Announcing the 2013 Chicago Debate Summer Institute

The Chicago Debate Summer Institute is the two week training camp that has launched the Chicago Debate League season since the origination of the league, back in the summer of 1997. It was designed to replicate the educational impact of university debate institutes costing thousands of dollars, and Chicago established one of the largest and most high-impact urban debate summer camps in the nation.

Last year CPS had to cut back its summer enrichment funding, and unfortunately the CDSI was a casualty. But this year, thanks to fund-raising done by the Chicago Debate Commission — and a small group of generous donors — the CDSI is back!

Dates, Times, Location

The 2013 Chicago Debate Summer Institute will be held July 29th – August 9th, Monday – Friday, 9:00am – 3:30pm.

The location is the beautiful new campus of Westinghouse College Prep, 3223 W. Franklin Blvd. Westinghouse College Prep is four blocks north of the Kedzie stop on the CTA green line.

Curriculum and Schedule

The CDSI has a finely honed curriculum that emphasizes skills building, aligned with the CDL Debater Development Benchmarks, and topic immersion. The CDSI serves every level of debate experience — from raw beginner just recently recruited, to National Circuit Varsity elim round veteran — with carefully drawn lab groupings, instructor placement, and individualized learning strategies that ensure that every student attending the CDSI leaves it a markedly improved debater, and ready for Tournament One.

The curriculum and schedule will include demonstration debates, practice debates and speeches, special group seminars, and a two-day pre-season debate tournament.

A daily schedule will be posted on the CDL site later this summer.

Instructional Staff

The CDSI has just begun the process of hiring its staff but intends to hire some of the best debate teachers, and most accomplished debaters and coaches, available, both locally and from outside the immediate area. The CDSI has a history of having a superb instructors, providing our students with a unique opportunity on the year-long calendar to learn from a diverse group of such highly-qualified teachers.

Additional Provisions

Lunch, but not breakfast, will be provided free daily.

Each student participating will receive a set of 2013/14 Core Files and filing materials.

Student incentives will be provided, along with awards at the CDSI Tournament.

CTA passes will be provided daily.

Fee and Tuition

All students must pay a $25 registration fee. The registration fee should be paid by each individual student, not by the school, since its primary purpose is to reduce attrition (to help ensure that the student attends). Tuition is an additional $125 ($150 total), though there are tuition reductions or waivers in instances of financial need.

Please contact Les for the tuition reduction or waiver appeal procedure.


Each interested student should submit a completed 2013 CDSI Registration Form. Coaches should monitor their interested students’ registration and can submit their students electronic forms.

Each student should also mail in a copy of the completed form, along with a check for their registration fee and (if they are non-Title I) tuition. The form and check should be mailed to:

Chicago Debate Commission
332 S. Michigan Ave., Suite 500
Chicago, IL 60604

The deadline for registration is July 8th.

Why You Should Encourage Your Debaters to Attend the CDSI

  • University-based summer debate institutes — long recognized as powerful tools for high school debaters to develop skills and advance their competitive edge – cost thousands of dollars and are financially out-of-reach for most of our students. Summer debate institutes offer a unique opportunity on the calendar to access the most experienced, most accomplished university debate instructors for our students. The CDSI brings the benefits of university-based summer debate training to Chicago’s students, raising the qualitative level of their debating, at no cost for low-income students and very modest cost for other students.
  • The CDSI increases student engagement in debate. Participants become excited about starting the season and hit the ground running when debate begins in the fall.
  • The CDSI increases student leadership. Participants bring the skills and enthusiasm they gain at the CDSI to their peers in mentoring and peer-instructional roles.
  • The CDSI increases competitive edge. After the CDSI, students feel better prepared to compete and show more enthusiasm for debate tournament participation, which can then be activated on the regular-season squad.
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