You can feel it. It’s almost here. You can almost see it. You can even almost smell it. Summer! But wait…here are 5 yearbook end of the year to-dos before the last bell rings.
1. HAVE A PARTY
Celebrate and welcome your newly selected yearbook staff members at an introductory meeting/party where you can initiate them (kindly) into the Yerd world. Be sure to include some ice breakers and get-to-know-you activities. Assign returning staff members as mentors to new staff members (1:2 or 1:3 works just fine!) and have the mentors hand out and go over your newly updated staff manual as well a little “welcome to the family gift” (a decorated cubbie, yearbook flair, Starbucks card, staff t-shirt, etc.) Whatever you can do now to include your new staff members will go a long way to having a cohesive staff in the fall.
2. GET SOME FEEDBACK
Have the class write a readership survey to distribute with your book. You can even create an on-line version through such sites as Surveymonkey.com, freeonlinesurveys.com and adobe.com/FormsCentral. Offer fun rewards for anyone to logs on and takes the survey.
3. CLEAN UP AND ORGANIZE
A clean work space makes happy workers. Clean out closets, drawers, cubbies–and be ruthless. Save only things that you will definitely use next year. Toss out old photos, posters, layout forms, magazines, etc. Inventory and re-order supplies for next year. Delete old computer files, backup and organize hard drives or servers. Create a plan for a better organized digital photo storage, paper storage, magazine storage, note filing, etc. The more space you can create, the more creative you are free to be. Make new forms (photo requests, story assignments, beat sheets and evaluation/grading forms/rubrics) for next year. Get the school calendar and athletic schedules to assist with coverage and deadline planning. Make sure you have current contact information for all professional photographers and sports coaches. Contact each of them now to establish communication about your future deadlines and needs.
4. WRITE AND DELIVER THANK YOUS
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. It takes a village to create a yearbook. Write thank you notes to administrators, teachers who supported your efforts all year, advertisers, parents, custodians, secretaries, coaches and any others who assisted the staff with the production and completion of the book. Note cards can be student-designed or purchased, but it’s the hand-written personal message inside that is of the most value. Consider giving them a yearbook signed by all the staff members.
5. SELECT A YEARBOOK CAMP
Nothing will prepare you for next year like time spent at a summer yearbook camp. Find a camp near you to attend and organize fund-raisers to help staffers and/or the yearbook budget with costs. We recommend that at least your editor(s) attend something over the summer or in early fall to help with the planning process and to get a big dose of creative motivation and inspiration (not to mention the chance to hang out with a fun, positive group of other Yerds!)
5 1/2. HAVE A YERDY SUMMER
Ok, so this is really what to do AFTER that last bell rings, but we think it’s pretty important. Keep your eyes open all summer for typography, photography and layout designs that catch your eye. Look at everything through a yearbook filter…how can it be used in your publication? Magazine layouts, college brochures, TV ads, billboards, restaurant menues, blog posts…everything has the potential to spark an idea or generate a theme. Follow designers on Twitter and Pintrest. Read design and photography blogs. Look at lots and lots and lots of magazines and design annuals. Take note of color combinations and pallets that catch your eye. And take pictures of everything to share with your staff at camp or in the fall. You’ll be so glad you did!