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How to Build a Strong Yearbook Team: Recruiting and Retaining Staff Members


Student meeting with a teacher or adviser. Both of them have smiles and seem to be enjoying the conversation

You and your staff have worked diligently in the trenches of yearbook and emerged victorious. Although bittersweet, you may be wondering how to keep your current staff and how to recruit new members for next year's publication. Here are some intentional steps to build a solid yearbook team.


Utilize Check-ins with your Staff

Communication throughout the year is key! Frequency and effectiveness in one-on-one brief meetings weekly or every 2 weeks will keep everyone on course. This will allow you to gauge how students are handling their workload, and their feelings on the work. Continue to meet after the yearbook is completed. Applaud their strengths, discuss their struggles, and strategize how to change the approach or embrace the conflicts.


As part of the strategy looking toward next year, discuss areas of growth with your students and cast a vision for the positions they may fill. Set them up for success and challenge them to stretch their talents. Activate student leadership to assist you in encouraging each other. Students want to be seen and feel understood. They want to have an impact. Create a safe space for that dialogue to take place.


Hands are piled into the center as a team

Reflect on Feedback as a Team

Be proactive and be alert to any themes you notice during your staff check-ins. What lessons need to be addressed by the team? Start discussions about the weaknesses or struggles the team has faced and what ideas they have to change in the next year. If your current staff sees you are serious about improving the yearbook, they will be more likely to commit. Follow through and execute their suggestions for change! 


Connect with Teachers

Recruiting new students is vital. Fresh insight and approach will always benefit the receiver. There are different approaches to recruiting students, the most familiar one is a generalized announcement to promote the yearbook. Yet you have resources all around you. Teachers! Contact English teachers, art teachers, speech and debate teachers, ASB teachers, and those teachers who have insight into individuals with skills in writing, graphic design, photography, and speech. Ask your staff members for suggestions of skilled peers who would be a good match. They are the eyes and ears of the school.


Meet Prospective Staff

Once you have compiled a list of prospective students for the yearbook team, reach out to connect with them. But do it with flair! Ask one of their teachers if the student can be pulled from class for five minutes to meet with you. Give them a brief (1-2 minute) yearbook pitch. Talk about the strengths their teacher sees in them and how they would be a powerful addition to your team. This provides a firm foundation of acceptance, appreciation for their talent, and confirmation they will bring value to the yearbook team.


A student is at a podium giving a presentation to a group of other students

Hold an Interest Meeting

The final step is to hold an interest meeting. An interest meeting is held for any students interested in joining the yearbook the following year. Any prospective student can attend to gain an up-close look at all things yearbook! Ask different staff members to give testimonials about their contributions to the yearbook. Illustrate the yearbook by preparing a PowerPoint with page spreads, and surprise them with a blank proof. Cast the vision that they will have a blank canvas to create on. Explain the 360 blank pages will be filled with memories, stories, and amazing photos that they will supply. Review the purpose of a yearbook and the part they can have in building something that will be kept for generations to come. Do not omit the fact that it takes a lot of hard work and sacrifice, but it is worth it! Challenge them, and they will rise to the occasion.


United Yearbook offers blogs on a wide range of topics. In addition, there are resources such as curriculum, and year-round workshop on this and other areas. Make sure to subscribe to our blog and our newsletter, and visit our website at www.unitedyearbook.net to learn more!


Copyright © 2024. TSE Worldwide Press. All Rights Reserved.

 

Article editor, Donna Ladner.

Editor: Donna Ladner obtained a B.A. in Education and a minor in English from California Baptist University, and a M.S. in ESL from USC, Los Angeles. After she married Daniel, their family moved to Indonesia with a non-profit organization and lived cross-culturally for 15 years before returning to the U.S in 2012. Donna has been working as an editor and proofreader for TSE Worldwide Press and its subsidiary, United Yearbook since 2015.


Former yearbook adviser, Joon Kim

Contributor: Joon Kim is starting his 29th year as a public school teacher. For the first ten years, he taught English at Bellflower High School, and for the past 18 years, he has been teaching Graphic Design, Video Production, Photography, Yearbook and Journalism at Garden Grove High School. He received his B.A. in English from UC Irvine in 1991 and while his formal education ended then, he is always learning, sharing, growing, and mentoring.


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