Frequently Asked Questions
Is the program pre-recorded?
No. This program is live instruction which will be offered to students every day. No part of the program is pre-recorded. We also won’t be making recordings of the live instruction, to protect the safety and privacy of our students who are minors. Students should plan to attend daily for the entire two weeks.
Will the instruction be recorded so that it can be watched later?
No. We have chosen not to record our instruction because of safety and privacy concerns for our student population, who are mostly ages 9-14. Even if we obtained universal parental consent, our organization is not comfortable releasing any recordings of students who are in elementary and middle school because of the risks involved. Students should plan to attend daily during the program.
My student will be in 4th grade in the fall. Can they participate?
No. This was a tough decision for us, but because of the age and maturity difference between 4th and 5th grade and the necessity of an online platform, we felt it wouldn’t be possible to effectively teach rising 4th graders. In the future, we hope to offer programming for this age group.
My student will be in 6th grade in the fall. Can they enroll in the middle school program?
Maybe! Students in 6th grade are sometimes going into middle school depending on their school district. If your 6th grade student will be in middle school in the fall then they can choose to enroll in the middle school program. Middle school debate is more advanced and involves research skills that are not usually taught in elementary school debate. If your student will return to 6th grade elementary school debate in the fall then the middle school program is not appropriate for them.
My student will be in 6th grade in the fall. Can they enroll in both programs?
No. 6th grade students must select one program or the other. The middle school program teaches a skill set which is advanced and unnecessary for students who will participate in elementary school debate in the fall.
My student will be in 9th grade in the fall. Can they enroll in the middle school program?
No. 9th grade students in the Sacramento area are almost universally entering high school. High school debate is much more advanced and requires different instruction. A student who will be in 9th grade in the fall will not benefit from our program, even if they have never done debate before. If you are interested in high school debate for your high school student, please contact email@example.com.
My student’s elementary or middle school doesn’t have a debate program. Can they still participate?
Yes! Even if your student does not go on to participate on a team, the camp is a valuable academic experience that includes a tournament as a closing experience. Students can choose to go on to participate in the local competitions or not, regardless of this program.
Can I start a team at my school?
Yes! If you are interested in starting a team at your school, we are prepared to help you do that. Please check out our program for parents, teachers, and coaches!
Do you offer scholarships?
Yes, we have the capacity to offer a limited number of needs-based scholarships. Please see our scholarships page for more information. Students who are seeking scholarship will be required to complete an additional form regarding their financial position and are not enrolled students until their scholarship application has been approved. Students will be contacted directly regarding their scholarship application. Students who we cannot provide scholarship to will have the opportunity to enroll by paying the tuition cost.
Do you have scholarships for equipment?
No, we do not have scholarships for students to buy technology they might need to access this class. We ask that all scholarship students be prepared to provide the technology necessary to participate in the camp. You can see a full list of technical requirements here.
What type of equipment will I need at home?
Students who have access to a laptop or desktop computer with a camera and microphone/headset will be most successful. A Google email account is also preferable, because our instruction will happen via Google’s education suite. Students who plan to access the program via a smartphone or tablet can be successful in the program but may need access to an external keyboard or computer to type out their speeches.
Where will the instruction be delivered?
All of our classes, practice debate, and the tournament will happen via Google Meet. There are specific system requirements for Google Meet. All enrolled students will have the chance to do a tech-check prior to the beginning of camp to ensure their technology is working smoothly.
Do you provide technology support?
Sort of. We will offer every student a 10 minute tech-check appointment where they can come to a Google Meet classroom, meet with one of our instructors, and make sure their equipment is working properly. It also can highlight problems early so that students can troubleshoot them prior to beginning the program. Students do not have to schedule a tech-check if they are confident their system meets the technology requirements. For students who do want tech-check, it will happen on August 1 and 2. Beyond checking your technology prior to camp, our instructional staff won’t be able to provide technology support. Students who have technology problems should begin with basic troubleshooting and contact the appropriate technical support help desk depending on the issue.
Who is on the instructional staff?
Our instructional staff is made up of rising high school seniors and college students. Most of our instructors have direct experience with the Public Debate Program from having been competitors and coaches. At least two instructional staff will be present in each class at all times, and the instructional staff report to a program administrator who is available in the case of any problems.
I don’t see my question listed here.
If you have a question not listed here, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you, usually within 24 hours.