When planning your workflow to maximize productivity, proper organization is key to making sure work is done properly and accordingly. After all, a cluttered work environment can lead to more mistakes being made and even missed deadlines! By prioritizing organization among students, assigned work is easier to complete and less stressful. Organization among a yearbook staff can include giving students the proper tools they need, effective storage solutions, a clear plan ahead of time, and associates and colleagues to assist in the process.
ORGANIZATION--There is always lots to organize at the beginning of a school year. Yearbook class has some special considerations:
1. Technology--make sure that whatever technology is used is working. Consider what software is going to be used and make sure it is accessible and working on the laptops, desktops, or tablets available to students. Determine what protocols for student use of technology might be--i.e. laptop or tablet check-out system.
online learning tools (https://www.weareteachers.com/virtual-learning-platforms/) your school or district supports and integrate Yearbook as needed
into the platform.
2. Digital Photo Storage--determine what storage is available for Yearbook to access for all photography. The storage has to be partitioned for use by not only Yearbook student contributors but for parents, teachers, coaches, and perhaps local news media as well. Take time to plan the use of this space. Logins, passwords, space allotments, folders, retrieval, and placement of photos--whatever the teacher/advisor deems is important to the use of that space--all require thoughtful structure.
The students will drive much of the decision-making; the teacher/advisor will keep the momentum going.
3. Calendar--deadlines are important. If Yearbook is a class, arbitrary endpoints are in play through grades. However, if Yearbook is an ad hoc or co-curricular activity, a calendar is huge. So, devise a schedule of the first few days for a select group of students to grab back-to-school snapshots and capture quotes from students and faculty alike. The students will drive much of the decision-making; the teacher/advisor will keep the momentum going. For the balance of the school year, United Publications offers a “ladder” format to systemize the work of the Yearbook--page by page, deadline by deadline.
"Partnering with admin goes a long way if and when problems arise."
4. Administration--parts of the Yearbook can become controversial. Senior Quotes are one such example. Inappropriate signs in a photo are another. It is important that the teacher/advisor and the administration have open communication and an understanding of expectations for the Yearbook. Making an appointment with the school’s admin to visit with them about expectations and concerns prior to school starting is a good idea. Find out, too, who the ‘go to’ administrator for all things Yearbook--from parents to financials--would be. Partnering with admin goes a long way if and when problems arise. It is not a bad idea, for example, to add this administrator to the editor list for the problematic Senior Quote section.
Fellow teachers and staff are essential to the success of a Yearbook.
5. Colleagues--fellow teachers and staff are essential to the success of a Yearbook. Lots of beginning of the year information is shared at those first faculty and staff meetings--try to get on the agenda for one! This is a perfect opportunity to invite colleagues to support Yearbook students and their work by letting fellow teachers know what to expect from the students: seeking permission via email to pop into classes to take pictures, setting up interviews, or simply taking candid pictures in the hallways or during lunch. Share with colleagues the Digital Photo Storage to which they also have access--consider taking a couple of photos of the group, and walking them through the process on a screen. Also, make a list of teachers who sponsor co-curricular activities like Mock Trial, Science Olympiads, Robotics, etc. The teacher/sponsor might take pictures at competitions.
Lucy McHugh, Yearbook Leadership Mentor
Lucy comes to United Yearbook Printing via a 38-year career in public and private school education. She was a former yearbook adviser at Xavier College Preparatory High School. She earned a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Nebraska in 2000. And in 2014 earned a Certificate in Catholic School Leadership from Loyola Marymount University. Lucy taught K-12 Art and was awarded the 2001 Nebraska Art Teacher of the Year, and in 2010 she was awarded Nebraska Elementary Art Teacher of the Year. Most recently Lucy was awarded the 2017 CA High School Art Teacher of the Year.