Now Hiring: Program Officer for School Support

Program Officer for School Support

Are you looking for a role where you can make a difference?  Are you interested in helping deserving Chicago youth to advance their academic achievements, community contributions, and life success?  If so, consider joining the Chicago Debates team.

Through the transformational activity of debate, Chicago Debates empowers Chicago youth to find their voice, succeed in college and career, and become community leaders.  In partnership with Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Debates administers and supports debate programming in nearly 90 middle and high schools across the city.  As the largest urban policy debate league in the country, we will support approximately 1600 CPS students in the 2018-2019 school year.

Position Overview

Chicago Debates seeks a mission driven, engaging, and service-oriented candidate with a demonstrated passion for education to join our team.  The Full-Time Program Officer for School Support will assist us in achieving our mission of advancing the educational achievement, community contributions, and life success of Chicago’s youth through the transformative power of academic debate.  The Program Officer for School Support will work in collaboration with other program staff members and report to the Director of Programs.

Core Responsibilities

  • Provide support for a portfolio of CPS Schools.
    • In-person site visits to meet with teachers and community coaches for to provide onboarding and training (average of 4 visits a week from September – April).
    • Provide virtual support via regular e-mail/phone/text check-ins with coaches throughout the year.
    • Communicate with school leadership, including Principals and Assistant Principals to build support, provide updates, and to manage coaches.
  • Create curricular materials to support coach onboarding and training for coaches, including lesson plans, afterschool meeting activities, Powerpoint trainings, video or podcast tutorials, etc.
    • Assist in the research and editing process of evidence to create debate arguments and curriculum for the year (including the Core Files).
  • Act in role of Tournament Director, including pre-tournament preparation and on-site tournament event management (average 2 weekends a month from October – April).
  • Assist in the administration and facilitation of Chicago Debate Summer Institute, its instruction and preparation.
  • Assist the Program Director and other Chicago Debates staff in responsible record-keeping, payments, and budgeting.
  • Gather data in a responsible manner and assist in tracking and reporting.
    • Update rosters/spreadsheets tracking student and coach participation.
    • Evaluate academic debate skills as part of Qualitative Assessment
    • Assist in the design and refinement of student evaluation.
    • Design, deliver, and compile program survey data.
  • Representing Chicago Debates in the community, including:
    • Preparing and delivering debate events held by sponsors at law firms or corporations, representing our organization well at these events.
    • Assist in the preparation and delivery of special debate events, public events and fundraisers, conferences, etc.
  • Assist in the design and delivery of events to motivate and recognize students and teachers.
  • Other duties as assigned.


  • Bachelor’s degree required.
  • At least one (1) year of experience in a role involving teaching, training, and/or curriculum and instructional resource design in a school, non-profit, or other human service organization.
  • Previous debate experience a plus, as either a coach, administrator or as a student competitor, especially in urban debate.
  • Demonstrated ability to teach and train a variety of learners, including students of all ages and adult learners like teachers and volunteers with little debate experience.
  • Demonstrated ability to deliver high-quality and engaging trainings.
  • Experience in urban education a plus.
  • Previous experience in Chicago Public Schools preferred.
  • Experience designing and delivering large-scale, time-sensitive events involving hundreds of students, volunteers, or other groups highly desirable.
  • Must have ability to prioritize multiple assignments; work independently; communicate about challenges; plan; and most importantly, follow through.
  • Experience using technology and tabulation software like Speechwire preferred.
  • Advanced computer skills in Google Suite (Gmail, Google calendar, Google forms and Google Drive) and Microsoft Suite (Word, Excel, Powerpoint and their Google Docs equivalents).

Other Requirements

  • Valid driver’s license and clean driving record required.
  • Daily access to a reliable vehicle for work is required.
  • Legal clearance to work with minors.  Must pass a background check, TB test, and any others required by Chicago Public Schools (potentially including a drug test).
  • Strong ethics, maturity, and appropriate boundaries for adult interactions with minors, including compliance with all Chicago Public Schools HR and reporting requirements.
  • Must be available to work nights and weekends for much of the school year.
  • Willingness to travel and work beyond regular office hours during our tournament season from October – April, when long and late weekends are frequently the norm (average 2 weekends a month).
  • Physical demands include working at the computer but also carrying supplies (boxes up to 50 pounds, paper, printers, computer, t-shirts, food, etc.) for tournaments and teams from your car to a variety of school and event locations.


  • Strong connection to the Chicago Debates mission.
  • Empathy, humility, flexibility and willingness to serve and lead teachers, students, volunteers, and contract staff in an often-challenging and fast-changing urban education setting.
  • Positive, solution-oriented approach in a team working toward common goals.
  • Strong cultural competency in serving a diverse population of teachers and learners with a variety of needs and challenges and communication styles.
  • Strong interpersonal, verbal and written communication skills.
  • A self-starter, creative, and forward thinker.
  • Strong work and financial ethics.
  • Must have the utmost integrity and an ability to process, protect and exercise discretion in handling confidential information and materials.
  • Professional and ethical commitment to student protection and student privacy.

Work Schedule

Full-Time, Monday through Friday, 10:00am-6:00pm with an expected work week of 40-50 hours.  Ability to work remotely one day a week.

This position includes frequent weekend work during the tournament season from October – April, including late evenings and early mornings. These dates are identified in advance in our calendar, with an expectation to work on average two weekends a month. Comp time is offered for a full day of weekend work, with some stipulations.


Entry level range $40k-$43k. Final salary to be determined based on experience and skills.  Full-time employees are eligible for health insurance, PTO, Sick Days, and Holidays. Chicago Debates is seeking a commitment of at least two years.

To Apply

Submit a cover letter, resume, and salary requirements to David Song, Director of Programs at

Hiring Process

The position will begin as soon as June 2019, pending candidate’s availability. Qualified candidates must be available for:

  • A Round 1 group interview on May 22, 2019.
  • Candidates who advance to a Round 2 interview should be available on May 30, 2019.
  • Candidates who advance to a Round 3 interview should be available on June 5, 2019.

Chicago Debates is an equal opportunity employer.



2 openings available