New York City Urban Debate League

NYCUDL Debaters and Coaches Busy During Global Pandemic

During these trying times, the NYCUDL coaches, students, and staff have been busy working on a number of online initiatives and future plans to support our debaters.

September 30 High School PF Coaches’ Kick-Off

September 29 District 7 Coaches’ Kick-Off

September 29 Middle School PF Coaches’ Kick-Off


September 28 Middle School Quality Initiative Coaches’ Kick-Off

September 28 District 9 Coaches’ Kick-Off

September 27. We kicked-off our first coaches’ meeting of the year with our Parli coaches.

September 26.  Our second session of Debate Club carried-on.

September 19 Our first fall debate session kicked-off!

August 4-5 We spent these two days training more than 20 teachers who are part of the Middle School Quality Initiative to be debate coaches.

July 17-31. Today we kicked of the Bella Zbzug Leadership Institute debate camp!

July 6-16 Today we started a two week summer debate camp where over 100 students across the city in grades 4-11 will learn and drill the fundamentals of Parliamentary and Public Forum debate. The individual labs are led by 25 of our brilliant student leaders and will culminate in a tournament on July 13th. We are already looking forward!

Purple Lab!

July 5 First day of the Bella Abzug Leadership Institute workshop!  Every summer we partner with BALI to provide debate education and leadership opportunities for young women in middle school, high school and college. In this photo, one of our teachers, Amelia, is giving a lesson on writing rebuttals.


June 21. District 9 Coach Kick-Off

June 19 Juneteenth Celebration & Summer Leaders Conference 9:30am-12:30pm all days.

June 13 Debate Club Tournament

June 11 MSQI Championship 126 students from 19 schools in the Middle School Quality Initiative joined us for their end of the year championship tournament!

June 6 Sunday Debate Club

May 26 District 7 Debate Tournament

Nearly 40 teams from 14 Bronx elementary and middle schools stepped up to their final championship tournament. In a rigorous final round, the overall top teams in both divisions faced off to vie for a free scholarship to NYCUDL’s Summer Debate Institute (SDI) 2021. WIth grace and generosity, the winning PS343 MS team bestowed their prize to their opponents. PS343 already registered again for this year’s SDI enrichment!  Could there be a correlation to their winning record?

May 25 D16 Debate Tournament

“Super cute!” judges cried as D16 Elem, MS & HS teams went to battle over MANDATORY VOTING. “If we can’t mandate a mask, how can we mandate voting?” the impressed judges heard.  “It was so awesome seeing all debaters be so factual, quoting Madison and Adams, referencng legislation, and using such high level ideas and language,” said more than one blown-away judge.

May 24 District 9 Coach interest meeting kick-off

We introduced academic debate to more than 20 principals and potential coaches from our District 9 Initiative.

May 23 Sunday Debate Club!

May 21  District 7’s Final Debate Workshop Sessions   Squads from over a dozen elementary and mddle school teams finish their debate training this month with NYCUDL, honing ways to refute refuters and prove,  “My impact’s bigger than yours!”  NYCUDL-trained D7 HS mentors have guided their spar rounds for extra feedback. Students even took turns playing AOC vs. Ruben Diaz, clashing over whether promised jobs from the new Bronx Fresh Direct hub outweigh the loss of a planned tree-filled park.  Since the Green New Deal topic Integrates with D7’s Common Core project-based-learning task on sustainability, those two Bronx leaders can expect a pile of strident emails post-tournament!

May 16 Summer Debate Institute Open House. Students and parents joined us to learn about our upcoming Summer Debate Institute.

May 16 Debate Club More than 80 students participated in our weekly Debate Club

May 14 MSQI Debate Tournament. 284 students and 153 judges from 24 schools joined us for the MSQI kick-off.

May 13 Judge training for Morgan Stanley volunteer judges.

May 12 Transgender advocacy workshop. The NYCUDL Middle Schoolers were treated to a talk with Rebecca Kling, an award winning transgender educator, artist and activist.  With great humor and vulnerability, Rebecca shared her story, educated our community on the language of trans identity, and illuminated some of the big issues facing trans people.  One of the major themes was what it means to truly be a supportive ally.  Our students asked Rebecca  thoughtful questions, and gained great insights in this important topic.

May 3 -6 Coaches’ Coffees

May 2 More than 80 students joined us for our Debate Club tournament.

April 25 80 students in our weekly Debate Club prepare for their upcoming competition.

April 22 NYCUDL staff worked with new D16 coaches to learn how to enter their students on… in preparation for their upcoming tournament.

April 22    It’s Earth Day, but all this month, Bronx elementary students  ruthlessly debate Green New Deal impacts on the planet–and their own borough!  Through the NYCUDL workshop series, they activate their debate superpowers with the help of  District 7’s HS intern program. Five NYCUDL-trained debaters serve as mentors, assistant coaches, andion fo spar judges, guiding students as they grapple with new concepts like “the economy”!

