High School Today is now 10 years old, and this issue represnts the first graphics change since we started in 2007. While it looks similar to the first issue, the 79 issues in-between represent an incredible journey.
The initial challenge was to create a modern replacement for the NFHS News, a venerated but aged two-color publication that was primarily distributed to NFHS member association and NFHS professional association
members. With High School Today, the plan was to send the publication directly to every high school in the United States.
As it was in the beginning, the focus of High School Today is the involvement of students in education-based activity programs. By keeping this premise at the forefront of everything that is published, High School Today has continued to remain relevant and reflective.
Members of the HST Publications Committee represent all areas of a school’s activity programs. These individuals not only serve as authors of articles, but identify future topics and potential authors. While the major readership groups of the magazine include athletic directors, principals, superintendents, presidents of school boards, state association staff and performing arts professionals, representation on the committee also includes athletic trainers, media, officials, coaches and legal professionals in order to provide all vital perspectives.
Under the leadership and guidance of the NFHS publications staff, High School Today and its supportive Publications Committee began to take shape with its first issue being mailed out in the Fall of 2007. While it was a publication worthy of its audience from the very start, generating enough quality material each month was difficult, but not overwhelming. As the committee continued to work, it became clear that there was much more to be shared through those pages, and the committee was encouraged to find other ways to include diverse ideas, shorter pieces of information and concepts of importance to the growing readership.
Those improvements and changes helped High School Today become a more viable communication tool for school-related vendors and, as the ads increased, so did the number of pages. With each page count increase came the additional challenges of producing enough material while maintaining the relevance and quality of each article. Throughout, the NFHS staff has continued to allow the committee members to invest themselves in this magazine, even as the committee’s makeup continues to change, just as High School Today adjusts each month to meet the needs of the readers.
What may not have been expected when the invites were sent to the initial committee members in April 2007 was the connection those members would form and how that has positively affected the quality of the articles. What started out as a diverse group, each with a different skillset, the Publications Committee has developed into a group that is ‘greater than the sum of its parts.’
Their dedication, mirrored and focused by the NFHS leadership, highlighted by High School Today’s skilled graphic designer, comes through in every issue. That is why the 75,000 issues published each month get read by multiple people in every school and every central office in the nation.
The NFHS vision and leadership have proven to be not only well-thought out decisions, but far-reaching ones as well. Through the stewardship of the Publications Committee and its dedication to the vision of what is possible, High School Today has proven to be worthy of that commitment by all involved, for all involved. That commitment has paid off.
High School Today has evolved over the past 10 years and provides insight and background to professionals involved in education-based programs. What will the next 10 years bring? Hopefully, High School Today will be better and still serving as an invaluable resource.
Steffen Parker, a member of the High School Today Publications Committee, is a music educator, computer geek and instructional support specialist from Vermont where he organizes music festivals and supports other states with online services for their events.