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Florida Oceanfront NSDA District Congress

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General information

This information is from a tournament in a past season!

This is a High School tournament in Florida.

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Friday, February 26: Virtual Congress
Entry in the Florida Oceanfront NSDA District Congress is $10. Fees for Congress must be received by Florida Oceanfront NSDA District Chair Paul Gaba no later than the tournament date of Friday, February 26.
Fees are set as of 5pm Friday, February 19. This is in order to allow schools to get checks cut and sent by the start of the tournament. Coaches are asked to take a screen shot of their school's check prior to mailing the payment to Paul Gaba.
Make fees payable to Florida Oceanfront National Forensic League District.
Please read EVERYTHING carefully!
Questions about entries or NSDA rules? Contact Paul Gaba, paul.gaba@palmbeachschools.org, 561-795-4911 or 561-352-0635
An Overview
All NSDA chapters in the Florida Oceanfront District are cordially invited to participate in this year’s Congress District Tournament, to be virtually on Friday, February 26 from 8am-5pm.
This tournament determines our district’s congress event qualifiers to the NSDA Virtual National Championship to be held June 13-19.
NSDA District Tournament entry procedures and event rules are different from CFL and FFL tournaments; please expect to meet all of the requirements established by NSDA. The NSDA staff will audit the entire tournament. Our failure to follow NSDA procedures could result in the invalidation of our results, so it is imperative you meet all deadlines and follow all NSDA rules. The District Committee must follow and enforce NSDA policies!
The District Tournament Philosophy: The Florida Oceanfront NSDA District will be running pilot events in 2021.
  • We will have a "Super Congress" final round House chamber (and possibly in the Senate, if entries require it to happen).
  • There needs to be 10 minutes per student per chamber factored into the length of the session. If there are 12 in a prelim House, that's 120 minutes (two hours) of required "prelim" debate for each session. The same time ratio applies to Supers. Setting the docket, recesses, etc. do NOT factor into this time requirement.
  • Judges need to be "unaffiliated." NOTE: for 2020-21 district competitions only, the NSDA has approved affiliated judges - with the exceptions that parliamentarians must be unaffiliated, and all judges in any final round must be unaffiliated. No student should have more than one unaffiliated judge in their chamber in a session.
  • Judges/parliamentarians in preliminary rounds CAN judge in the House super session, EVEN IF they judged in a preliminary House session.
Each member school has an affirmative responsibility to review the rules that are published by NSDA. Specifically, all coaches should go to the NSDA website and review the most recent NSDA Unified High School Manual. Coaches should make the event-specific rules and judging guidelines available for their students and judges so everyone knows what to expect. Coaches have an affirmative duty to verify their students’ interpretation pieces, informative speeches, and oratories conform to NSDA publication guidelines. Coaches should also confirm that their debaters’ case citations conform to NSDA citation guidelines. All of this information is available in the publication mentioned above.
It is imperative that all member schools update student memberships and NSDA points no later than 5pm Friday, February 19.
Number of Entries Per School: To confirm the maximum number of entries your school is allowed in Speech/Debate and Congress, log in to your NSDA account and select "District Info" on the left-side menu. Then, scroll down to the "Schools in the Florida Oceanfront district" heading. On the far right is the number of Debate/Speech Slots, Senate Slots, and House Slots, each school is allowed.
CONGRESS: Each active school is allowed a maximum of two Senate entries. However, the number of House entries a school is allowed varies, depending on the overall strength of a program.
SPEECH/DEBATE: The number of Speech/Debate entries a school is allowed also varies, depending on the overall strength of a program. However, each school is capped at four entries per event. 
Because Speechwire is not designed to allow various overall caps, we are incorporating a waitlist for all entries, so Florida Oceanfront committee members can verify the students being entered have 25+ NSDA points and are paid members. On your NSDA roster, this is indicated by a blue checkmark in the "District Eligible" column.
We will also email a complete list of the entry caps per school after tournament registration is open, and will send updated numbers between then and the close of registration.
Number of Qualifiers & Chambers: The NSDA Congress features two separate competitions: a Senate and a House.
Senate: If fewer than 8 schools attend, no Senate will be held; if 8 or more schools attend, then 2 students qualify.
House: A district must have a minimum of 16 competitors to seat a House of Representatives. Refer to the chart below to determine number of House chambers and advancement to the National House (note that the number of students is based on participation - speaking or presiding at least once):
  • 16-29 entries = 2 qualifiers
  • 30-58 entries = 4 qualifiers out of Supers
  • 59-87 entries = 6 qualifiers out of Supers
  • 88-116 entries = 7 qualifiers out of Supers
  • 117-145 entries = 8 qualifiers out of Supers
  • 146+ entries  = 9 qualifiers out of Supers
ENTERING "FILLERS" IN CONGRESSIONAL DEBATE IS STRONGLY ENCOURAGED, to allow our district to send as many legislators as possible to the NSDA national championship. In other words, PLEASE FILL ALL YOUR AVAILABLE HOUSE SLOTS.
Schools are NOT required to enter students in the Senate. However, the Senate entry allowance of two (2) may NOT be transferred to the House. Remember that 8 schools must enter the Senate or everyone in the Florida Oceanfront NSDA District will lose their Senate entries.
Chamber Assignments: Coaches will pre-designate Senate entries (maximum of two) during registration. The assignment of entries to prelim Houses will be determined by blind draw. Chamber assignments will be posted by 7:30am on the morning of the Congress.
Student Eligibility and Requirements: Only NSDA members in good standing are allowed to participate in the district tournament. It is the affirmative duty of each coach to provide proof of NSDA membership for each student entered in the district contest. The district committee must disqualify any non‐member student from competition.
a. Students must be members seven days or 168 hours prior to the official start time of the contest. All necessary points and fees must be submitted to the national office by this deadline. Please take time prior to this deadline to update all of your points on the NSDA website. If you are having difficulties with point entry, please reach out to any of the Florida Oceanfront NSDA District Committee members. They are more than happy to help.
b. A student may not have attended a secondary school more than nine semesters and must meet the age/eligibility requirements of his or her state activities association.
Each contestant who elects to participate in more than one NSDA event must complete the "Single Entry Letter of Intent Form." This includes students who compete at the Florida Oceanfront NSDA District Speech & Debate Tournament and are also competing at this tournament. On this form, students must designate which event they will compete in at nationals if they qualify in multiple events. This step is necessary because students may only compete in one event at nationals. These decisions must be made in advance, and the choice must be affirmed by signature of the student, parent, coach, and principal.
All intent letters are due with entry forms; any double-entered student who does not have a completed intent form will be disqualified. 

