Forming a State Association
Honor Society chapters in states not currently offering state associations or meetings can pursue the formation of a state association using the following guidelines:
Research it. Determine the level of interest in forming a state organization. Obtain the names of schools and advisers in your state and develop a list of potential supporters for this cause. See www.nhs.us/membership for the “Search for Member Schools” tool from NASSP. The more data you can gather that demonstrates the potential support for the new association, the more likely you are to succeed in your efforts.
NOTE: Parents and members/students may not form a state association independently. Active advisers, principals, or representatives of the state principals association may undertake this task with the support of members/students and parents. The NHS and NJHS National Office (NASSP) will upon request provide a list for this purpose of all of the NHS and NJHS chapters in a state to current advisers, principals, or NASSP state affiliates. Email the national office to request the list.
Organize it. Plan an organizational meeting with a group of interested individuals, allowing plenty of time for people to get this on their calendars and to attend. Your school/chapter might like to host such a meeting to save expenses. At this meeting, you should consider some or all of the following concerns:
- What do you want this organization to do? How will it further the purposes of NHS/NJHS (as stated in the national constitutions)? What are our goals for such an organization and are those goals realistic?
- Who should belong? NHS and NJHS? Advisers and students? How will they become members (member registration process)? What will be required of members? Will there be dues to help pay for the services of the new association? Who will be the state contact? (The state contact must be an adult, and preferably a current adviser or principal of an active chapter.)
- What activities would you like to conduct? Conferences? Workshops? Contests? Scholarships?
- How will the group be organized? What officer and other leadership positions are needed? How will elections be held? Who will compose the constitution and bylaws?
- Will the group meet on an annual basis? When? What's the best time of year to meet, and if this is unknown, how will you survey your state to determine such?
- Who will contact the state principals' organization to pursue the support and recognition required per the national office guidelines? When will this meeting take place to forge the details of the support?
- What are the unanswered questions and/or next steps we need to pursue? When is this information needed?
Formalize it. Once you have the answers to the questions above, each state is required to develop an agreement between the new NHS/NJHS association and the existing state principals association. Contact the national office to obtain a copy of the appropriate form.
Publicize it. Develop a plan for getting the word out, i.e., a public relations and marketing plan to all potential member schools. Use your best organizational efforts to see that people in chapters throughout your state can recognize the value and importance of your new organization.
Several of the current state directors have indicated a willingness to confer with potential state groups to provide guidance and assistance - and important lessons learned - regarding the formation or organization of their state associations. In addition, a detailed organizational guidebook has been created to share with new state associations once the essential details noted above have been developed. For more details and assistance, contact the national office of NHS and NJHS at 1904 Association Dr., Reston, VA 20191-1537; Phone: 703-860-0200; Fax: 703-476-5432; E-mail: email@example.com.