Speech Season Overview

Middle Level Season #


Initial Registration Opens

Mid-January – Early February

Level 1 Festivals
Virtual Level 1

Mid-February – Early March

Level 2 Festivals
Virtual Level 2

Students must participate in Level 1 to advance to Level 2. All participants earn “Merit” or “Excellence” ribbons for each level.

High School Season #


Initial Registration Opens

Late February

Subdistrict Festivals
Virtual Subdistrict

Late March

District Festivals
Virtual District

After in-person State

State Festival
Virtual State

High school students must earn qualifying scores at subdistrict and district to advance, and they earn medals at State.

Membership + Coach #

Schools must be members of our Association to participate. A school should designate an employee or vetted (background-checked) volunteer to coach. The coach is the administrative contact for registering, making arrangements for the squad to participate (such as traveling to contests), and supervises students at contests. They also teach tactics of speaking and performance as well as guiding each individual or group entry in their development of presentation of their specific material, so understanding rules (both overarching as well as for each category), and evaluation criteria are essential for guiding student success.

Eligibility #

Please see Eligibility Rules for detailed student requirements.

Contest Dates/Locations #

For Middle Level, by November 1, any interested WISDAA school can request to host a Level 1 and/or Level 2 festival.

For High School, WISDAA district chairs report to the State Office subdistrict and district Speech festival dates/locations for their district, and confirm which schools are assigned to which subdistricts (with exception of a few districts, where coaches choose in the same manner as Middle Level festivals). Where subdistricts are assigned, coaches must seek permission of their district chair to participate elsewhere.

Each school’s coach accesses the WISDAA Middle or High School Speech Initial Registration in SpeechWire (see middle/high timeframes/details below) and selects the first and second festivals they’ll attend. From this time until about 2-3 weeks before the first WISDAA festival they will attend, coaches may log back in and make changes to registration, until the cutoff date for changes set by the festival host. The State Office will “push” entry data to that festival host (and will later push entries to the second festival level).

Middle Level Season #

WISDAA Middle Level Speech Initial Registration is available in SpeechWire from mid- to late-December through mid-January and coaches may choose festivals for geographic proximity/scheduling compatibility:

  • Level 1 festivals happen mid-January through mid-February
  • Level 2 festivals happen late January-early March

All middle level students who participate in a Level 1 festival are permitted to participate in a Level 2 festival, provided they still meet interscholastic eligibility guidelines. For Level 2, coaches may drop an entry who will no longer participate, or move that entry to the statewide virtual Level 2 festival. They also will confirm/add adjudicators for each contest in which they have entries.

High School Season #

WISDAA High School Speech Initial Registration is available in SpeechWire from mid-January through mid-February and coaches select their assigned Subdistrict festival (February) and District festival (March). One of the first steps in initially registering is for coaches to book a State Festival time slot in mid-April (Friday evening or Saturday morning); these are available on a first come, first served basis; they are selected initially to allow schools to make travel arrangements for the State Festival. A vast majority of schools advance contestants to the State Festival, hence this planning step.

Entries are not compared to/ranked against one another; each performance is evaluated on its own merits. As entries earn qualifying scores to advance through the series, coaches may drop entries who will no longer participate, or move that entry to the virtual festival for the next level. They also will confirm/add adjudicators for each contest in which they have entries.

Scores to Advance #

  • Subdistrict: over the course of three rounds each entry must earn at least two scores of 16 or better to move on to the district level. This is done automatically through SpeechWire.
  • District: over three rounds each entry must earn at least two scores of 21 or better to move on to the State level.
  • State: each entry presents one round; entries earning 25 points receive a gold medal; entries earning 23-24 points receive a silver medal; entries earning 20-22 points receive a bronze medal; entries earning 5-19 points receive a copper medal.

Key Information Pages #

Updated on 02/09/2024
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