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November 2016
November 2016
November 2016  |  A monthly publication of the National Speech & Debate Association
Dear District Leader,

We're mixing it up this month and spotlighting the Building Community District Leadership Toolkit. We intend for this collection of resources to save you time, give you some new ideas, and motivate your District Committee to seek out the help needed to accomplish everything you want to do! 
We have created tools and resources to help you and your support team run the District Tournament, increase engagement, create and implement new programs, manage financial resources, earn media coverage of speech and debate events, and much more. Check out a few highlights below!
There are many resources and templates in the toolkit that can help save you time and create professional branding and messaging all at once. Here's one to get you started! 
Local Awards » The Association has five pre-set awards that each district may receive for free: Student of the Year, Alumni Achievement Award, Communicator of the Year, Principal of the Year, and Volunteer of the Year. We’ve included sample rubrics, a schedule for determining the award winners, email templates for each stage, press releases, and more in the Local Awards section of the toolkit! Save yourself some time and take advantage of these resources to celebrate your district! 
More Tips
Build your community with our ready-to-use resources plus tips for social media, attracting local press, holding a fall workshop, and so much more. Here's a sampling of what's inside. 
Press Releases » You'll find templates to explore as well as ways to share district successes and attract local press. We've highlighted a few suggestions below! 
  • Draft a brief press release following the district tournament that qualifying schools can send out, which may help with fundraising.
  • Send an email to local news affiliates in the leadup to big local tournaments, districts, and the National Tournament.
  • Notify press of district level awards and encourage interviews. 
  • Visit the full guide for more!
Identity Package » We can provide a custom district logo for use on social media, email signatures, letter head, and press release templates. Email to request a package! 
Communications Coordinator » Finding another person to help with media releases, event promotion, district communications, social media, and advocacy can be a big help. Check to see if a member of your district is interested in serving in this role! 
We'll Guide You Through It »  We've got best practices galore for varied audiences. Below is a portion of what you'll find in part one of the Alumni Involvement Section! The full toolkit includes email templates, tips, and a step by step guide to reaching out to different community members! 
Plan: Create an alumni volunteer engagement packet - see the sample packet in the toolkit to get started! Have a member of the district assess the needs and create a list of all of the types of volunteer roles. Include relevant dates for the role and necessary requirements. 
Experience Level » Many alumni feel uncomfortable performing a task that requires speech and debate experience. Whether it is because it’s been a long time since they have competed, or because they did not have high levels of success, alumni will feel anxious about their inexperience. By providing options described as “no experience is necessary,” alumni are more likely to volunteer in these areas. 
Connect: Collect and keep track of alumni contact information. When an alum reaches out, you’ll want to ask them a few questions in order to best guide your communication. A sample email for your first response is included in the toolkit. 
More, Please! » Visit the full toolkit for tips, templates, and guides to help involve other members of your community! 
Expand Your District » We’ve put together tips and resources to help you tap into connections and sell the value of speech and debate. Here's a sneak peak! 
  • Request a school’s past history from the national office. Find past successes and use them to motivate schools to participate again.
  • Mentorship, mentorship, mentorship! It's one of the keys to making new coaches comfortable and retaining them for the next year. Make it clear that there are members of the district available to help guide them through the process. If there is a coach in your district you feel could use mentorship, please reach out to for help connecting that person to a veteran for support.
  • Connect speech and debate to the college application process and promote the honor society. These are selling points to administrators. 
  • Inform schools about all the resources available to them including lesson plans, webinars, judge training resources, and much more.
Tournament Roles » We’ve covered the ins and outs of planning the logistics and hospitality for your district tournament. Check out an overview of the roles you could include at your tournament to relieve some stress from the committee.  
Tab Room Director – oversees the entire tabulation room; helps answer questions; aware of master schedule and checks in with tab stations to ensure they’re on pace; ensures the audits are done; makes changes as necessary based upon circumstances of the tournament.
Coordinator and Assistant positions for Lincoln-Douglas, Public Forum, Policy, Congress, and Individual Events – oversee the pairing of rounds, entering of results, and judge assignments for their event.
Sweepstakes Coordinator and Assistant – if your tournament offers sweepstakes awards, have separate individuals who calculate the winners. They will take your parameters (rules/ formula) and then create an excel spreadsheet to keep track of the information.
Auditors – after every round, have two people check the work of the tab stations. They should check to be sure the wins/losses, rates, ranks, etc., were entered properly into the tabulation software.
Ballot Collectors – have individuals (two or three at a minimum) collect ballots after a judge adjudicates a round. They should check over the entire ballot to ensure that it’s filled out properly, is easy to read for the tab station, and appears to be a constructive ballot that will help students.
Extemp Prep Coordinator and Assistant – oversee the Extemp prep/draw process and work to ensure students are preparing within the guidelines of the rules governing the tournament.
Ballot Sorters – oversee the stuffing or posting of ballots for schools to see their judge feedback and results after the tournament.
Take It Even Further » Want to know how you can involve student volunteers in the district tournament? We've got suggestions for roles and responsibilities in the toolkit!  
Hacking Hospitality » Write everything down! One of the most important pieces of advice (beyond providing coffee) for running a district tournament is keeping accurate records. Tournaments that keep detailed accounts of what occurs from year to year will decrease waste, increase efficiency, and as a result, increase profits. Take an inventory of everything you buy before the tournament and note what your leftovers are. Make sure that you have an accurate count of students, volunteers, judges, and coaches. Having this information will give you ideas for ratios when planning in the future.
More Hospitality Tips
Register District Tournament Dates » The deadline for district chairs to register all district tournament dates was yesterday, November 1. If you haven't already submitted yours, log in to the Points Application, then click "Tournament Dates" on the left and complete the form today. Contact Lisa Vossekuil at or call (920) 748-6206 with any questions.
National Speech & Debate Association
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