NJFL Executive Board Minutes
This new section will host the transcription of the minutes of the NJFL executive board, which can be read below, or downloaded in .doc format via the menu on the right.
NEW JERSEY FORENSIC LEAGUE
2013 SPRING COACHES MEETING
MAY 16, 2013
Jack Bathke Princeton HS, Jonathan Alston Science Park HS, Jessica Ehmke – North Star Academy, Mary Gormley – Montville Twp. HS, Michael Forte Manville, Reesa Jenkins – Long Valley Middle School, Ben Horwitz – Randolph HS, Michelle Leyesa, Stuart Country Day School, Brian Crowe Morristown Beard, Sean Gaynor – Union Catholic HS, Michael Paul – Millburn HS, Jillian Traner – Matawan HS, Ashley Anderson – Matawan HS, Andrew Monagle – Ridge HS, Andrew Miller TCNJ, Arjun Gupta TCNJ David Yastremski – Ridge HS, Anne Poyner – Summit HS, Phil Drummond – Freehold Twp. HS, Renee Drummond – Elizabeth HS, Brian Rodriquez – Elizabeth HS Minutes accepted from 2012 meeting.
Minutes accepted from 2012 meeting.
I. Old Business:
1. League Judge Training –
The Judge Training Workshops were a success this year with over 100 parents /alumni attending the Delbarton training and over 40 individuals attending the Ridge training. For the future, we want to ensure consistency between judge trainings by using the NJFL booklet and sample ballots. One additional help was that the coaches were able to recognize the coaches who presented at tournaments throughout the year which allowed an avenue for further questions and dialogue. Coaches will let David Yastremski know by May 31st of their dates to be added for the calendar.
UPDATE: The Delbarton School Judge Training will take place on Sunday, October 13, 2013 from 12:004:30pm. The Ridge High School Judge Training will take place on October 23rd from 6:009:00pm
2. Middle School Initiative
There were three middleschool speech tournaments this year: Hanover Park, Randolph, and Long Valley Middle School. It was noted that all tournaments occur in the spring. The question was raised whether a tournament in the fall or winter would work? Jonathan Alston noted that Newark hosts middle school debate, while the others host speech, and that Newark tournaments have 300+ students. We’re still researching middle school programs. Anyone who knows of coaches or contacts are encouraged to forward their name to Ben Horwitz, VP of Outreach.
3. Blind Coding – Debate –
Blind coding was trialed this year after discussion at last year’s meeting. While the intention is well placed, it caused an administrative nightmare at the tournaments. Students and judges were not used to the process which caused confusion for many involved, and it was very labor intensive with the current program. Pending a potential change in tournament software, we will make a decision at the fall coaches meeting whether we will conduct another trial year. If that is the case, we are encouraging all NJFL tournament hosts to use blind coding so students and judges become acclimated to it.
1. Treasurer’ Report Checking account balance: 24,313.54. Several schools still have billsoutstanding.
2. Calendar 20132014
a. Changes on the 20132014 calendar include:
i. New weekend for NJFL State Championships.
ii. New weekend for NFL District Tournament.
iii. Open weekend on November 16th.
iv. Potential weekend on January 4th.
v. New weekends for Newark CFL #5 and Newark CFL#6.
UPDATE: Phillipsburg will run on 10/26/2013, the Newark CFL#2 (at Montville) will run on 11/9/2013. Manville HS is currently pursuing 11/16/13 for an NJFLstyle contest.
3. State Championships & Districts
As of this writing, The College of New Jersey will host the 2014 State Championship tournament on March 7th and 8th. This will allow a greater degree of prestige to the event as well as open the door to a better judging field since many college students are on spring break during that weekend. The Board recognizes this is an SAT weekend; however, we believe enough notice is being provided for students to plan accordingly. To capitalize on the spring break judging availability, we are experimenting with a backtoback weekend by holding Districts on the following weekend, March 14th and 15th. We will be moving the tournament to Delbarton since they are closed on that Friday which will allow the tournament to start earlier on both Friday and Saturday which will help accommodate those schools who must travel a distance on Saturday morning. We will revisit the calendar during the 2014 coaches meeting to determine whether the trial proved beneficial to both the efficiency and experience of the two events.