April 15 D16 Coaches Meeting

April 11 Spring Debate Club kicks-off!

April 9- 10    NYCUDL State Championships sponsored by Morgan Lewis JP Morgan.  NYCUDL staff celebrated a shining winning season for all, culminating in the renowned State Championships.  This year, debaters were blown away by guest judges and speakers from Morgan Lewis JP Morgan. Middle Schoolers learned insider stories from a panel of animated, highly successful litigators. High School debaters were glued to their zoom screens, rivetted by speakers’ passionate honesty on redemption, recidivism, and the stark need for criminal justice reform.

April 8 D16 Coaches Meeting

April 8   A final NYCUDL public forum PD explains how “elimination” rounds shake out at top competitive tournaments, like the coming STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS!

April 5     D7 & NYCUDL complete a week of DEBATE INTERN training & orientation. 5 supremely talented Bronx students from HS 223–many former star debaters with Coach Lola Dupuy at MS343–now fledged, assisting coaches weekly as debate mentors for D7’s impressive elementary division.  “I’m understanding impacts and refuting much better now that I have to coach it,” says Jesus.   Final tournament is May 26!

March 28. Debate Club had their final tournament of the Winter session

March 25  Coaches  joined Stefan and Emily in a lively discussion on recent Chinese geopolitics. NYCUDL Outreach passed along their key points, plus slides & suggestions to ramp up critical thinking in those essential final speeches of public forum debate.



March 24    D7  Tournament #2     After many NYCUDL-guided tech-checks, workshops and case rewrites, 36 teams from 15 MS and Elementary schools competed brilliantly.  Several impressed judges told us that debaters  “taught me more about the Green New Deal than I had ever known before!


March 22. Parliamentary Debate Coach Training

March 19 Youth Leaders Interview Training Workshop

March 19 Bella Azbug Girls’ Debate League Tournament

March 18 Public Forum Debate Coach Training

March 15    Along with a recurring series of coach workshops, NYCUDL guided 100s of debaters in small groups for a spirited day of debate training of our NEW DISTRICT 16 Debate League for Brooklyn’s Bedford Stuyvesant upper elementary and middle schoolers!


March 15. Parliamentary Debate Coach Training

March 13. City Championships with more than 540 students!


March 12.  District 23 Debate Tournament.  40 students from 8 school debateD in our second District 23 Debate tournament

March 11. Public Forum Debate Coach training.

Mar. 9   Since February through all of March, nearly 20  Bronx D7 schools meet individually with NYCUDL staff for their debate skills workshop series. Learning to clash on the renewable energy components of the Green New Deal, one debater pleaded, “Why can’t every country have the same strong economy?”


March 8. Parliamentary Debate Coach training with Tyler Beattie.

March 5     NYCUDL hosts MSQI MS and Spanish Divisions for Tournament 2. Debaters grappled with the PROs and CONs of using standardized tests in public schools. More than 300 students from 30 schools participated!

March 4. Public Forum teacher training

March 4. Amisha Mehta lead a special judge training as part of our partnership with Morrison and Foerster.

March 1. Tyler Beattie leads Parliamentary Debate coach training

March 1. Amisha Mehta leads a Public Forum judge training as part of our partnership with Mercyhurst University.

March 1   We hosted a “celebrity” critique session with Claire Balani of IRC, prepping the CHINA SANCTIONS PF topic for Title 1 programs.  HS students won a spot by submitting contentions & NYCUDL’s special Case Checklist & Peer Edit forms.  Debates under star coaches Deena Soni of Arts & Tech HS, Rory Silver of Bronx KIPP, and Wendy Spector of IN-Tech sparked a discussion ranging from the 2008 Olympic boycotts, to HUAWEI, to Belt & Road, to  the EU’s recent EU trade deal with China.  “This has made this topic much more fun to debate now,” we’re among the grateful praises.

February 28. Debate Club continues!

February 26/7. Many students from the NYCUDL participated in the Lakeland District Debate tournament, which drew 1008 students from 24 states around the country.

February 25.  Paul Glenn and Emily Moffa lead PF Debate Coach training.

February 24. NYCUDL Leadership introduced debate to D16 school administrators and teachers as part of an initiative to build debate there.

February 23      Bronx HS 223 receives critiques on their very first debate research & case-outlines. Their biggest motivator? To be mentors to District 7 Elementary debaters at their Green New Deal topic prep workshops next week.

February 22. Tyler Beattie leads the Parliamentary Debate Coach training.

February 22. Amisha Mehta leads our first Public Forum judge training as part of our partnership with Mercyhurst University

February 21 Sunday Debate Club continues!

February 16   Bronx D7 HS 223 enjoys guidance for their intramural sparring. NYCUDL preps this new HS program to serve as judges who will evaluate D7’s Mar. 24 Upper Elementary & MS tournament on The Green New Deal. Their coach claims judging our Feb. 6 tournament was the best way she stepped up, too.  A win-win all around!

