[Ndca-l] Boston Debate League - Director of Programming

Nicole Serrano nicole.serrano
Thu Jan 24 11:38:35 EST 2013

 *Position Announcement: Director of Programs *

Location: Boston, MA

*Organization Overview *

The Boston Debate League (BDL) was founded in January of 2005 to extend the
benefits of debate to underserved students in Boston?s public schools.
Working in partnership with Boston Public Schools (BPS), the BDL supports
academic debate teams in local high schools and trains BPS teachers to use
debate and argumentation as a regular part of their classroom practice. The
BDL?s mission is to measurably improve students? academic achievement and
their expectations of themselves by engaging as many Boston public high
school and middle school students as possible through academic debate.

Impressed by the BDL?s extraordinary early success, BPS increased its
investment in debate nine-fold from $50,000 in the 2009-10 school year to
over $450,000 in 2012-13. Thanks to significant support from the school
system, the BDL has expanded from three original schools to twelve high
schools and four middle schools, grown from a staff of one to nine, became
the major instructional initiative at numerous BPS Schools, and doubled the
number of students participating on their debate team in each of the last
three years. At the conclusion of the 2011-12 debate season, over 600
students had participated in a debate tournament ? up from 76 students just
three years ago ? and over 300 teachers had been trained to integrate
debate and argumentation techniques into their regular classroom practice.

The BDL?s focus is to go deep in BPS schools, building large debate teams
and supporting all teachers in a school as they use debate and
argumentation to transform the academic atmosphere and expectations in
their classrooms. Imagine a classroom with five students used to engaging
in ninety-minute debates based on sophisticated evidence from academic
journals and reports, led by a teacher committed to challenging all
students to analyze texts, produce creative arguments, and engage each
other in discussion over class content every day. What happens in this
classroom will be fundamentally different from a classroom with no debaters
and a teacher who passively relies on self-guided worksheets or traditional
drills to guide student learning. Now imagine an entire school filled with
classrooms engaged in such learning and a whole district built of these
schools. Learn more about this vision at www.bostondebate.org

*The Challenge *

We know debate changes the lives of individual students. BPS teachers and
headmasters, however, tell us that it has the potential to do much more.
They say that if these programs are taken to scale in their schools, they
will measurably impact the school-wide academic culture. The BDL is coming
close in a few schools, mostly smaller ones. BPS high school debate teams
averaged over 40 students last year, up from 15 just three years earlier. A
few schools are approaching or have surpassed 10% of the student population
participating on their debate team. Yet, if the BDL wants to have a
school-wide impact in all schools district-wide, they need to understand
how to help all schools as they strive to recruit and retain teams this
large. They need to learn how to help debate coaches manage and train these
large teams and how to engage the entire school community to be a part of
these efforts. They need to learn from their tremendous successes over the
last few years and develop strategies to replicate them district-wide.

The Evidence Based Argumentation (EBA) program is likewise poised to expand
across the district. It is an innovative professional development program
that gives teachers strategies and tools that allow them to meaningfully
involve student perspective in whatever content they cover within their
curricular frameworks. Teachers learn to structure a classroom so students
are engaging each other in debate and

discussion over the day?s content and texts, rather than one where students
memorize information through lecture, note-taking, worksheets, and textbook
reading. The use of debate as a teaching strategy invites students to
analyze competing claims from multiple sources in order to construct a
reasoned argument founded on evidence, a foundational skill they will need
for the rest of their lives.

Teachers who attended the EBA summer graduate classes reported that using
these teaching techniques in their classroom increases student
understanding of class content (99%), student engagement (97%), and student
reading and writing skills (95%). They also indicated that the program has
a substantial impact on their identity as a teacher. Participants reported
that learning how to use debate as a teaching technique made them more
effective teachers (98%), helped them create student-centered classrooms
(96%), and even led them to enjoy teaching more (88%).

The BDL needs to continue learning how to best motivate and support all
teachers in a school to regularly and effectively use EBA teaching
techniques to improve the academic achievement of their students. As this
program becomes more in-demand, they need to work with BPS central office
staff to invent the most effective way to expand district-wide, maintaining
the necessary elements of its school-based approach to ensure its

*Position Overview *

The Boston Debate League is currently seeking a dynamic urban educator who
is passionate about changing the face of urban education to serve as
Director of Programs. This is a new position for the Boston Debate League,
created to support their continued growth and expansion. As a member of the
senior leadership team, the Director of Programs will be a thought leader
in the organization, primarily responsible for strategy and implementation
of the After School Program and the Evidence Based Argumentation (EBA)
Program. This position reports directly to the Executive Director.


? Oversee the management of the BDL?s two key programs: After School Debate
League and Evidence Based Argumentation (EBA)

? Enhance and implement the BDL?s strategic programmatic vision across high
schools and middle schools throughout Boston Public Schools; invent
solutions to new challenges as the BDL expands both programs within
existing schools and new schools

? Oversee and manage the team of BDL staff at each school, ensuring each
team is delivering the highest quality results; coach, mentor, motivate,
and supervise assigned staff members while teaming with them to support
students, teachers, and schools

? Communicate effectively with all stakeholders, including BPS central
administration, principals, teachers, students, parents, and members of the

? Ensure that the organization operates in new and exciting ways due to
your employment by the BDL

*Qualifications: *

? Significant experience overseeing the development and implementation of
successful programs; experience developing curriculum and overseeing
training and professional development of teachers; direct experience
working within an urban educational setting required

? Direct experience debating or coaching debate, as well as working with or
within the Boston Public Schools, would be advantageous

? Excellent planning and execution skills; ability to achieve strategic
goals in a well-organized fashion while still possessing high energy,
creativity and imagination; experience overseeing program evaluation and
utilizing data to drive decision making

? Ability to engage, interact effectively with, and earn the respect of all
the constituencies of the Boston Debate League community, including
district and school leaders

? Ability to coach at all levels and a high comfort level in having
one-on-one coaching conversations with BDL staff, teachers, and students

? A very strong work ethic, supported by commitment and follow-through;
high degree of initiative, discretion, and maturity yet comfortable working
in an entrepreneurial environment and willing to contribute as needed to an
emerging organization

? Exceptional interpersonal skills and superior written and verbal
communication skills; the ability to understand and translate information
for all audiences; clarity, crispness, and elegance in writing and speaking

? Bachelor?s degree or equivalent experience required

*To Apply: *

Please upload a resume and thoughtful cover letter, outlining how your
skills and experience meet the qualifications of the position and stating
how you heard about this opportunity, both in Word format, to Steve Stein
at http://jobs.cgcareers.org/application.aspx?id=1991. Applications will be
reviewed on a rolling basis.

Boston Debate League offers a competitive salary and benefits, commensurate
with experience and skills.

Boston Debate League is an equal opportunity employer.

*About Commongood Careers: *

Boston Debate League has partnered with Commongood Careers to conduct the
search for a Director of Programs. Commongood Careers is a mission-driven
search firm that supports the hiring needs of the nation?s most innovative
and high-performing nonprofit organizations. Since its founding in 2006,
Commongood Careers has completed over 500 searches at 150 organizations in
26 states. Founded and staffed by nonprofit professionals, Commongood
Careers offers personalized, engaged services to jobseekers and
organizations throughout the hiring process, as well as access to a wealth
of knowledge about nonprofit careers. Learn more about nonprofit jobs at
Commongood Careers.
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