NSDA National Conference
We hope you will join us August 4-6, 2019, for the third annual NSDA National Speech & Debate Conference, presented by Colorado College. Hosted in Colorado Springs, the 2019 National Conference is an excellent networking opportunity for hundreds of coaches and educators from across the country. Members earn exclusive discounts to attend in addition to graduate credit opportunities! Watch this page for more information.
We will accept conference proposals from presenters for the 2019 NSDA National Conference beginning October 1 through November 2. If you have any questions, please contact Lauren McCool.
Note: NSDA members must be logged in to receive discounted pricing. The regular price to attend is $349 for members and $399 for non-members. The registration fee is non-refundable after May 1, 2019.
Can’t attend in person?
Sign up below to access livestream coverage and video recordings!
Making the Case to Attend
We can’t wait for you to join us at the 2019 NSDA National 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. 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!
Getting Started: Research
Familiarize yourself with the conference sessions, cost, and events.
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.
School’s Goal: Creating a Diverse, Inclusive Learning Environment for All
Related Sessions (2018 examples):
- 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.
School’s Goal: Create Innovative and Exciting Curriculum
Related Sessions (2018 examples):
- 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:
|Transportation (flight, mileage, gas, car rental, etc.)|
|Meals (two lunches and one dinner included in registration cost; breakfast included at conference host hotel)|
|Graduate Credit Hours (optional)|
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: Email Template
Put your request in writing using the sample email template below! Be sure to personalize each section to fit your particular ask.
The 2019 NSDA National Conference, organized by the National Speech & Debate Association, will be held August 4-6 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The NSDA 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 this conference to [YOUR MOST POWERFUL REASON TO ATTEND].
The conference offers [NUMBER] unique sessions over the course of two and a half days 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 total cost of attending the conference is [$AMOUNT] including airfare, hotel, and member registration. 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 detailed session information online at www.speechanddebate.org/conferences. I would be happy to attend any other sessions you think would be beneficial to our school.
Thank you for considering this professional development opportunity!
Schedule a Meeting and Follow Up
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.
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.
If you have any questions, please contact Lauren McCool.
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