Boston Debate League

Debate-Inspired Classrooms™

In the Debate-Inspired Classrooms™ program, BDL’s Instructional Coaches work with teachers, school leaders, and entire school communities to cultivate exciting and buzzing classrooms in which students experience both rigor and joy in learning.


Students learn better when they talk more, and with each other. The Debate-Inspired Classrooms™ approach trains teachers to cultivates authentic student discussion, driven by curiosity and problem-solving.


Debate-Inspired Classrooms™ fosters a unique environment of energy and joy. Our program nurtures a love of learning, transforming classrooms into vibrant, buzzing communities in which students – and teachers – collaborate to shape their own learning.


When students’ voices, ideas, and intellect are the center of instruction, they are more engaged in the classroom. Students are the authors and architects of their own learning in Debate-Inspired Classrooms™.

An Anti-Racist Approach

In response to the landscape in education and the global context in which young people learn, we are committed to supporting young people in building the power and agency to challenge injustice.

We believe that a debate-inspired classroom is an anti-racist classroom. In anti-racist classrooms, students and teachers see themselves and their lived experiences as valued; experience classrooms in which they are free to be their full selves; act as both leaders and learners in the classroom community; and develop skills and agency to disrupt racism.

"[Debate-Inspired Classrooms™] is about equity. When I hear students stand up in a classroom and use their voice, with a thought process, with evidence, that’s a beautiful thing. Because most of our students are marginalized, they haven’t had voice in any process…with [Debate-Inspired Classrooms™], they get a voice."

- Lindsa McIntyre, BPS High School Superintendent & former principal at Jeremiah E. Burke High School

Learn More

Click here to see Debate-Inspired Classrooms™ in action and to learn more.

Click here to learn more about Debate-Inspired Classrooms™ partnerships.

Have questions about DI Classrooms™, its impact, or how to start a partnership?
Contact Marisa Suescun, Director of Programs, at

Kelly Cody, Senior Volunteer Manager, joined BDL in 2021
Joshua Nixon, ASD and Resolved Program Manager, joined BDL in
Douglas Matute
Douglas Matute, Program Manager for Debate en Español, joined BDL in 2022
Ranner Faugas, Assistant Director of After-School Debate, joined BDL in
Roger Nix, Assistant Director of After School Debate, joined BDL in
Carlos Monteiro, Instructional Coach for DI Classrooms, joined BDL in
Sarah Mayper, Senior Instructional Coach for DI Classrooms, joined BDL in
Marisa Suescun, Director of Programs, joined BDL in 2013
Kimberly Bartlett-Ra, Director of Operations, joined BDL in
Kim Willingham, Executive Director of the Boston Debate League , joined BDL in
Jackney Prioly Joseph, Director of External Affairs, joined BDL in September 2020. Jackney leads our efforts to engage and partner with community and corporate organizations to create a community of support for our students. She previously served as Director of College and Career Readiness at the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education. She has diverse leadership experience in education, nonprofits, and city government where she served under Mayor Thomas M. Menino and former City Councilor, now Congresswoman, Ayanna Pressley. A Bryn Mawr and Posse Foundation alum identified for her extraordinary leadership, Jackney works to secure partnerships that will tap and sharpen the leadership skills of our program participants.