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HST Special Issue No. 100 – Beyond the School Walls

By Karissa Niehoff and Mark Beckman on January 22, 2020 hst Print

In May of 2007, the NFHS invited about a dozen people to attend a meeting in Indianapolis to help the organization start a national magazine – and the meeting invite came with lofty goals. The magazine was intended to be a slick, four-color publication covering key issues in high school athletics and performing arts and was going to be shipped directly to high schools – something that had never been done previously – and sent to the principal, superintendent and school board president in each school – also a first. It also was intended for athletic directors and state association leaders, who previously received NFHS publications.

These individuals – a coach, athletic director, principal, superintendent, athletic trainer, performing arts educator, official, state association administrator, state association media director, legal counsel, school board president and guidance counselor – accepted the challenge and came away with a name for the publication and an outline of the first issue to be published in September 2007.

Thus, High School Today was born, and some 12½ years later, we are pleased to present our readers with this 100th issue. Four of the original members of the Publications Committee are still on board – Lee Green, Steffen Parker, David Hoch and Treva Dayton – and, collectively, have authored more than 350 articles. Without a doubt, this magazine has been one of the most successful ventures ever undertaken by the NFHS.

A few months earlier in 2007, the NFHS embarked on another project which has achieved equal success and will celebrate its own milestone this month. The NFHS Learning Center – online education courses originally known as the NFHS Coach Education Program – kicked off in January 2007 and 13 years later this month will hit 10 million courses delivered to coaches, officials, administrators, music and speech educators, parents, students and others.

Led by core courses Fundamentals of Coaching and First Aid, Health and Safety, as well as many popular free courses such as Concussion in Sports, Engaging Effectively with Parents, Sportsmanship and Sudden Cardiac Arrest, more than 70 courses are now available at www.NFHSLearn.com.

As a means of celebrating the 100th issue of High School Today, we bring to you this special edition titled “Athletics/Activities: Beyond the School Walls.” While much attention is given to the daily athletics and activities programs within the school setting – and rightfully so – this issue is devoted to the importance of these vital programs beyond the school walls and out into the community.

Not only do education-based athletics and performing arts – football, volleyball, baseball, speech and debate, music and many others – help prepare students for life after high school and successful careers, these programs are beneficial to the ongoing vibrant life within communities throughout the country. In short, schools need residents and businesses in the community to help sustain athletics programs, and communities need these programs.

Our lead feature by Steve Amaro on page 16 reviews the countless positive effects after high school for those students who participate in athletics and activities.

Among the other seven feature articles in this issue are four relating to athletics and activities programs beyond the school walls.

Matt Heckel discusses how schools can share their facilities with outside groups in his article on page 46. While regularly scheduled school events have first priority, letting other groups in the community use the school’s athletic facilities exposes the school and its programs to more individuals in the community.

In a feature on page 38, Lisa Myran-Schutte suggests that school leaders meet with important groups in the communities, such as churches, to make sure that school events are not scheduled at conflicting times.

In his article on page 32 regarding community involvement in fundraising, David Hoch says single-day fundraisers – in addition to generating extra funds – can serve to connect and involve the community. He said any time that schools can get more people attending events or participating in fundraisers, the more money they should be able to raise.

Tim Leighton’s article on page 42 focuses on how schools can provide a larger presence for the school’s athletics history by creating an Athletics Hall of Fame to honor and recognize former players and coaches.

Other features discuss ways that athletic departments can effectively use social media, the need for setting expectations for parents of student-athletes and a look at the various structures of state high school associations.

Lastly, we thank you the readers for your support and for the great work you do each and every day for high school athletics and activities programs.