February 14. Our 100 Debate Club students keep practicing!
February 12. Public Forum Coaches join for the second half of instruction on the new China topic.

February 8.  Pubic Forum coaches join us to kick-off instruction the China topic.

February 8. Parli coaches join Tyler Beattie for instruction on the new parli topics.

February 7. One hundred Debate Club students compete in the first tournament of the semester.

February 6. 608 students from almost 60 schools compete in our 5th MS & 5th HS tournaments of the year!

In celebration of Black History Month, many of our alums joined us.

February 5th. District 23 training


February 4.  Public Forum coach training

Feb 3. Policy debate coach and student training with Dr. Hester.

February 1     New debaters are still joining programs!   To ease their fears, coaches ask NYCUDL to host virtual scrimmages. Our expert judges recently encouraged IN-tech vs. Bronx Writing Academy who met, bonded & stepped up their game for the coming tournament.


January 28.  NYCUDL coaches participate in a Professional Development class on rebuttals.

January 27.  NYCUDL coaches work with Dr. Michael Hester on understanding kritiks

January 25.  NYCUDL Parli coaches work with Mr Tyler Beattie on current parli topics.

January 20.  NYCUDL debaters attend an inauguration watch party hosted by the NYCUDL.

January 18 We will be celebrating Martin Luther King day with a movie and a lesson from Chiarra Fuller.

January 17 Our weekly Sunday Debate Club had a great Sunday!

January 16. The NYCUDL hosts HS/MS Tournament #4. We had 623 students from 58 schools. 208 judges evaluated our student competitors!



January 15   Bronx HS teams from World View and Pelham Lab HS face off as NYCUDL provides expert volunteer judges for extensive feedback, advice–but most of all, encouraging confidence-building!  Motivation surged, both coaches report.

January 14     NYCUDL spearheads a committee discussion on “Ramping Up Quality & Support for Coach-Educators” with other National Urban Debate League leaders from Washington D.C., Houston, Tulsa, Boston, & more. The series will continue.

January 14. Emily Moffa, Amisha Mehta, and Stefan Bauschard lead a session on case writing for our coaches

January 13    Outreach staff and volunteers lead a scrimmage and workshop for about 10 Yonkers YPIE HS debaters.

January 13    D7 League season opener tournament launched for both elementary and middle school Bronx debaters!  Asked to rate their experience on an ascending scale from 1-10, several noted “I give it a 20!”

January 11 Parli Outreach Director Tyler Beattie leads our parli coaches in a lesson on debating online

January 8 & January 14      HS programs at Title 1 schools added NEW teams for the Jan. 16 tournament, thanks to the encouragement and skills boost from NYCUDL staff.  We offered saturating feedback at intramural and inter-school sparring rounds held at Arts & Technology HS, and at a match up for Bronx HS debate programs.

January 7   Weekly PD discussions continue for all PF coach-educators.

January 6-11   Bronx District 7 was enveloped with support for their coming Jan. 13 Tournament. From tech guidance, to sound checks, to sparring rounds and loving feedback, dozens of elementary and middle school debaters are now a little lest terrified—and hungry for more grows and glows.

January 4. Parli Debate Coach Topic instruction.  The NYCUDL’S Tyler Beattie lead a discussion of the new Parli topics.

December 14 New League Topic — Green New Deal — Training with Conrad Palor

December 14 Parli PF Topic Training with Tyler Beattie

December 13. Today the 120 students in our Debate Club kicked-off their own tournament!  Please join us this spring!

December 11-12. On December 12-13, the New York City Urban Debate League hosted its third combined MS/HS tournament. We had 560 564 students from 60 schools competing across 13 events. The competition was adjudicated by 229 judges.

Special thanks to Dave Arnett, Director of Debate at the University of Kentucky, and Maria Sanchez, former UK Debater and 2016 NAUDL alum of the year, for speaking to our students.

December 9 We held a training for more than 50 volunteer judges for our upcoming tournament

December 9 We on-boarded 6 new schools for our upcoming tournament

December 9

December 9-16  Dozens of District 7 Bronx elementary and middle school coaches & squads step up at the monthly public forum training sessions led by NYCUDL specialists.  First of 3 tournaments launches Jan. 13, 2021!


December 7. Tyler Beattie led tournament training for District 23

December 4   District 23

December 3     PF Outreach staff train new coaches. Schools like Mott Hall middle school & Central Park East High School prep feverishly as these brand new programs make their seasonal debut– their 1st competitive debate gambit ever!




December 3 Debate Alumni event

December 3 Public Forum Coach Training with Brooklyn Tech Debate Coach Paul Glenn

December 2   Outreach Staff boost recruitment, retention, and advancement.  We co-plan & co-lead a lively session with coaches to fine tune case writing.  Pictured: staff Julie Kuang,  Arts & Tech HS coach Deena Soni & rising star debater, Romina Cruz!

