Chandler’s Middle School debate team attracts dozens of student participants each year. 6th graders complete a debate mini-course and are invited to participate in an end-of-year novice tournament, and official tournaments are open to all boys and girls (by try-out) in 7th and 8th grades.
The team is led by three Middle School faculty members and competes very successfully in the national Middle School Public Debate Program (MSPDP). This is the largest debate program aimed at middle school-age students in the country.
Chandler fields multiple Middle School debate teams. Students practice at lunch and after school and travel to weekend debate tournaments throughout the Los Angeles area. Chandler students perform extraordinarily well in regional and national competitions; frequently placing speakers in the top 10 among hundreds of talented speakers.
Debate helps students build critical thinking, argumentation and public-speaking skills. It increases confidence, teamwork, outside-the-box thinking, time management and quick thinking under pressure. Teams are exposed to - and enjoy grappling with - ideas from current affairs and global issues.
Most students have no prior debate experience, and every student improves dramatically over time. Many Chandler students continue with debate and/or mock trial at the high-school level, becoming leaders of their high-school teams. Chandler alumni also return to campus to provide mentorship to younger students who are learning beginning debate skills.