Sunday, November 1, 2015 — On Saturday, October 17 at JHS 88 in Brooklyn, around 200 students from 17 middle schools attended the first of four Middle School Quality Initiative (MSQI) debate tournaments. The event was run in partnership by the NYC Urban Debate League and MSQI, part of the Office of Interschool Collaborative Learning (OICL). In competitive public forum style, students debated the resolution: “The benefits of animal cloning outweigh the potential risks,” which is drawn from Word Generation, a language acquisition program implemented widely across MSQI schools. There was a surprise visit from New York City Council Member Brad Lander (see picture on left), who graciously stepped in to judge one round of the debate. The top individual speaker awards went to co-champions Fatima from JHS 118 in the Bronx and Zachary from Hunters Point Community Middle School (HPCMS) in Queens. The top team awards went to the undefeated teams of Zachary & Liam from HPCMS, Carmelia & Isabela from MS 45 in the Bronx, and Mohammed & Hendriny from MS 50 in Brooklyn. HPCMS took first place in the overall team sweepstakes, followed by MS 50, Urban Institute of Math in the Bronx, host school JHS 88, MS 45, and In-Tech Academy (whose team was featured in the Riverdale Press). To learn about MSQI Debate’s impact on students’ reading growth, read this full evaluation report conducted by the NYC DOE’s Research and Policy Support Group. And to see several debaters in action, watch this video about MSQI Debate. If you’re interested in judging a debate in the future, save January 30 and March 5 in your calendars, and reach out to OICL team member Scott Moore for more information.