Ingredients for a Debate Program

Coach & Stipend

Should be equivalent to other interscholastic coaches, such as athletics; sometimes tied to club advisor stipend, but administrators should consider time and responsibility traveling outside school.

Contest Calendar

Start small and reasonable. Perhaps one contest as practice, and the State contest for exposure to a wider, more diverse community of debaters from across Wisconsin. Entry fees are usually nominal, and come out to $10-15/debater.


In tandem with the meet calendar, figuring out distance/time and cost of transportation to contests should be a consideration. Ideally, our goal is to help every region of the state develop its own localized circuit of contests.


Having access to research sources is helpful. There are a number of debate-specific resources that can augment a team's efforts in preparing on a topic.

The WHSFA fosters formats of debate that emphasize accessibility and underlying pedagogy. Debate meets all Common Core State Standards in English language arts as well as National Council for the Social Studies C3 Framework standards. Debate can be:

  • Implemented as an in-class unit that will engage students at the highest levels critical thinking.
  • Easy to hold a “scrimmage” between two schools, to give your students an opportunity to engage their skills with peers.
  • Participated in as an interscholastic academic sport.

Video produced as part of a grant from the Wisconsin Humanities Council to hold an Information Literacy Professional Development workshop for teachers at UW-La Crosse, October 2017.

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