Subject: Summary of Speech and Debate Parent Meeting, October 7, 2008
About 40 parents of new and returning speech and debate team members were in attendance for the first parents meeting of the year.
Meet and Greet: Introduction of Officers
Chair: Carol Urwitz(firstname.lastname@example.org) Treasurer: Carol Lintz (email@example.com) Secretary: Dick Creeden (firstname.lastname@example.org) Transportation: Steve Blackman (email@example.com), Mary Ann Riordan (firstname.lastname@example.org) Home Tournament: Don Jacobson email@example.com, Karen Jacobson firstname.lastname@example.org
Coach Paul Wexler welcomed everyone and introduced parents to the world of speech and debate tournaments. Team captains run the practices as each student chooses and prepares for one or more of a dozen speech and debate event types. He explained how student involvement in speech and debate has significant long term advantages in student academic achievements. He also said that students are excited about being able to play in the NFL (National Forensics League). Carol Urwitz welcomed parents of new and returning team members and gave a brief overview of the purpose and past activities of the group. Both Mr. Wexler and Carol stressed the need for parent involvement in the areas transportation and judging at tournaments and fundraising. The need for drivers and judges will be more critical this year as it was announced that Wendy O'Neil would not be returning in her many capacities as coach, judge, driver, and tournament organizer. Mr. Wexler had even before this news had previously informed students and parents that ' it has become necessary to expect each student's family to provide judging for a minimum of two tournaments during the year, or provide an equivalent service to the parents organization.' Forms with information about speech and debate (parent orientation), and the tentative tournament calendar were distributed. CORI forms were also distributed. Parents need to return these forms in person or by mail to the Needham Public Schools Personnel Office. The personnel office would prefer seeing a picture ID for each volunteer.
Carol Lintz presented the financial report. Our current balance is $2477 of which she would like to reserve $1500 for national tournament costs next Spring. This leaves $977 for in-season expenses. $378 was spent to rent a van for transportation to the Yale speech and debate tournament in September.
Tournaments and Transportation:
Steve Blackman and Mary Ann Riordan outlined the general transportation plan for how drivers volunteer for a given tournament. On Tuesday, the list of students signed up for tournament the following weekend is finalized. Mr. Wexler's rules on student attendance at tournaments are simple. Students may attend as many or as few tournaments as they wish. Only the Needham home tournament (see below) is mandatory. However, if a student does sign up for a tournament, he/she is committed to attend, barring emergency. Once the committed student count is known, Mr. Wexler determines how many drivers are needed. Only parents are allowed to drive. Steve sends an email to the parents requesting X volunteer drivers for each tournament destination, as speech and debate tournaments are frequently at separate sites. Parents may volunteer to drive either one-way or round trip. This often depends on the location of the tournament. For more distant events, it works well when drivers stay to judge and can then drive home. When parents do volunteer they should reply to Steve's emails stating how many available seats they have and also their cell phone number. Return drivers may drop off students at their homes or at NHS at their discretion.
A parent chaperone is needed for the November 15 'Little Natick' tournament as Mr. Wexler cannot be there.
This year the Needham team will host 2 concurrent home tournament on Friday / Saturday, March 20 - 21, 2008. The Northeast Nationals Debate tournament is a 2 day event, and the annual Needham speech tournament takes place on Saturday. Don Jacobson advises and encourages all parents to get involved early with preparations for food, setup, judging, and many other roles. The first pre-tournament organization meeting will take place in December. Judges/Judges Training:
There will be a judges' training session offered on Tuesday, Oct 28, at 7:15 in Mr. Wexler's classroom. New parents are especially encouraged to participate. Parents who have judged in the past have all found it to be a very rewarding experience.