Seattle’s ground-breaking elementary school debate program announces May 22 spring tournament

SEATTLE, WA -- Successful Schools in Action (SSIA), which runs Seattle’s only elementary school debate program, announced the date for their spring debate tournament. It will take place Saturday, May 22, at Catharine Blaine K-8 from 9 a.m.-noon. Close to 40 fourth- and fifth-grade students from four Seattle public schools – Coe, John Hay, Lawton, and Catharine Blaine, currently participate in this highly successful program. The debate topic is: Seattle Public Schools should change to a year-round schedule.

The SSIA debate program is unique in Seattle, and remains one of the only elementary programs in the country. Now in its fifth year, it continues to receive extraordinary accolades. Coe principal David Elliott said, “I have seen the profound and transformative impact of this debate program on hundreds of 9-through 11-year-olds as they learn how to think critically about a subject, gain self-confidence, and have a great time preparing and arguing their cases with their peers.”

The SSIA debate program is taught by classroom teachers coaching students in traditional debate skills including; research, effective public speaking, and critical thinking. The intellectual rigor involved in debate provides enormous dividends for future school success while preparing students to effectively participate as global citizens.

“Our debate program is a great example of SSIA’s model of working collaboratively with the public schools – teachers, students, and parents – to provide programs and services to meet local needs,” said SSIA Executive Director Lisa Moore. In addition to debate, SSIA provides academic support for students, workshops for teachers, and family engagement opportunities. SSIA is a powerful example of a public- private partnership that helps strengthen public schools and better meets student needs.

For further information, contact Lisa Moore, SSIA Executive Director, 206-378-0797, or e-mail:

Note – The press is invited to cover the May 22 debate tournament. Catharine Blaine K-8 school is at 2550 34th Ave. W., Seattle, WA 98199.

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