December 2 Policy Debate training with Dr. Michael Hester

November 29 6 pm  Parli Topic Training with the NYCUDL’s Tyler Beattie

November 28 7pm. District 23 Prep with Tyler Beattie

November 25     Outreach staff boost recruitment & retention, designing and deploying gamified learning outcomes. Here, MS 343 debaters generate more & more organized refutation through instructional games we co-led with Coach Lola Dupuy.

November 23 On November 23 we held a resume writing workshop for our Youth Leaders!

November 22 On November 22 held our weekly Debate Club with more than 100 students!

November 21 On  November 21 we held our season’s second high school tournament, which was sponsored by Kobre & Kim. Special thanks to Rebecca Mangold and Darryl Stein from Kobre & Kim for speaking with our debaters about their participation in debate and how it impacted their decision to choose a career in law.  251 students from 30 schools competed in the tournament 108 judges adjudicated the debates.


November 20 On November 20th we ran the Middle School Quality Initiative tournament for 201 middle school students from 16 schools.



November 19 Dr. Michael Hester leads a lesson for NYCUDL policy coaches on topicality

November 19 Paul Glenn from Brooklyn Tech leads an instructional session for NYCUDL PF coaches and students.

November 18 NYCUDL Parli Outreach Coordinator lead a session for District 23 in Brownsville/Brooklyn to help them prepare for their upcoming December 1 tournament!

November 17   Scrimmage for the timid!  Nearly 15 teenagers from two Bronx and one Upper West Side public high schools met each other to practice a mini-rounds in front of three expert NYCUDL PF judges. As the teens relaxed, the arguments flew faster and more furiously!  “I liked how our opponent was confident, but didn’t interrupt me, and stood her ground even when we kept throwing all those ideas at them.”


Nov. 16, 18   Bronx D7 coach/team work sessions continue with our  staff for 5th and 6th graders, Yet, also, two new D7 HS squads have even joined our regular NYCUDL competitive league, too.   No one’s excluded!

November 16   Tournament on-boarding continues as NYCUDL orients 4 coaches newly returning to our e-season.

November 15   Attending to current socio/emotional issues, NYCUDL hosted an all-coach PF meeting.  We discussed ways to further nurture & strengthen our league’s fulfilling sense of belonging and positive morale–how to enfold more students into our vibrant debate community during these stressful times. Together, coaches and staff brainstormed best practice and topic ideas to stoke recruitment, retention, and advancement of more debaters.

We are grateful as we bond through this crisis, surprising each other as we grow closer. Who knew that in one round, two South Bronx debaters, and their two Midtown opponents, and their coaches all share an active interest in sewing!? Ah, the human threads that stitch us together!


November 14 The NYCUDL Diwali MS tournament kick-off on Saturday

281 students from 24 schools competed in Parliamentary and Public Forum debate!


Nov. 9, 10   When asked to rate this 1st in our series of coach/squad workshops from 1to 5 fingers, debaters shouted into their Zoom mics, “A million!”

“Why can’t we do this every day?!”

“This is going to be even better than last year!”








November 9  Yonkers’ Partners in Education–a multi-school CBO of college prep for  “at risk,” families, enjoyed a needed Outreach reboot from NYCUDL staff.   Co-planning & co-teaching with YPIE coach, Eloy Cano, the Outreach “visit” turbo-charged upperclassmen debaters and a brand new crop of freshmen recruits.  With this skill upgrade, they’ve reset their “growth mindset,”  & renewed a commitment to competitive debating. Watch them as they storm HS Tournament 2!

November 8 District 23 Training

On Friday, our District 23 Brownsville Debaters joined us for an Intro to Parliamentary Debate Workshop for our brand new Brooklyn debate teams — Brooklyn Environmental Exploration School, Eagle Academy, IS 392, Mott Hall IV, PS 184 Newport, PS/IS 323, PS/IS 41 Walter Francis White — welcome to the NYC Urban Debate League! And welcome back to Brownsville Collaborative Middle School!
Major salute to college alum Kai Brady and Feiry Guaba who served as lead instructors, and our high school volunteers Briana Previllon, Angel Gomez, Jaden Lamarre, Yaden Scharf, Maxine Moreno, Melia Marte and Mason Mercier. Get excited for our District 23 tournament in December!


November 5    D23 Parli After School Workshop with Tyler Beattie

November 5    PF Coach Training with Paul Glenn

November 4     Expanding this season, we’re guiding Bronx District 7 as even more middle school and elementary coaches enter the fold.  Asked to name a rewarding experience from last season, teachers at our training echoed,

“We loved seeing kids learn so much —and learn from each other.”

October 29   PF Coaches Training with Paul Glenn

October 25    90+ students from the NYC Debate Club participated in their own tournament.

October 24    NYCUDL hosted our first high school tournament of the season! 258 students from 28 schools joined us to kick-off our online debate season. 105 judges supported our debaters. The Honorable Ken Karas (SDNY) with the students about life as a judge.