Auto Qualification (effective 2012): In any given year at the National Tournament, any student who places in the top 14 in any main event, has not completed more than six semesters of high school, and is still enrolled in high school (as a student in good standing) may enter the following year’s National Tournament in the same solo event or in the same team event with the same partner. The district will permit an auto-qualified student to participate in the district contest and to double enter as specified by the district’s uniform double-entry policies. No rule regarding double entry may be violated by auto-qualification. The entry must indicate acceptance of the auto-qualification through his or her Single Entry Letter of Intent prior to its district competition. The district chair should notify the national office of acceptance of the auto-qualification in reporting district results. A student who accepts auto-qualification may double-enter based on rules above but must sign the single letter of intent, which is binding, in favor of the event of their auto-qualification. If the entry signs the single letter of intent and rejects auto-qualification, the results of the district contest are binding.

For the 2021 National Tournament only, the NSDA Board of Directors has decided to expand competition opportunities to more member students and schools by implementing the following change to supplemental events. Every member school that participates in the district tournament series will have the opportunity to enter up to two non-qualifying students in supplemental events at the online 2021 National Tournament. These students must have attended the district tournament but not earned qualification in any event. This applies to every school that participated in the district tournament, regardless of whether they qualified other students to the National Tournament, and it only applies to the 2021 National Tournament.


