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Teamwork Makes the Dream Work: Navigating the Final Yearbook Submission with Students and Faculty

Updated: Apr 4

A person is hitting the final yearbook submission button on a computer keyboard.

The final yearbook submission is approaching! Here are a few critical items to keep in mind as you prepare to hit the button to submit the final version. The final submission is the end result of a comprehensive critiquing process. A successful critique process doesn't happen in a vacuum. This routine starts at the very beginning of the year and develops over time.

In addition to the comprehensive class critique process, it is important to have several people reviewing the yearbook before submitting it, and hopefully, you have already designated those people. If you do not, then work quickly. When I was an adviser, my staff and I purposefully chose to select several key faculty members and administrators to be ready for the end-year review. We made appointments with them to tell them why we needed their help and gave them a vision for their part in the team. Our key faculty were the administrator who oversaw the yearbook, the Athletic Director, the Registrar, the Director of Student Life, and an English teacher or two.

A page spread that features the senior portraits and quotes

Here's how they offered support: The Athletic Director and the coaches reviewed the printed athletic section to verify that all names were included and correctly spelled and any statistics were accurate. The Registrar kindly reviewed all student portraits double checking that all students were properly ordered alphabetically, watched for duplications, looked for spelling errors, and kept us up-to-date with new students who needed to be added to portrait pages. The Director of Student Life and the student government leaders reviewed student activities for similar items--especially student names correctly listed and spelled. And the blessed English teachers read for clarity. The Administrator assessed the overall look of the book to see if it was developed correctly as a historical record and as a PR tool for the school. They also shrewdly reviewed the Senior Section to give the last work on senior quotes, for the correct use of superlatives, and any other aspects of the senior spread. 

It may be that you do not have a relationship with the key faculty to review the yearbook. If that is the circumstance, your yearbook staff will make excellent ambassadors to invite those key faculty members to consider helping with the final review. Select a core group of students to meet and chat with faculty about. the yearbook needs. Have students write down their questions, and practice asking them before the appointments. As the adviser, you make the appointment and send the students. Who can say no to a student?

A page spread that features the faculty members of this high school

Yet, even with the eyes of those supportive faculty, there is still the final edit. The pages were complete. In my class, the yearbook staff agreed to be satisfied with the minor edits that may have needed to be addressed. This final edit was usually accomplished by a small cadre of volunteers. There was no grading involved. It was simply for the sake of a job well done. Their motivation came from their understanding the student body was counting on them to make an excellent book. A few students, a tight group, is all that's necessary. 

One thing I discovered that was important to teach my students was an appreciation of imperfection. It can be beautiful. After all, no one, and nothing, is perfect. The main goal is to work at embodying the mission statement you compose together. Keep that statement in front of you all year, and when the end weeks come, it will make the reviewing clearer and easier. Together you choose when to push the button to submit, and together you embrace that the imperfections are part of the uniqueness of your yearbook. 

Once you meet that goal and the button is pushed, it is time to take a deep breath and enjoy your accomplishment. Share the exhaustion while you celebrate the victory! You and your special cadre of volunteers will celebrate quietly (but enthusiastically) the fact you held it together as a team and reached the end.

In closing, you make the final decision about how to vet the pages, who to involve in the process, the guidelines for critique, and when to submit. However you manage it, once the button has been pushed, be free, let it go, take a deep breath, and get your students together to celebrate a job well done! Take some time to analyze your process through the year and recognize what happened. You want to understand how your team was able to successfully create a yearbook, and when you are in the thick of it, it isn't usually recognizable. So, celebrate! Great job, advisers. We applaud you and your students! 

United Yearbook offers resources, curriculum, and on-site workshops on this and other topics. To learn more, contact us at or visit our website at For more resources, check out our podcast episode on dealing with the stress of deadlines!

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Former yearbook adviser, Lucy McHugh.

Contributor: Lucy McHugh comes to United Yearbook Printing from a 39-year career in public and private school education. She was a former visual art teacher and yearbook adviser. She received a Bachelors of Science in Art from Columbia College in Columbia, SC, 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 enjoys her family, making art and gardening.

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.


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