After a solid year of use, our website DID grow substantially, just not in the way we anticipated! Like virtually everything else, the COVID-19 pandemic really threw off the time we would normally spend updating the site (April & May). That being said, the pandemic did really stretch our thinking with this site!
Over the past year, here's what we're celebrating as new additions to this ambitious project:
So what's on the agenda this year?
We still want to get a volunteer page, student page, judge page, and curriculum page established. But honestly, that's probably going to be on hold for a while longer.
As the world of education continues to change, we'll use this website to organize our Speech & Debate community. We don't know exactly what that looks like just yet -- needs were emerge as the pandemic continues -- but we expect a frequently changing calendar and (potentially) hosting or supporting virtual tournaments will be a thing!
Stay healthy everyone!
For decades, Speech & Debate in our region - like most regions in the United States - has consisted of several different organizations. Each organization offers coaches and students specific benefits related to the specific purpose of that organization. That's still true today, and the activity of Speech & Debate in our region is very strong because of these various organizations. In fact, each organization provides so much benefit to its members that most head coaches affiliate with a mixture that fits their programs the best.
The organizations listed have collaborated in one way or another for decades because, despite different purposes or foci, all the organizations have one common mission: Support the rich academic environment of high school Speech & Debate.
But that collaboration also created confusion: Each organization had it's own web presence. A coach may frequently, in the course of their year, need to access the GSL website, then the MSHSAA website, then the NSDA website... it was inefficient, confusing, and a barrier for new coaches coming into our community. Worse... if there was a bit of information that pertained to EVERYONE regardless of affiliation (like a calendar, contact directory, list of tournaments, etc.) our community didn't have one place for a coach to look for that.
This needed to change.
In the Fall of 2018, Jennifer Raymond (President, GSL), Robyn Haug (Chair, MSHSAA District #4), and Justin Seiwell (Chair, EastMO NSDA) came together to build ONE WEBSITE to point coaches (and eventually volunteers, judges, and students) in the right direction!
The plan was to go very slow and build it "right." We planned to spend roughly a year slowly building everything and release a fully functional, robust, community-based digital home by 2020.
However, on January 1, 2019, right before the "Districts Season" the "EastMO NSDA" website crashed and could not be recovered. Plans were accelerated to get coaches the information they NEED to lead their teams through MSHSAA and NSDA Districts.
We launched this site on January 4th, 2019 -- just six weeks after we came up with the initial concept. It was NO WHERE near finished, but we needed something out there.
So now this project is out there for the public, but at the same time it's still being built.
HERE'S WHAT WE'VE BUILT SO FAR:
Because of the early launch, we focused entirely on COACHES.
HERE'S WHERE WE'RE GOING:
We'll provide updates as we go to this blog.
If you would like to help in this project, contact firstname.lastname@example.org! We could really use it!