: Kevin Minch and Jared Young, Truman State University, and Tyler Unsell, Park Hill High School, Missouri

The panelists will explore three aspects of the Zombie Scholars Academy curriculum that can be deployed in teachers’ own classrooms. The session will begin with a brief orientation to the approach of zombies as a metaphor. The bulk of the session will be devoted to the discussion of specific strategies including: (1) The Zombie Apocalypse Survival Debate; (2) The Bug-Out Bag Survival Supply Discussion; and (3) Disaster Preparedness PUblic Service Announcement Argumentation. Copies of lesson plans derived from the programming will be shared.

Sentenced to Success: Speech and Debate as a Tool for At-Risk Youth

Presenter: Megan West, Broward County Public Schools, Florida

Now in its fifth year of implementation, the Broward County Public Schools Debate Initiative has taken its Communicators in the Classroom program to new classrooms. With the addition of three alternative high schools and two juvenile justice detention centers, the BCPS Debate Initiative is utilizing speech and debate in a whole new way—to rehabilitate at-risk youth (many of whom have been arrested/sentenced to time in special facilities). This session will provide an inside look into the newest chapter of this special program with takeaways that can benefit ANY coach to help ALL students struggling with grades, discipline issues, and/or real life consequences.

Speech 1: A Trimester Course Aligned to the Common Core

Presenter: Steve Meadows, Danville High School, Kentucky

Based on his thoughts and observations from 26 years of teaching, Steve Meadows will walk teachers and coaches through the units he teaches in his Speech 1 course. Included will be a daily lesson plan calendar, all handouts and descriptions of books and videos used (many from the NSDA website), and a chart showing which Common Core standards each unit seeks to serve (all serve multiple standards). He will also include his personal rationale for the sequence of courses and how they serve the psychology of the development of beginning speakers as they cope with stage fright (practical tips like when they talk to the chalkboard versus talking to an audience, when they move out from behind tables, etc.).

Speech and Debate as Transformative Community Engagement

Presenters: Jeff Joseph, Kent Denver School, Colorado, and Ashely Murphy, Unionville High School, Pennsylvania

This panel will focus on the role of speech and debate in teaching kids skills that transcend the classroom and the tournament and create connections with their communities. The speakers will explore the ways that speech and debate is transforming the way we engage with our communities as well as the way we can use debate as a tool for transformative dialogue and change in society. The goal of this seminar is to give debate teachers and coaches materials and tools to demonstrate the need for speech and debate as part of the curriculum and to market speech and debate to administrators, school boards, parents, and kids. Additionally, this panel will teach ways that kids can use their speech and debate skills to create community connection and engagement. Whether it is by starting a mentoring program within a team or by hosting a local debate watch, speech and debate teams are able to use the skills that they are practicing to enrich their environments.

To Be or Not To Be: That is Debatable!

Presenters: Mary Gormley, Montville High School, New Jersey, and Jeff Stutzman, Concord High School, Indiana

Problem solving when approaching and interpreting a complex text such as Hamlet by William Shakespeare can be daunting. The purposes of the activity to be presented is to identity the rhetoric and subtext of the text, as well as implement primary and secondary sources, that validate or invalidate the argument, Resolved: Hamlet is mad. This presentation will explore an alternative, nontraditional approach to research and analysis as an effective means of exploring the social, political, and psychological implications of Hamlet’s behavior. Through debate, participants will demonstrate a more comprehensive understanding of the psyche of the tragic hero. Alternate resolution: Had he lived, Hamlet would have been a king “most royal.”

Title I Schools: Rural or Urban, from Surviving to Thriving

Presenters: Dr. J. Scott Baker, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse; Victoria Beard, Spring Woods High School, Texas; and Grant Thomas, Strive Prep – Smart Academy, Colorado

Is speech and debate thriving or just surviving in Title I schools? This session will focus on both rural and urban Title I schools and the unique obstacles they face in sustaining programs. The panel will present helpful tools and tricks for coaches at Title I schools looking to grow their programs as well as useful information for coaches and district committee members hoping to support the teams in their district.

Understanding Strategies for Teaching Common Philosophical Text

Presenter: Jim Dornan, Longmont High School, Colorado

This session will give a layman’s explanation of common Lincoln-Douglas philosophical positions with suggestions on how to teach them to your debaters so they will become active participants in critical thinking in the activity.

Using Extemporaneous Speaking Strategies to Elevate AP Writing Scores in AP History and AP English

Presenters: Dario Camara and Jenny Cook, Summit Debate, Florida

The best practices for garnering success in Extemporaneous Speaking can now be used to take your students in AP classes to the next level. By teaching students how to answer and develop an extemporaneous speech on AP topic areas and short answer questions, you give them an edge not only on timed writing strategies but on mastering critical thinking skills. This workshop session will present lesson plans and collaborative teaching strategies designed to promote success in AP throughout the year and boost scores at the end!

