April 27, 2017 / New Advisers

Adviser Academy offers special support for new yearbook advisers

Written by Sarah Scott

Walsworth’s Adviser Academy is approaching quickly. This three-day workshop in Kansas City offers professional development, inspiration and the chance to collaborate with fellow advisers.

The workshop brings together yearbook advisers and experts from all over the United States. Sabrina Schmitz, CJE, will be an instructor, with focus on advisers who are just starting to find their way.

What she’ll be teaching new advisers: “Everything you don’t know you don’t know.”

Schmitz will go over the obvious parts of yearbook, like creating a cover and spread design. But she will also teach new advisers the important yet easily overlooked aspects of yearbook, such as staff organization and management, staff rules and responsibilities, photo days, coverage, distribution, marketing, and book and ad sales.

“All those other little pieces that sometimes can blindside people or can fall through the cracks. We want to make sure new advisers feel 100 percent prepared going into the school year.”

Schmitz said Adviser Academy offers something most advisers don’t get at their school – the chance to be surrounded by people who also do yearbook every day. Yearbook is very specialized, so professional development opportunities are rare for advisers wanting to learn how to do their advising job better.

“That’s why Adviser Academy is so special. It fills that gap.”

The workshop gives yearbook advisers the chance to hear what other people do and what ideas they have. “So it’s a win-win all around.”

Presentations will be made available online, but Schmitz said you’ll gain much more from attending.

“There’s just something totally different about being in a room where you can ask questions and have discussions.”

New advisers may be hesitant to take on anything extra, but Schmitz said it’s time well-spent. “If you spend the couple days at Adviser Academy getting this information, and learning and growing in your adviser career, it totally pays off the rest of the year. It’s going to save you time and energy later.”

Schmitz knows what it’s like to be a first-year adviser. She started teaching in 2008 at J.W. Mitchell High School in New Port Richey, Florida, and took over yearbook halfway through that first year.

“I’ve been hooked ever since.”

When Schmitz was offered a chance to work at Walsworth, she jumped at the chance to do yearbook full-time, and has been a sales rep for the last three years.

She was lucky enough to have a lot of support her first year as an adviser, but knows that’s not the case for everyone.

“I know not every adviser gets handed a well-run program, and has people there to help and support them along the way.”

Schmitz knows it’s not easy that first year, and new advisers are dealing with a lot of moving pieces. She wants to help before they begin the school year.

“If they can really grab hold of it that first year, and they have a good first-year experience, it can be the most rewarding job in the world.”

Adviser Academy will be held July 10-12, 2017, at the Kansas City Marriott Country Club Plaza, with an optional plant tour or advanced tech training on July 13.

Sarah Scott
Sarah Scott

Sarah Scott is a content writer for Walsworth, specializing in blog posts, eBooks and case studies for the web. She’s been writing most of her life, and previously worked as a radio journalist. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri.