10 SWFL schools chosen for state’s Civics and Debate Initiative

Writer: Derrick Shaw
Credit: WINK News

Ten schools across Southwest Florida have been chosen to participate in the state’s second phase of the Civics and Debate Initiative.

Florida Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran announced Wednesday that 102 schools were chosen based on the “success of the program’s first year and its work to elevate civic knowledge, skills and disposition for middle and high school students through speech and debate.”

The schools in Southwest Florida are:

  • Charlotte County: Babcock High School, Babcock Neighborhood School
  • Collier County: Inverness Middle School, Immokalee High School
  • DeSoto County: DeSoto Middle School, DeSoto High School
  • Glades County: Moore Haven Middle High School
  • Hendry County: Clewiston High School
  • Lee County: Caloosa Middle School, Island Coast High School

During the 2020-2021 school year, the initiative established competitive speech and debate teams in 30 Florida school districts, with 59 schools and more than 2,000 student competitors. With the addition of 102 schools in Phase Two, a total of 161 schools from 48 districts will participate in the 2021-2022 school year. Before the initiative, Florida saw competitive debate programs offered in only 11 school districts. Along with debate team support, program coaches and regional ambassadors participate in regular professional development sessions to learn how to prepare students for competitive debate.

“It is essential that our students have a deep understanding of our government’s structure and the fundamental principles upon which our country was founded,” said Gov. Ron DeSantis. “Phase Two of the Florida Civics and Debate Initiative will give thousands more students the opportunity to build on their understanding of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and the confidence to defend America’s founding principles.”

“The Florida Civics and Debate Initiative supports student academic success while building great citizens,” said Commissioner Corcoran. “Research shows the many benefits that participating in debate has on critical thinking, test scores, graduation rates, and college acceptance. I am thrilled about the expansion and want to thank the incredible Florida educators who are working hard to help make this initiative available in so many Florida schools.”

Each school chosen to participate in Phase Two will receive support in the 2021-2022 school year to start debate teams, professional development for new coaches, and support educational resources, tournament transportation, coach stipends and membership in the National Speech and Debate Association.

For more information on the Florida Civics and Debate Initiative, go to  www.floridaeducationfoundation.org/fcdi.

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