Using Technology to Benefit Your Speech and Debate Team

Presenters: Ian Panchèvre, Prepd, and Andrew Dolberg, Champion Briefs

Modern technology has the potential to revolutionize speech and debate. In this panel discussion, Ian Panchèvre (Founder of Prepd) and Andrew Dolberg (President of Champion Briefs) discuss existing tools designed specifically for our community and explore new ways that debate-specific resources can be integrated into the classroom. This panel will include an open Q&A session, allowing audience members to explain their technological needs and find possible solutions to bolster the educational outlooks of our students. By attending this workshop, you’ll play an integral part in shaping the future of speech and debate technology.

Welcome to My World: Developing a Partnership with Your Principal

Presenters: Byron Arthur and Dr. Joseph Murry, Jr., Holy Cross School, Louisiana

Attendees will have an opportunity to hear the story of how a coach introduced the activity and made the principal an advocate of the program in the building. Topics include ways to educate the administrator about the peculiarities of the activity; motivating the administrator to support the program financially; how to justify expanding a coaching staff through the traditional hiring process; the expectation of the school administrator; and ways to develop communication and trust between the coach and administrator.

What is Policy Debate? No, It Isn’t That Complex

Presenter: Shawn Briscoe, St. Louis Urban Debate League, Missouri

This session introduces new coaches and educators to the Policy Debate format. Contrary to popular opinion, Policy Debate is an incredibly simple format with sound pedagogical structures that promote learning. In this session, the presenter uses a straightforward approach to introduce coaches and educators to the concepts at the heart of Policy Debate.

Timeline for Presenters

Thanks to everyone who applied to be a presenter. We look forward to sharing your talents in Denver! Below is the timeline for reviewing and accepting proposals.

August 15, 2016: Submission proposal opens.

November 1, 2016: Submissions due.

November 2, 2016 through February 1, 2017: Community reviews submissions.

February 1 through February 15, 2017: Schedule created with accepted presentations.

February 15, 2017: Presenters are notified.

March 1, 2017: Conference schedule announced.

Making the Case to Attend

We can’t wait for you to join us at the inaugural speech and debate education conference!

It’s a chance to network and learn from other speech and debate educators in person—an opportunity that many don’t have access to throughout the year. We’re happy to provide the chance for you to meet face to face with each other, and with us, as we discuss innovative strategies, best practices, and much more!

We know resources are limited and administrators have to make tough budgetary decisions, and that’s why we we’ve focused on making this conference more affordable than most professional development opportunities.

If you’re ready to attend our conference but need some help convincing a decision maker at your school, we’re here to help you persuade them. After all, it’s what we do best!

Being a speech and debate teacher is a lonely job. Even at large high schools, there is usually just one teacher in that field, so collaborating and sharing materials requires us to leave our school building. Having so many fellow Lone Rangers in one place makes sharing ideas, methods, and materials much easier! It’s ironic that we who teach communication often have no one else to talk to about our field.

Steve Meadows

Danville High School, Kentucky

Getting Started: Research

Familiarize yourself with the conference sessions, cost, and events. Details can be found above!

Answer these questions:

  • Who makes professional development decisions at your school?
  • What types of funding are available for professional development (e.g., state, Title I, Title II)?
  • Does your school have a policy on attending conferences?
  • Are there members of your NSDA district or other colleagues who are planning to attend? If so, would they be interested in sharing transportation and lodging? This can be a huge cost saver!
  • Will you miss any days of school?
  • If your school can’t pay for all of the costs of attending, are you willing to cover some yourself?
  • What sessions do you plan to attend? What will you get out of them? Why are they relevant?
  • How will you share the information you learn upon your return? And when? Will you use a report, flyer, email, presentation, or activity?
  • How will your school benefit from your attending the conference?
  • How will your students benefit from your attending the conference?

What are your school’s goals? List them out.

  • Example 1 – Our school seeks to create a diverse and inclusive learning environment for all students.
  • Example 2 – Our school seeks to develop innovative creative learning practices.
  • Example 3 – We strive to foster individual student interests with quality programming and staff.

What are your school’s challenges? List them out.

    • Example 1 – We struggle to find new strategies to approach issues of inclusion.
    • Example 2 – Many staff members feel overworked and underappreciated.
    • Example 3 – We are always searching for the best way to build skills in our students that will prepare them to succeed in the workplace.

Now, consider which sessions at the conference would help your organization reach its goals and/or overcome its challenges. List out a few examples and you’ll be prepared to bring these to your administrator’s attention.