There are only two required documents that must be filled out and submitted by coaches for registration:

(1) The School Consent Form

(2) The Single Entry Letter of Intent

Both of these items are in the "Files for Download" section of the Speechwire tournament registration page.

Judges: The NSDA requires we use unaffiliated judges and parliamentarians in Congress. "Unaffiliated" means there are judges available with no one from their school in a specific chamber. NOTE: for 2020-21 district competitions only, the NSDA has approved affiliated judges - with the exceptions that parliamentarians must be unaffiliated, and all judges in any final round must be unaffiliated. No student should have more than one unaffiliated judge in their chamber in a session.
ANY ASSISTANCE THAT COACHES CAN OFFER IN PROVIDING "UNAFFILIATED" JUDGES WOULD BE GREATLY APPRECIATED. College-age judges are permitted at the discretion of the District Committee. Current high school students may not judge any portion of the district tournament series.
Each chamber must have two scorers and a parliamentarian per session.
The Florida Oceanfront NSDA District Committee reserves the right to have coaches judge rounds and to use judges in pools other than those in which they are designated. If you have extra judges, or know of community judges who would like to help us, please let us know! It is also possible judges will be "shared" between pools if need be.
Please consider your judging options carefully! If you have a judge whom you know cannot be objective ... LEAVE THAT PERSON AT HOME! This is a high-stakes tournament. For some schools and students, NSDA Nationals is the most important tournament of the year, and the NSDA District Tournament is thus the second most important tournament. As a community of dedicated coaches, we ought to have enough respect for one another and enough consideration for students from other schools to eliminate untrained or biased judges from our rosters. It reflects poorly on your school and your integrity when you place poorly qualified or prejudiced judges into the pool.
Information on judging NSDA events can be found here: https://www.speechanddebate.org/judge-training/
Legislation Submission & Agenda: Each school entering Congressional Debate is encouraged, but not required, to submit one legislative item for the agenda. The full text of these bills - bearing ONLY the school name (not the name of an author) must be submitted as a Word attachment to pbcflcongress@gmail.com via email by 3pm Friday, February 5.
A full-text docket of preliminary round legislation and House supers legislation will be posted on the PBCFL web site (www.pbcfl.net) by Wednesday, February 10.
We are required to have a minimum of six bills/resolutions in prelims for debate. There will be a separate legislative packet for the House final round.
When a bill or resolution comes up for debate, any student from the school that submitted the legislation may give an authorship speech. If no one from the school that authored the legislation is present in the chamber, then debate will begin with a first affirmative speech.
Legislative templates are available for use on http://www.pbcfl.net.
 Improperly formatted legislation can be rejected at the discretion of league officers.
Congress Schedule (Friday): Congress will convene by 8am Friday. Students and judges will go directly to their chamber after registration closes. Chamber and judge assignments will be posted by 8am. There needs to be 10 minutes per student per chamber "factored" into the length of the session.
The Congressional Debate schedule looks as follows, but could be expedited if the opportunity allows:
  • Preliminary Business 8-830am (includes setting the docket, electing a presiding officer, etc.)
  • Session 1 (includes two hours of actual debate): 830-1045am
  • Session 2 (includes two hours of actual debate): 11am-115pm
  • Lunch Break: 115-145pm
  • Finals (includes three hours of actual debate): 145-5pm
Please note that the district committee will NOT use the student rank option.
We look forward to working with you!
Your Florida Oceanfront NSDA District Committee:
Paul L. Gaba, Angela Anyzeski, Daryl Hall, Richard LoSardo, and Traci Lowe

Manager contact information

Paul L Gaba
Email address: paul.gaba@palmbeachschools.org
Phone number: 561-352-0635

Mailing address

c/o Paul Gaba
4284 Deste Court, Apt. 104
Lake Worth, FL 33467

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