April 2, 2024 / Adviser Academy

Five Key Adviser Academy Takeaways We Apply in the Classroom

Written by Julia Pappacoda

Putting together a printed publication with hundreds of pages can be intimidating. Without guidance it becomes easy to feel overwhelmed. How do you get students motivated to attend events and take pictures? What tools increase book sales? Can there be systems in place to keep photos organized? Walsworth’s Adviser Academy answers all these questions and so much more.

The summer event allows advisers to choose sessions based on their personal experience level. This professional development experience also provides networking opportunities. Simply put, Walsworth’s Adviser Academy is the place to be to have a successful year. Below are five reasons to attend the 2024 Adviser Academy, happening June 26-27 with tech training Aug. 5.

A Stronger Marketing Campaign

One goal of yearbook is to sell more books than last year. Adviser’s Academy provides the ideas and resources to create a detailed marketing sales plan. The sessions discuss ways to make sure yearbook sale information reaches the entire student body of a campus. One marketing idea presented at the 2023 event was team jerseys. Advisers were encouraged to have their staff design a shirt that identifies yearbook at school events. Once the shirts are made, yearbook students should wear the jerseys for every picture day or event they photograph. This tip is a game changer. It reminds students, parents and faculty yearbook collects the moments of the school year while they are happening. Hearing tips like this and discovering what schools across the country use to market their yearbook is invaluable.

Staff Bonding Activities

The most successful staffs are built by building relationships with one another. When students work as a team, they will create a better yearbook and accomplish their goals together. One of the 2023 sessions focused on ways to bring a staff together and inspire their motivation throughout the year. One adviser shared their annual tradition of holding a yearbook wedding at the beginning of the year. In this staff bonding event, students pledge their loyalty to the book in a ceremony. After the ceremony ends, advisers can serve a celebratory cake or other goodies to mark the start of another book. It is a fun way to build culture with students and helps establish celebrating goals as a staff. Advisers leave Adviser Academy with a lengthy list of activities to plan and create staff bonding.

A Staff Management Plan

Advisers must create systems to help students succeed in making a yearbook. The 2023 Adviser Academy provided multiple ideas for structuring and managing a staff. The sessions explained how some books may want to organize editors by section, while others may want to organize editors by function. The tools provided showed how to best outline jobs to students, how to change the structure to fit the needs of a school and how to create a hierarchy between students and the adviser. Even the most experienced advisers benefit from hearing what works with other programs. Staff management is an ongoing process. These tools help advisers create student leadership and ownership of a yearbook.

The Best Organization Strategies

New or veteran advisers always look for ways to improve the organization of yearbook tasks. Advisers at the 2023 session learned how to use platforms, like Google Drive, to help keep photos tidy. One tip given was for file names specifically. Students can upload their photos with an easy to identify label. The label consists of the date the photo was taken, their name and the event name. (Example: 4/2/24 Smith Spring Fling Dance) This makes it easy to credit photos on spreads and track which students have taken photos. The sessions covered organization systems from style guides to grading systems. Advisers need tools like this to help their staff succeed.

Yearbook 360 Technology Training

Perhaps the most beneficial component for new advisers Adviser Academy offers is the full day dedicated to Yearbook 360 training. Tips and step-by-step instruction are provided for every part of the software from photo uploading to organizing a yearbook ladder. Those new to Walsworth will find the technology training to be a stress reliver. The day allowed advisers to ask specific questions and provided ways to quickly access help all year long.

Adviser Academy truly is the place to be to get a jump start on the school year. The conversations between advisers and Walsworth staff will ease concerns that come up from operating a yearbook program. New advisers will leave feeling educated and ready to create their first book. Veteran advisers will also be challenged to try new things that will improve their teaching and advising.

For Advisers Still On-The-Fence

I use elements from the 2023 Adviser Academy every day during the school year. Ideas presented at the sessions truly helped structure our yearbook class and made creating a book easier. My staff tried numerous ideas gathered from Advisers Academy and saw success with each of them. The sales of the book increased with the marketing tools gained, the management of the staff allowed deadlines to be met and the students bonded during engaging activities. After using the Adviser Academy knowledge with students, it is clear the value of the sessions is much greater than the cost of the workshop. And because the sessions are recorded, I can go back and access them afterward too.

The content presented will serve as a resource for years to come. Register today at walsworthyearbooks.com/adviseracademy.

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Julia Pappacoda

Julia Pappacoda is the journalism and television production adviser at Gaither High School in Tampa, Florida. Her favorite part of leading student publications is sharing her passion for media literacy and journalism with others.