October 22 6:30 pm      PF debate training with Paul Glenn

October 21 6:30 pm    Policy debate training with Stefan Bauschard

October 20 7:30 pm    Online tournament training for high school coaches with Tyler Beattie

October 19 7:30 pm     Online tournament training for high school coaches with Tyler Beattie & Paul Glenn

October 15   PF & Policy Coach and Student Trainings


October 11    Brooklyn Tech debaters earn a Public Forum bid to the Tournament of Champions. This is the first Public Forum bid in the history of their program!

October 10    233 students from 25 schools participated in our first NYCUDL Middle School tournament of. the season!

October 9    Youth Leaders receive training on running our October 10th tournament.

October 8    Topic Jeopardy Night offered for PF and Parli debaters.

October 7   New judges orientation with Emily Moffa and Amisha Mehta

October 6   Coaches receive training on how the upcoming digital debate tournament will work.

October 2    NYCUDL Youth Leader released his Chrome evidence extension to make card cutting more efficient.

October 1 Patrick Lee led our novice training session on the School Resource Officers case.

September 29 & 30  NYCUDL staff worked with MSQI Coaches to kick-off a year of online debate


September 29  NYCUDL hosts Tabroom training &  Q&A.

September 27    Day 2 of our Debate Club went well!

September 25    Friday evening kicked off our Youth Leaders program. Our Youth Leaders will be working to support our league schools throughout the year. All Youth Leaders have committed to 40 hours of service this year!, This is in addition to the 60 hours of service they performed this summer!

September 24    The NYCUDL’s Emily Moffa leads our Public Forum coach training session.

And Patrick Lee, a graduate of the University of Texas, kicked-off our Policy Beginner debate training.

September 23    Dr. Michael Hester, Director of Debate and Director of the African American Male Initiative at the University of West Georgia kicked-off our Policy debate training for our JV students.

September 20    Today we kicked-off the first session of our fall Debate Club with 98 students!

September 17     The NYCUDL kicked-our PF league-topic (school resource officers) training for coaches AND training for our Sunday Debate Club program, which has nearly 100 students enrolled. NYC parents love our debate programs! And we already have 38 schools registered for our virtual year! Many coaches have commented that they like our stable, predictable programming.

August 31    Coach coffee with league coaches

August 30    NYCUDL Executive Co-Directors, Stefan Bauschard and Amisha Mody Mehta, published Debate is (On)line.

August 24     League registration opens for schools. Please read our new guidelines before registering.

August 15    The League calendar has been published on our home page.  Please check back regularly for updates.

July 6-17     NYCUDL Online Debate Camp

Between July 6 and July 17 the New York City Urban Debate League held a city-wide debate institute for 259 students, 60 student leaders, and 20 adult participants. This was the largest debate camp hosted by any urban debate league in the United States.  Read more.


June 29   77 lab leaders and camp administrators meant to continue planning for the July 6th kick-off of our summer institute!



June 24    Training Lab Leaders for Summer Debate Institute

Summer training has begun for more than 50 lab leaders for our Summer Debate Institute. With more than 250 students enrolled, we’ve been working hard to prepare!

June 19.  Fun Fridays in June for MS debaters” Clashing this week were 3  students from the Bronx, Mart Twain, and Hunter MS as they wrestled with “Ethical Dilemmas” speed rounds. 

June 18 Parli Outreach Coordinator Tylier Beattie met with Brownsville school administration and principals to plan our 2020-1 Brownsville Debate Initiative.

June 16    NAUDL, NYCUDL, & BUDL:  “Meeting of the Minds!”

Greg Ekey, Director of Education and League Programming,& consultants & EDs of NYC and Boston exchange struggles, & best practices  to translate & turbo-charge online training for coaches & students.  First in a hoped-for series of quality summits!

June 13.  Today was the last day of Debate Club for the year. Students enjoyed their time wrapping-up their lessons and competing in a tournament.

June 12 Middle School Fun Fridays!
Debate skills and community building every Friday in June, 4-5pm. Coaches watched and learned!

June 11 DebateAlumni, a membership organization devoted to brining together former middle school, high school, and college debaters and coaches from around the global to connect and network with each other while supporting future generations of debaters, held its first Adult Speed Debates night.  We raised more than $2,000 for the NYCUDL!

June 10 We held our elementary school and middle school tournaments for District 7 in the South Bronx.  More than 60 students participated!

MS and Elementary teams participated.  Many schools were preparing with NYCUDL-curated articles and guidelines. Some schools met weekly for Friday e-sparring.  Wednesday’s eTournament showcased  2wo rounds judged by experienced NYCUDL HS student debaters.

Resolved: Government should make WIFI free. And for MS:

Resolved: All Americans under the age of 18 are obligated to vote! 

 Here are a few “clips” from among many inspiring exchanges during rounds: 

“People need have 5 basic needs to be met before a government should pay for the  luxury of free.  You need a shelter, food, and clothes first–it’s the SHELTER DIVIDE first, not the DIGITAL DIVIDE! “

“Internet is now the doorway to access healthcare searches, jobs, and even affordable higher education or even now improve your education during a pandemic.  Lower income people are disadvantaged without it.” 

