The St. Louis Urban Debate League (SLUDL) has grown to support thriving extra-curricular debate programs at 10 high schools within the St. Louis Public School District.
The SLUDL was founded in 2008 with the stated purpose of developing and supporting debate programs in the high schools of St. Louis Public Schools. At each member school, the League works directly with Principals and Teachers to ensure that Debate Teams receive proper coaching and instruction, as well as the resources and community support necessary to thrive.
The SLUDL is the only organization working to promote debate in our schools, and bring the benefits of debate to urban youth within the City of St. Louis. We work with a network of similar Urban Debate Leagues (UDLs) across the nation, along with several suburban debate programs in Saint Louis County, to provide our high school students with the best opportunities for success through competitive policy debate – the oldest and arguably most rigorous debate format in the nation.
What We Do
The St. Louis Urban Debate League supports returning debate to urban classrooms in four ways:
Teacher-Coach Professional Development. Teachers are at the very core of any UDL, and the SLUDL has been fortunate to have some incredibly energetic, patient, dedicated teachers take on the challenging task of learning to coach debate despite often having little personal debate experience to fall back on.
Student Workshops. The League also assists schools in student recruitment and student training through offering free League-wide Student Workshops and free tuition to the Saint Louis Summer Debate Institute.
Tournament Administration. Debate tournaments are the most central element to our programming. Over the course of the academic year, the SLUDL will host monthly debate tournaments starting in October, and culminating with the City Championships in March. Direct competition at such tournaments is what ultimately drives students to put in the dozens upon dozens of hours of work preparing, reading, researching, and writing their arguments each month.
Advocacy and Fundraising. The primary goal of the SLUDL is to promote returning debate to our urban schools. To that end, much of our behind the scenes activity is dedicated to advocating on behalf of new debate programs and initiatives, leveraging school district investments with privately-raised funds, and publicizing the great work our students and teachers are putting into their debate programs.