Climb After School Debate Programs


After School Programs

Elementary (4th-5th grade)

Middle School (6th-8th grade)

High School (9th-12th grade)

Students who join our program develop self-confidence, thinking skills, and have fun communicating about important issues.


Students work with other motivated, smart kids. They learn to express themselves, organize their thoughts better and meet other students who want to discuss interesting ideas.​

We begin registration for our April-May program on March 1.

Over 1,000 students joined our programs in 2021.

  • Led by Jim Hanson, one of the most successful debate coaches in the nation. He has extensive and award winning experience teaching speech and debate. He works with a highly qualified staff to provide individualized instruction. 

  • Our students have won dozens of awards, including multiple first places at the middle school tournaments hosted by Seattle University where 400+ students participate from all over the Puget Sound area.

Deep learning process

  • Our individualized learning method (1 instructor 6 students) and heavy emphasis on having students put into practice what we cover, makes the learning in our courses gets put into action.

  • Kids who graduate from the program sessions write better papers, are more knowledgeable about the world, work better with other students, and give better presentations in their classes.

  • Students really like the fun of exchanging ideas, winning, and learning in an extremely active capacity. See how our program can help your child!

You will be able to register on March 1 for our April-May program

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Parents and students love the program...



Jim Hanson receives comments nearly every week:

"My daughter LOVES debate."
"My kid looks forward to each week. It is the one program that really engages and lights up his day."
"You've given my son the self confidence he needed. He is now much more social and he can easily express what he is thinking."


Program, Dates & Fees


  • Elementary students (4th and 5th grade): $tba

  • Middle Schoolers (6th grade - 8th grade): $tba

  • Speech Program (grades 4-12) $tba

  • Lower income household? When you register, choose one of the two options for half or full fee reduction in part 2 of the registration (no forms--just a click). We want our programs to be affordable to all families.

Fees include:

  • All instruction, materials on topics, and participation in the noted tournaments.

  • All events are ONLINE.

Program Dates

  • The April-May Class Dates will be posted March 1.

We will be offering Elementary and Middle School Debate and for Grades 4-12 a Speech Program (our High School Debate program begins again in Fall 2022)


  • Weeks of Jan 3-Feb 25, Choose Mon, Wed or Fri

    • 4:15pm to 5:25pm (Students in the elementary program participate in a tournament that happens during the last 4 classes (online)   

    • Does not meet week of MLK holiday.


  • Weeks of Jan 3-Feb 25, Choose Mon, Wed or Fri

    • 5:30pm to 7:10pm (Plus Feb 26 participate in one of the Seattle U Middle School Tournaments; returners can also participate in a Jan 15 SU tournament for an additional fee.)

    • Does not meet week of MLK holiday.


  • Weeks of Jan 3-Feb 25, Choose Tue or Thurs

    • 6:00pm to 8:20pm first two classes  (after that, class is 6:00 to 7:10pm or 7:10 to 8:20pm--you choose)

    • Plus two tournaments on Friday afternoon-evening/Saturday all day--in January-February (actual tournament dates to be decided when we finalize our high school tournament schedule).


Register by Jan. 2. Classes start Jan. 3.

New & Experienced Students

  • NEW STUDENTS: Students begin by learning key skills for debating. The structure of an argument, responding to opposing arguments, ask and answering questions, taking notes, making cases, researching, and synthesizing the arguments in a debate into a persuasive argument. Students work in small groups--our staff to student ratio is typically 1 to 6 students. Students engage in debates with expert feedback and engage in redos to improve their speaking and argument skills. All the while, they are building up social connections and friendships with other students who share their goals.

  • EXPERIENCED STUDENTS: Experienced students build off the debate knowledge they have gained. Working in small labs of 4 to 6 students, they learn advanced skills and strategies and how to put them into action. They are challenged by more difficult debates. They are challenged to improve their cases and responses. All along, they are working with their debate friends--a supportive, high achieving group who want the best for each other.


​*Our After School Debate Programs are held ONLINE in January-February. You need a Windows, Mac, or Chromebook computer with webcam and reliable internet.

Program Information

  • Elementary Program: Elementary students debate at a challenging but supportive level. They research topics, take both sides on the topic, and present cases, refute opposing cases, defend their cases and summarize the debate to persuade their judges. Topics are mostly chosen by students and have included school cell phone use, ending plastic bags, video game effects on kids, vaccine mandates, and cigarette sales. Students have a culminating experience in the last 4 classes which are a tournament. Recognitions for all and awards for top teams and speakers finish the program.

  • Middle School Program: Middle Students debate the Puget Sound debate league formats (3 on 3 MS Parli in the fall and winter; Public Forum debate in the spring). They learn research skills, presenting cases, refuting, defending their arguments, and summarizing the debate to persuade their judges. Topics are mostly chosen by students and the Puget Sound Debate League and have included health care worker vaccine mandates, switching to the metric system, and football helmets. Students have a culminating experience at the end of the program, competing in the Seattle University Middle School tournament--one of the biggest tournaments on the west coast with 400+ debaters competing (and one where Climb has won dozens and dozens of awards). 

  • Speech Program: For Grades 4-12. Details to be announced on March 1.

  • High School Program (not available in the April-May session): High School Students debate in the Western Washington high school tournament circuit. (LD debate). They learn about values, philosophy, and current issues reflecting choices society is making. They learn research, case building, responding, and rebuttal arguments to persuade judges. Topics are chosen by the national organization NSDA. Students have a culminating experience in attending two high school tournaments.


You will be able to register on March 1 for the April-May program