“Nothing is FREE. There’s no free lunch or free WIFI. Who pays for it? Taxpayers. The government’s money is our money. So to use a word I learned in my ELA class, we call that IRONIC!”

“Emergencies happen if you don’t have GPS, and that takes expensive data plans. Lives could depend on whether someone gets a message or can communicate well using WIFI, and jobs and educational opportunities will be lost for too many.” 

“There are other places to get online–libraries, schools. It’s too costly to make sure each home has its own WIFI when the government could be spending money on shelters and safer neighborhoods and healthcare that will then make people able to relax and learn and find better jobs.”                            

“It’s not fair to force people to vote because of the 1st amendment which shall not deny the rights of free speech, or of free press; or the freedom to assemble.  That means we have the right to protest. To some people, and sometimes, the decision not to vote for one of the 2 political parties is a sign of protest. You can’t stop that.”

“No one has complete freedoms. You think people have the freedom to just do or say whatever they want?”

“No, they mean by freedom of speech. It means freedom of what you think–freedom like no one can make you do something or believe something you don’t want to. That kind of freedom.” 

 Coach Andrew Carvaggio commented, “This was incredible. Is there any way we can do this again soon?

Judge testimonials show they, too, were impressed. “I couldn’t believe how young these debaters were. I never had the confidence and competence they have now. They’re going to be incredible through middle school and beyond.”  

June 10. The NYCUDL’s Aubrey Semple led a book club.

HS Debate Book Club & Black Lives Matter  Voices!     

Fabulous healing discussion on Michelle Alexander’s analogies of slavery to the new Jim Crow and its differences:  more covert, but just as powerful control. Student-shared links were flying left and right!!

June 7   Summer Debate Institute Open House     Mini Lessons!

We showcased some  H.O.T  Higher Order Thinking skill-honing tasks and games at the JUNE 7 OPEN HOUSE for Summer Debate Institute.


Recurring city-wide celebration of MS debate skills and community building games. Every Friday in June. Students hale from all levels and locations: 3 from the Bronx, 2 from Queens and Brooklyn, and 2 from Manhattan.  Activities include debate tug of war, Jeopardy, and sparring matches!

June 2-4 & June 9    NYCUDL Education Director Loretta Brady attends a series on debate inspired curriculum with Boston Urban Debate League. They share ways to ensure online debate instruction –especially its inherent gains of  thinking and engagement–to stay active, warm, and vibrant on screen.

June 3   MS Debate Book Club     closed for now with students presenting burning research questions, especially: Save Capitalism? Down with Monopoly & Monopsony, a powerpoint by Nikita Chernin. 

June 1 District 23 — Brownsville Meeting

We had a great meeting today to kick-off our Brownsville Initiative that is being sponsored by L&M Properties. Twenty students have submitted videos as part of an application for our online summer camp!  We spent time discussing our summer camp preparations and laying the groundwork for our year-long program during the next academic year.

May 28 – Online Presentation  – Topic Discussion on the 2019-2020 NYCUDL Policy Debate Topic – Criminal Justice Reform Students will learn about various affirmative case positions, various negative arguments and topic literature which will help them approach the policy issues with preparation and confidence.  .  

May 23   MS Winners of Weekly Web Debate Contest

NYCUDL staff solicited, reviewed, commented, then evaluated case/editorial submissions from 6 middle schools and early 20 submissions. Finalists who made the cut to elimination rounds then had to write rebuttals to the opponent essay they deemed the strongest.  Top pro and con winners reflected proudly on the growth of our Bronx schools, In-Tech Academy and PS343.

May 21  HS Debate Book Club

Michelle Alexander’s THE NEW JIM CROW continues to inspire participants with possible Aff cases: , Federal Regulations to videotape interrogations, to community policing training and support.  Aubrey Semple, Chiara Fuller, and Loretta Brady, all NYCUDL staff, guide students to related law cases, famous advocates as DA Larry Krasner, and other germaine statistical references and articles they’ll pursue. 


May 20      MS Debate Book Club 

10 participants from 6 schools continue to debate free market capitalism through Barbara Ehrenreich’s NICKEL AND DIMED. Student-generated questions led to clash on the worthiness of work stoppages and unions to best solutions for affordable housing in a free market economy.  Some are researching whether Welfare to Work programs have “worked” and who defines that success.



June 1-June10    District 7  elementary and middle schools prepare with NYCUDL for two online tournaments in June. NYCUDL reaches out with practice planning trips and  fills their Google Drives with relevant articles—rich with embedded claims, counterclaims and reader-friendly statistical studies— germaine to the different resolutions for each tournament:


Local Governments Should Provide Free Wi-Fi Access to Their Citizens. 


The U.S. federal government should make voting mandatory.

