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Les Lynn

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About Les Lynn

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  • Birthday 11/15/1965
  1. First, a very hearty congratulations to Whitney Young -- we in the Chicago Debate League are very very proud of Misael and Kevin! Now on to a few brief corrections. Honestly, I haven't read a lot of what's been posted on this thread, and much of what I have read I've agreed with in one way or another -- there actually seems to be more agreement on it than not -- but there were a few inaccurate or from my perspective misleading comments made that I'd like to take just a few minutes to try to correct. (i) Whitney Young is an Urban Debate League school because (a) its debate program was founded by the Chicago UDL, i.e., the Chicago Debate League (not Chicago Urban Debate League, though the Chicago Debate League is an Urban Debate League) ( it is mostly or significantly funded by the CDL, and most importantly © it is a school in the Chicago Public School system, which is the institutional home of the CDL. (ii) Whitney Young has 37% Title I students. Its debate team roughly reflects that percentage. That's a lot lower than the average in the CDL (about 79%), but a lot higher than a school like New Trier (to pick on well known suburban school bogey), which is 2%. Title I refers to the federal definition of students from low-income families, to which additional federal funds are attached. (iii) What makes a school public, rather than private, is who funds it. Public schools are funded by public, governmental monies, private schools by the private individuals' families that attend, or by private donors. Students have to apply to get in to WY, but that's true of a surprisingly high and growing percentage of public schools in Chicago. It's obviously true of most public universities as well. The key point is that while public high schools can require aptitude or achievement, they do not require attendees to pay, so they have no economic discriminatory valence. If the public schools are in a big city, and are selective enrollment (drawing from students from across the city, rather than one neighborhood) they also don't require the student to live in an upper-income, exclusive zip code. (iv) UDLs are organized debate programs in urban public school systems (in Chicago, that's Chicago Public Schools), assisted by a private partner organization (in Chicago that's the Chicago Debate Commission) that do not and should not exclude high-achieving or selective enrollment public schools, if the urban public school system has these, and the vast majority do. (v) The Chicago Debate League, including WY's debate team, is funded based on the following breakdown of sources: Chicago Public Schools -- 63% Chicago Debate Commission -- 34% Other Private Donations -- 3% As it happens, WY has gotten more than its fair share of that additional 3%, to help it travel. It has done so in a manner that is the same, virtually, as any school that fund-raises for its debate team: through sheer hard work and determination. (vi) The Chicago Debate Commission's 34% -- which comes from individual donations, corporate sponsors, and foundation grants -- includes and has included for three years a National Circuit Program that is open to any debater from any school in the city of Chicago. The National Circuit Program provides 75% cost coverage to participate at seven National Circuit tournaments through the year, most of them in the Midwest. The other 25% has to come from the local school or local school's debate team. That 25% obligation amounts to on average about $200 per team per tournament -- not free, but a lot more affordable than $800 per team per tournament. WY's additional fund-raising enabled it to go to Greenhill and Harvard, tournaments outside of and simply additional to the National Circuit Program. The Chicago Debate League encourages this kind of autonomy: it has built and is building debate programs that can and sometimes do aspire to going further and farther in debate. (vii) The Chicago Debate League believes that having the highest-performing schools -- of which WY is only one, albeit clearly the most successful one this year -- in the UDL circulates a rigorous, high-achievement standard that affects all (this year) 936 debaters who compete regularly, and all 1,415 who participate. Les Lynn Director Chicago Debate League
  2. The CDC will be hiring a full-time Assistant Director for Programs this summer. Please see the attached job posting, and please circulate it to anyone you feel might be interested in the position. This person will work closely with me in helping CPS administer the Chicago Debate League. Qualifications for this position are most heavily "debate programming," but they also include effective pedagogical and communications skills, and some management and development abilities as well. This person will work in the CDC offices downtown full time, and will be compensated based on their experience; the annual compensation can certainly exceed $55,000. Chicago Debate Commission Assistant Director for Programs Job Description and Application Information The Chicago Debate Commission (CDC) is searching for a qualified candidate to work in its small but growing core staff, taking lead responsibility for implementing the CDC’s role in administering the programming of the Chicago Debate League. The Assistant Director for Programs will work full-time from the CDC’s downtown offices. Job Description The Assistant Director for Programs will primarily work to conduct a variety of academic debate programs, but will also have some development and administrative responsibilities. This position will work with all three Conferences in the CDL, in addition to the Middle School League and the Lincoln-Douglas events. Programming: Conduct school and coach recruitment and retention efforts, including communications, presentations, flier distribution, calls with principals, site visits, and monitoring; Prepare the curriculum for and conduct all trainings for coaches, students, and judges; Provide on-going training, assistance, and support to all CDL Coaches through phone, email, and on-site meetings; Conduct approximately three site visits per week at local schools to provide support, modeling, and training to coaches and debaters; Complete reporting forms for all site visits, trainings, and tournaments; Build engagement, investment, and ownership of teachers, coaches, and school district administrators in the CDL; Promote and effect high attendance at trainings, and track participation; Conduct all necessary preparation work for all CDL Tournaments; Administer CDL “A” and “AA” Tournaments; Supervise Middle School Tournaments; Monitor RCC and L-D Tournaments; Facilitate and supervise the National Circuit participation of CDL schools; Respond to requests and requirements of the Chicago Public Schools Office of High School Programs in the administration of the CDL; and Direct the 2009 Chicago Debate Summer Institute. Development: Prepare regular articles for the Chicago Debate Commission’s quarterly newsletter; Help prepare and conduct the CDC’s annual donor cultivation event; Provide text for grant proposals; Participate in presentations to current and prospective institutional partners or sponsors. Administrative: Collect and process data from all CDL Tournaments and training events; Prepare periodic reports to schools and principals; Recruit and manage volunteers effectively, and support the ED in managing part-time staff effectively; Maintain the CDC public website, including a Coaches Corner and a Student Q. and A. blog; Track and monitor student performance, including the programmatic inputs (student participants, teacher involvement, contact/training hours, debate programming) and outputs (graduation rates, college matriculation, grade-point average, standardized test scores, attendance, and specific performance assessments); and Conduct regular meetings with the CDC Executive Director, the Chicago Public Schools, and the CDC Board. Qualifications B.A. or higher degree; Extensive experience in current high school cross-examination policy debate; Demonstrated ability to teach and train policy debate to all levels of debaters and coaches, from raw beginners to successful competitors on the National Circuit; Passion for the urban debate mission and the educational justice objectives of the Chicago Debate League Ownership of a vehicle and/or willingness to ride public transportation to high schools and other sites; Willingness to work evenings/weekends where necessary – total working hours will be 40-50, but hours will not always be “9 to 5”; Experience in urban education – non-profit, administrative, or classroom – is a plus; Effective time management skills and ability to manage multiple projects and tasks simultaneously; Strong interpersonal, communication and organizational skills. Additional Information Compensation commensurate with experience, but can exceed $55,000. Benefits will be folded into a single overall compensation figure. Candidates passing an initial screening will be interviewed by the staff and Board of the Chicago Debate Commission and the Chicago Public Schools. The Chicago Debate Commission is seeking a commitment of at least two years. The Assistant Director of Programs position may begin August 1st, August 15th, or September 1st, pending negotiation. It is the policy of the Chicago Debate Commission to provide employment opportunities without regard to race, color, religion, creed, national origin, age, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, gender (sex) as required by law. Submit your c.v. and a cover letter, via email and U.S. Mail to: Les Lynn Executive Director, CDC 332 S. Michigan Ave., Suite 500 Chicago, IL 60604 (e) leslynn@urbandebate.org Thank you for your interest.
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