4. Public Forum Judges – A concern was raised with the quality of judges in Public Forum Debate. It was noted by Anne Poyner that we always want judges of the best caliber and quality in any outround at critical tournaments; however, Public Forum is different because one of the guiding nuances of the event is the use of the ‘citizen judge.’ It was noted by David Yastremski that a citizen judge does not mean an untrained judge, and that all schools should ensure that their PF judges are trained to watch a round and articulate a clear rationale for decision on the ballot. Brother Kevin and Sean Gaynor noted that one of the biggest problems with states this year was the lack of judges available for the outrounds. With three divisions, every judge had to be used. Judges were even utilized from other pools to help fill the panels which caused further problems of judges never receiving a break and experiencing fatigue. In addition, the tab room was short of an adequate number of staff to keep up with nine divisions of debate. For the 2014 tournament, it was agreed that each school that enters a debate division (LD, PF, CX), must provide at least one qualified judge for each division and each school must provide one coach or designee, outside of their judging obligation, to help with tournament administration duties. This may include tab, ballot collection, ballot sorting, extemp prep, and awards. Judge requirement exemptions will be considered for schools that have less than five entries between all divisions of debate.
5. Jonathan Alston raised the question of returning to ballot writing in the debate events at districts, noting that writing the ballot forces the judge to consider his/her decision with greater detail and thought. It also allows for greater judge accountability during the round where judges must pay more attention to the round. Kevin Tidd raised the issue of fairness with speech categories where students do not receive written ballots. David Yastremski commented that removing the ballot requirement has allowed greater efficiency during the tournament. Ben Horwitz mentioned it is the last tournament of the year and would sacrifice the impact of the actual written ballot in favor of the efficiency of the event. Item was tabled until the fall meeting.
6. Tournament Organization and Efficiency
A concern was raised by a coach regarding tournament efficiency and the difficulty in keeping parents at events because they go long. David Yastremski noted that tournament hosts should do their best to keep the tournament running ontime.
7. Declamation Rules –
A motion was made to change the NJFL rules of Declamation to only allow for 9th and 10th grade participation. Motion passed unanimously. Juniors and senior students will be prohibited from competing in the Declamation category at any event using NJFL rules next year.
8. Tournament Software
There have been some problems for tournament hosts this year with the tabroom software, particularly for schools who only use it once a year for their invitational. The interface keeps changing and schools find out problems/changes too late causing confusion and panic on the day of the tournament. There’s no clear supporting manual. In addition, TRPC is being retired by the programmer, and the debate side of tabroom is difficult to maneuver. The Executive Board will reach out to other tabulation software services to negotiate a statewide rate system for use in the 20132014 season.
Treasurer – Renee Drummond. – Elizabeth
VicePresident – Outreach – Ben Horwitz Randolph
Vice President – Debate – Bro. Kevin Tidd Delbarton
Vice President – Speech Phil Drummond – Freehold Twp.
President David Yastremski – Ridge
Executive Board (9 positions):
Brian Rodriquez – Elizabeth
Jack Bathke – Princeton
Andrew Monagle Ridge
Jessica Ehmke – North Star
Anne Poyer Summit
Sean Gaynor Union Catholic
Jillian Trader Matawan
Jon Alston – Science Park
Mary Gormley – Montville
IV. Fall Meeting – Tuesday, the 10th, 2013 Location: TBA. Renee Dembski will research locations and report back before the beginning of the school year
V. Open Forum – Several coaches noted there are coaching opportunities at their schools in various events (Michael Paul – Millburn, Anne Poyner – Summit, Jessica Ehmke – North Star). Jonathan Alston noted that schools who are interested in starting Policy Debate can get resources and training from the Rutgers Debate team.