ARGUMENTATION AND COMMUNICATION LEADERSHIP ACADEMY (ACLA)
Developing Character through Communication
Argumentation and Communication and Leadership Academy is devoted to helping students develop character, critical thinking, and leadership skills by establishing Speech and Debate programs within the community.
How ACLA Was Created
ACLA began in early 2013 as the Primary Argumentation and Communication Education (P.A.C.E.) community outreach program started by the CSUF Forensics Team and Instructor/Speech and Debate Coach Willie Washington. The program was implemented at a local elementary in the Fullerton area. Through the P.A.C.E. program, a Speech and Debate (Forensics) team was established to teach critical thinking and competent communication proficiencies. The program focused on the theoretical principles found in the collegiate discipline, Communication. The students learned vital life skills along with the Speech and Debate Curriculum. The program was a success and beneficial to both the students as well as the coaching staff. (Click here to see a letter from Teacher of the Year Theresa Ryan). Noticing a need for this type of program throughout education, P.A.C.E. evolved into an independent non-profit organization known as ACLA to focus on students of all ages and provide valuable life skills.
ACLA is currently a OneOC fiscally sponsored project.
After school programs and teams in local schools
ACLA works with schools to develop and maintain a speech and debate team. We will provide on-site coaches, hold practice sessions, and tailor lesson plans for each school. Speech and debate teams may work toward displaying what they have learned in a variety of venues: school assemblies, local speech and debate tournaments, or advocate for change in their community.
Hosting our own tournaments and preparing students for outside tournaments
Our students participate in monthly tournaments hosted by ACLA. Students will compete against other students in other schools and be exposed for healthy competition. Our tournaments are a community event filled with activities and support from families, teachers, and more. Occasionally students will also compete in other local tournaments to show off their skill.
Keeping our coaches and students safe with online speech and debate
Our classes have gone virtual! We have continued to host online classes where coaches will be holding online sessions teaching valuable skills, and preparing them for virtual competitions.
The ACLA Network is a combination of schools and academies that come together and form the ACLA competition team. The team is comprised of students in different ACLA programs throughout southern California. The goal of the network is to bring competitors together from different backgrounds and create a community where students can engage in civil discourse with peers they do not traditionally get to interact with. Through these interactions, the network promotes unity, diversity acceptance, and inclusion.
“I noticed that my daughter used to make herself smaller and more quiet outside of our home, now when we are out she is more confident in speaking up and her teacher has also mentioned that she volunteers more information in class. Overall it has been a great confidence booster for my daughter & as long as your program is available near us she will be involved.”
Red Hill Elementary Parent
Successful collaborations between ACLA and our many school teams and sites We have hosted classes and programs at each of these sites with their students.
TUSTIN UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
Heideman Elementary School
Thorman Elementary School
Red Hill Elementary School
Columbus Tustin Middle School
IRVINE PUBLIC SCHOOLS FOUNDATION
Santiago Hills Elementary
Canyon View Elementary
Bonita Canyon Elementary
Cypress Village Elementary
Beacon Park School
Sierra Vista Middle School
Meadow Park Elementary
Stone Creek Elementary
Plaza Vista Middle School
Portola Springs Elementary
College Park Elementary
WESTMINSTER SCHOOL DISTRICT
Johnson Middle School
Warner Middle School
Stacey Middle School
PLACENTIA YORBA LINDA UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
Classes hosted at Strategic Kids
Want to bring ACLA Speech and Debate to your school? Contact us to bring a program to your school!
Looking back at just a few of our successful events from the last year!
STAR WARS TOURNAMENT
Our largest event of the year is our December tournament hosted by ACLA at Heideman Elementary School. This year's tournament was Star Wars themed on December 7, 2019. We had hundreds of students compete from our schools and other academies. There was food, fun activities, and healthy competition.
NATIONAL SPEECH AND DEBATE EDUCATION DAY
March 6, 2020 was National Speech and Debate Education Day. In celebration we hosted a tournament at Springbrook Elementary with our other Irvine Public Schools Foundation teams. Students competed while their families cheered them on in celebration of the program that is shaping these students into competent communicators.
ACLA VIRTUAL TOURNAMENT
On April 30, 2020-May 5, 2020 ACLA hosted its first ever fully virtual tournament! To keep our students and coaches safe during this time, students were able to receive coaching online and prepare for this tournament. Many of our students competed and hung out between rounds in our virtual hangout room with other competitors and coaches.