Why the HSPDP?

There are many available debate formats, leagues, and outreach organizations. What distinguishes the HSPDP from other formats and organizations?

Designed from the ground-up to maximize learning outcomes

The HSPDP does not map a debate format developed for a different population to high school students. Nor does it offer a largely untested format. The HSPDP is a proprietary debate format, designed to integrate best practices to develop student skills. Based on comprehensive educational literature reviews of public speaking, debate, argumentation, and discussion practice, vetted by faculty of Claremont Graduate University’s School of Educational Studies and secondary school teachers and administrators, and subject to ongoing qualitative and quantitative assessment by the Claremont Colleges Debate Union, private educational researchers, and Claremont McKenna College’s Kravis Leadership Institute, the HSPDP is developed to maximize student achievement.

Developed to promote standards-based education

The HSPDP accentuates and accelerates standards-based learning through debate instruction. This includes reading comprehension and issue analysis, evidence assessment,  development of arguments, refutation methods, media literacy, and interdisciplinary thinking. Debate training provides opportunities for student practice for classroom discussion and persuasive writing organization. Rigorous and relevant topic selection provides the opportunity for integration of debate training and skills in class historical, economic, scientific, political, social, and current event studies.

Organized to lower cost and promote program sustainability

The HSPDP is low cost and efficient. Annual per pupil expenditures are only a fraction of the cost of other debate outreach operations, often reaching 1,000 students in a debate league for the cost of operating a debate program for a dozen students at a single school site. The program is based on the successful model of the Middle School Public Debate Program, now reaching tens of thousands of students in classrooms and extracurricular competitive debate programs in 35 states and a dozen countries in only its eighth year of operations.

Planned to encourage community involvement

The HSPDP trains community members – teachers, school administrators, parents and guardians, and other community volunteers – to serve as event judges, tournament administrators, tabulation directors, and sustainability support staff. In 2008-2009, the MSPDP and HSPDP involved more than 500 community members as judges, coaches, and tournament administrative staff to support Southern California debate operations.

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Teachers, parents, community volunteers in judge certification training – all MS/HSPDP judges are trained for competitions

Structured to support teachers and professional development

THe HSPDP/MSPDP staff produce textbooks, teacher guides, online debate materials, and sample debate videos, sponsor podcasts, websites, and blogs, and host professional development seminars and summer coaching workshops to support class and contest programming. Almost all support resources are provided free of charge (e.g., exception for textbooks.)

Prepared to assist student involvement in ancillary programming

In addition to formal debating, students and teachers may take advantage of other outreach programs, including public debates and roundtable discussions, international exchanges, essay contests, photojournalism projects, summer residential workshops, and leadership initiatives.

Arranged as a college bridge

Students have the opportunity to visit and learn about college academic life through association with the Claremont Colleges Debate Union and summer residential and commuter debate and leadership workshops. During the academic year, high school students have the opportunity to meet undergraduate students from the Claremont Colleges consortium who participate in HSPDP programming in administrative and judging roles. The Claremont Colleges rank among the finest higher educational institutions in the United States. During participation in summer debate and leadership workshops, high school students live and work at Claremont McKenna College, a highly selective liberal arts college (currently ranked 11th on the US News and World Report listing of top colleges and ranked among the top ten in the nation by US News and Princeton Review in several independent categories.)

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