Middle School Quality Initiative Debate

Principal Notes

Wednesday, April 1, 2015 — On Saturday, March 28, the Middle School Quality

Initiative (MSQI) partnered with the New York

City Urban Debate League to host its third debate

tournament of the 2014-15 school year. The topic,

or resolution, once again was drawn from Word

Generation, a research-based program designed

to help middle school students acquire academic

vocabulary in language arts, math, science, and social

studies classes. More than 250 middle school students

from 25 MSQI schools participated in the most recent

tournament, and over 50 high school debaters from

the Bronx High School of Science, Brooklyn Technical

High School, and ACORN Community High School

volunteered as debate mentors, facilitating workshops

on debate strategy and on navigating the high school

admissions process. MSQI Debate League is led by its founder Ben

Honoroff, one of the MSQI coaches. Matthew Doran,

coach of the host school, M.S. 45, presented me with

a team t-shirt sporting their team motto, “We Have

Issues.” Hunters Point Community Middle School,

M.S. 45, and North Star Academy took home the

highest honors, but all participants were winners for

dedicating their Saturday to engaging in a text-based,

Common Core-aligned, academic activity. MSQI

will hold its annual Debate Championships on June

12 where students will be discussing whether the

federal government should provide amnesty to

undocumented immigrants.