Example 1
School’s Goal: Creating a Diverse, Inclusive Learning Environment for All

Related Sessions:

  • Ensuring Access to Speech and Debate for Students with Disabilities
  • Discovering Your Voice: A Perspective On Helping Students Of Color Excel in Forensics
  • Investigating and Addressing Gender Differences in Debate
  • Grace in the Lion’s Den: A Technology Empowered Confrontation of Racism

Reaching Our Goal/Overcoming Our Challenges:
Several conference sessions will help me build an arsenal of tools to confront issues of inclusion. I will learn about existing strategies to help students use technology to confront racism through photography, academic conversation, poetry, and public speaking. These are tools that are applicable in multiple disciplines in our school, including photography, theater, English, and history courses, and I would love to share what I learn with educators in these fields. I will have the chance to investigate gender differences in speech and debate and reflect on how actions and inaction foster and perpetuate beliefs of gender inequality. This session will help me develop solutions to gender disparities in our program, and potentially other extracurriculars in our school. I’ll also learn how to make tournaments more accessible to students with disabilities and the supports our school may be obligated by federal law to supply. This will help make our speech and debate a more inclusive and accessible activity for students.

Example 2
School’s Goal: Create Innovative and Exciting Curriculum

Related Sessions:

  • Sentenced to Success: Speech and Debate as a Tool for At-Risk Youth
  • Great Books Inspire Great Arguments
  • To Be or Not To Be: That is Debatable!
  • Argumentation and Rhetoric: A Gateway to a Limitless World

Reaching Our Goal/Overcoming Our Challenges:
I will have a chance to learn how to integrate speech and debate across curriculum to create new and exciting ways to measure student comprehension. I’ll learn new strategies for building student respect and creating inclusive citizens, and ways to incorporate at-risk students into speech and debate. I’ll be exposed to new ways to address advanced materials with students and discover how to use debate as a problem solving tool when approaching a complex text and a way to discuss classic literature in the classroom. Speech and debate builds critical thinking skills, collaboration, creativity, and communication. I will leave these sessions armed with new ways to incorporate speech and debate and these critical skills into other subjects and extracurriculars, even ones you might not typically expect and I look forward to the chance to share what I learned with other educators at our school.

Cost/Benefit Analysis

Use the chart below to estimate your expenses for attending the conference.

Estimated costs of attending:

Registration $249 for members / $349 for non-members
Transportation (flight, mileage, gas, car rental, etc.)
Lodging
Meals (two lunches and one dinner included in registration cost; breakfast included at conference host hotel)


Estimated benefits of attending:

Make a rough estimate of potential savings for your school due to your attendance. Will some of these sessions teach you strategies that can save your school money in the future? Write them out and discuss this with your administrator. Be sure to account for graduate credit hours and up to 20 hours of professional development!

Make Your Case

Put your request in writing using the sample email below. Be sure to include a link to learn more about the conference and a list of available sessions.

Dear [Name],

The inaugural speech and debate education conference, organized by the National Speech & Debate Association, is August 24-27 in Denver, Colorado. The National Speech & Debate Association is the leading voice in the development of resources, competitive and ethical standards, curricular and co-curricular opportunities, and recognition systems for speech and debate. I would like to attend the conference to [your most powerful reason to attend].

The conference offers [XX] sessions that are incredibly relevant to my work as a speech and debate educator. I will have the opportunity to share strategies and learn insights from members of my field across the nation. In addition, I will have the chance to earn up to 20 hours of professional development and possible graduate credit hours.

I estimate that the cost of attending the conference is [$XXX]. The tools and strategies I will take away from the conference are well worth the investment. While the conference is specific to speech and debate education, it is clear from the session information that many of the strategies we will explore can be used across all curriculum. Following the conference, I will share the training material and tools with other staff members who can also benefit from what I’ve learned through [INSERT METHOD]. As an attendee, I will have access to all session materials following the conference.

You can see more session details at www.speechanddebate.org/conferences. I would be happy to attend any other sessions that you think would be beneficial to our school.

Thank you for considering this professional development opportunity!

Sincerely,

[Your Name]

Schedule a Meeting

When you sit down with your administrator, come prepared. Bring them a copy of the available sessions in case they didn’t have a chance to look it over and ask for feedback on the ones you’re planning to attend. There may be others of interest to them that could help push your case over the top.

Follow Up

If your administrator says yes, get started planning to attend! We can’t wait to see you. We encourage you to do a little something to thank them for their support. Be sure to create a strategy for how you’ll share what you learned upon your return.

If your administrator says no, follow up and find out why. Is there something you can do to make a better case in the future? If you aren’t presenting, would applying to lead a session have made a difference? Use this feedback to plan for the future.

Note: Member coaches, you must be logged in to receive the member rate. If you have any questions, please contact Steve Schappaugh.

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