May 16-17    National Debate Coaches Association National Conference

NYCUDL presenters Aubrey Semple and Stefan Bauschard share best practices and expertise on digital debate and issues of equity and access.  NYCUDL staff Loretta Brady gleaned cutting edge ideas on e-curriculum, synchronous/asynchronous debate camps, and virtual community building from leading national programs who presented this year. 

May 18 We had a great meeting with the education leaders of District 7, including principals and the Superintendent, to kick-off our District 7 initiative.

May 16  NYCUDL MS E-Tournament. We had Parli and Public Forum Divisions. Expected attendance – 100 students.   Coaches continue seeking support from NYCUDL staff for tips and training.

We had 19 schools, 140 debaters, 53 judges, 22 coaches, 13 UDL staff/volunteers at our first official online UDL tournament!

All Photos

Weekly Beginning May 13   MS Debate Book Club:  NICKEL AND DIMED:  Watch out! When adolescents take ownership of a group, anything can happen. This week’s session became an  impromptu research fest thanks to each debater’s riveting questions.  

“Does she exaggerate how managers’ with control and disrespect?”

“Is all of capitalism broken, or just some places? Or is society broken?”

“Why do they say unions have sneaky promises?”  “Do they?”

 “What percentage of homeless people today are employed but still live in their cars like she found? (25%, and 40%-60% are unstably employed part-time, a 45% rise since our book. NCH.)

“What percentage of homeless people are dependent on drugs & alcohol?” (Close to 35%, but about 15% of them became that way during the stress of homelessness. CDC)

May 11-13     Bronx PS 343 and Staten Island IS 75  enjoyed a 3 day battle of the boroughs debate tournament, with consultation from NYCUDL staff. Advice to students spanned tips on developing a story of the harms when free speech is diminished, to suggesting the PRO could gain credibility conceding some other root causes, while still persuading that regulation is key to diminishing violence. Staff support also included supplementing a raft of academic and  international articles to flesh out the resolution: Social media companies should be responsible for censoring hate speech on their platforms, especially any threats against Asian-Americans during this pandemic.

We also aligned this resolution to the Weekly Web Debate Contest online to better support coaches and teams. Participants’ drafts receive  intense, targeted input on both writing and research. 

Ava Garnett, who lives with a rare joint disease that hampers mobility, finds e-tournaments a benefit to riding a bus for hours from IS 75 in Staten Island.  

This echoes the enthusiasm of a differently-abled young man who attended our recent HS Debate Games Night who thanked  the league’s awareness of ablism, and hoped we’d continue as strong advocates for all physically, mentally, or emotionally challenged. https://www…

May 8   Weekly Web Debate Contest: Written War of Words

Dylan Brown


NYCUDL staff provide feedback and select finalists and winners. This week, two Bronx schools triumphed with 1st place Pro Champ Jaden Rocha of Pelham Lab School, (pictured here with Coach John Curci, supported by Outreach staff for this task) and World View’s 2nd place Champ, on the Con side, 


Dylan Brown. “I am so thankful for this opportunity and can’t wait to enter again,” wrote Dylan. 







May 7. NYCUDL outreach coordinator leads 20+ coaches/teachers in a training on our May 16th online tournament

May 7th. Outreach coordinator Loretta Brady leads our weekly middle school book club.

May 1 –Online Debate Contest honors winners in this Written War of Words

The NYCUDL awards student entrants who revise an opinion piece after our careful feedback, then refute best “elimination round” contestants. Weekly, MS and HS e-debaters grapple with topics that include border closings,  covering presidential health briefings, and whether celebrities’ should fundraise  with their own branded products.

New contests in this  Written War of Words  launch every Friday continuously throughout the season.   https://debate…





May 1 1 HS Community Game Night

Arielle Gallegos leads the NYCUDL’s community game night to support our high school debaters.

April 30   NYCUDL gifts Title 1 Squads with “Pre-stocked” Slack libraries –along with training and collaboration to raise the bar for their teams.Like a hot line to the “Bat phone,” the coach at Bronx PS15, for example, now has argument prep, articles, and teaching tips at her fingertips–plus instantaneous, in-depth support from NYCUDL staff.  Better still, empowered, linked-in debaters divvy up research tasks and exchange files, cases, and blocks among each other.  May 16th’s e-tourney may witness their highest levels of debating yet!

April 30 and Thursdays thereafter HS Debate Book Club.  High school debaters will read, The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

In our first session, we navigated through the scholarship of various criminal justice scholars on the subject of the roots of the criminal justice reforms to slavery. Members of the club shared their viewpoints on the literature.

Applicants tell us, “I would like to meet other curious peers who are also interested in debating and working towards a more equitable future.”

And thank us, “I am an avid reader and debater and would like to broaden my horizons in both fields to improve my skills. I have always enjoyed reading fiction novels, but never have read books related to law and history. This book club is perfect to expose me and help understand those types of books!”

April 29 and Wednesdays thereafter MS  Debate Book Club.  Middle school students will read, Nickel & Dimed by  Barbara Ehrenreich

Applicants tell us, “I am very interested in social and economic justice and would love to read and discuss this book with others.”

And thank us, “I like to read and I am home bored because I don’t have books.”

And parents thank us, “We are very excited for this program! What a great opportunity for shared critical thinking. Thank you for your consideration!”

April 28 and Tuesday thereafter – Virtual Professional Development with Program Director, Aubrey Semple 

Aubrey Semple, program director of the NYC Urban Debate League presents a sixty-minute Zoom conference call where coaches from NYC UDL engage in an informative discussion on best coaching practices in competitive debate. This session prepares debate coaches on contemporary coaching techniques that complement various debate events that we offer in the league. The goal of these sessions would be to inspire, encourage, and engage coaches on ways to help your debate program grow, both in terms of competitive success and student engagement in the activity.

April 24 –  Loretta Brady, NYCUDL’s Director of Education, reached out to some of the League’s coaches to see how they are doing. After a healing discussion, encouraging  their e-studies, students sparred on mini-topics including: “E-graduation, or postpone to September?” and shared pandemic paradoxes, including Kalvin’s insight that,  “You know, in a weird way, it’s bringing people to life. Look at how much more people are appreciating each other and life.” 

April 23-World View HS, and Pelham Lab HS, Bronx, Arts & Technology HS and Murray Hill Academy, NYC with the help of NYCUDL together spawning solutions to help their students surmount massive obstacles of the digital divide. Team chats, group conference call-ins with coach and NYCUDL Outreach Tech Support are building momentum. One Bronx coach has students video tape themselves delivering a speech, then upload it to her for feedback!  With every coming week, we’ll be “e-meeting” with more middle and high school coaches not yet connected to their debate clubs in order to provide technical support on matters both practical and pedagogical.

April 18 — Online Parli Tournament

The coaches from PS 161 (Tyler Beattie), Center School (Rebecca Eastwood), Hamilton Grange (Joao Moderno), Q300 (Elijah Cho), Brownsville Collaborative (Guy Dion) and Sunset Park (Adina Benno) are collaborating to do a digital MS parli tournament run by themselves  on April 18.  We hope to learn from their experience as we consider developing a larger online tournament for our schools.

April 17 — Online Text Debates

The NYCUDL launched its Weekly Web Debates. These text debates are open to any students from league member schools and are designed to help students improve their writing and reasoning skills.  Through model anchor texts, focused research tips, and guiding personal feedback on first drafts, debaters clash over current policies in the face of a global pandemic. 

These are held every week.


April 11 — Debate Club

Our 75+ enrolled Debate Club students will meet for our Saturday morning Debate Club session from 9:30-11:30

April 6 —  Kappa VI MS, a diverse Title 1  public school in East Rockaway, begins planning with NYCUDL  on how to guide advanced research and “Rebuttal Redos” remotely. Peer-generated  topics  included:  “PG13 ratings harm more than help society.” “Teen popular music has more power to influence good, than evil.” In future meet-ups, debaters wish to grapple with socio-economic justice questions and current government decisions and conflicts around the COVID-19 emergency, all  inspired by the NYCUDL MS Debate Book Club and  NYCUDL Weekly Web Debate Contest topics.

April 4 — Leon Goldstein Wins Novice Georgetown online

Leon Goldstein’s Shelma Ben Abdallah won the novice policy division of the Georgetown International Online tournament.

March 30th

The NYCUDL announces that its summer debate institutes are moving online. The programs are o try pen to anyone in the US at standard tuition rates and available to NYCUDL students who are from league member schools who qualify for scholarships based on coach recommendation.

March 26 —  In-Tech, MS & HS in the Bronx continues meeting virtually for regular debate practices and to train to prepare trials for courts in their related Restorative Justice Peer Discipline program. Their debaters so far have won top prizes through the Weekly Web Debate Contests, too. 

March 24 & 28 — Debate Club Moves Online

The NYCUDL announced its move to run its Saturday Debate Club programs online.  The first online session started on March 28th.  Reflections on the First Day

March 22 — NYCUDL E-Learning Classrooms

The NYCUDL launched its new online e-learning platform  — https://classrooms…

March 18 — PS 161 Practice

Debaters from PS 161 in Harlem participated in an online learning exercise and a scrimmage with their Coach Tyler Beattie (also the NYCUDL parli director) and Loretta Brady and Arielle Gallegos from the NYCUDL.

They collected feedback and released it here.

March 17 — NYCUDL Debate Staff Meets to Plan Summer Camp

NYCUDL plans debate camp in the Lakeland High School debate room.

March 16 — MS343

On Monday, the first day students were off of school in NYC (and they didn’t even know until Sunday that they didn’t have school until the next day), they started their own initiative to have debates on Discord, a free online text chat and video chat for gamers. The students recruited other debaters, judges, and even turned it into a class!



Post a Comment