Making It Work, Part 3
Written by Jim Jordan
Staffs and advisers around the country are rising to the challenge to tell the story of this unique year in their yearbooks.
From coast-to-coast it’s been such a radically different experience for every yearbook staff. In this blog series, we take a look at what yearbooks staffs are covering and how they are structuring their pages. Check out part one and part two of the series and visit our gallery to see even more.
Wren High School, Piedmont, South Carolina
Jennifer Bertram, adviser
What type of learning model you have been on this year? I am teaching virtually from home and have been since day one of school. The students and the school started the year on a hybrid schedule that was also following our AB schedule. It was rough. There is a TA in my room “assisting” my English classes but the Editor is basically running the class for Yearbook. The TA is a college grad without much education experience, so I have had to teach him a LOT along the way. After Labor Day we went full time face-to-face on an AB schedule. Students are able to choose Virtual learning instead of face-to-face and we have students constantly going back and forth due to quarantines. My second-in-command is 100% virtual (she is supposed to be editor next year – is managing editor this year). I remain 100% virtual.
Editors/staff who worked on the pages: We started in teams this year to get spreads done and to teach basics.
Editor in Chief Jessi Smith; Managing Editor Madison Haynes – full time virtual – handling all ads
Copy Editor Kaity West; Photo Editor Noelle Hines; Reference Editor Anika Smith
These ladies served as team leaders and had two to three members on their team until they felt the staff member could handle a spread on their own. They were my only veterans. I have a staff of 12.
What has been the most challenging aspect of creating pages this year? Filling the pages and staying connected with each other, keeping as a team and staying positive. Every day it seems a new challenge – on top of the regular “every day is a new challenge of yearbook”. lol
How have you overcome these challenges? Encouraging WAY outside the box thinking and letting everyone go with their own ideas – even if they don’t work out.
What have you learned in the process of creating these pages? It’s actually been rather freeing not being tied down to tradition.
What advice would you give other advisers as we move into the second half of the year? Let go and let God. When they contact me because they are depressed and overwhelmed and just don’t know what to do or where to start, I just keep telling my girls all you can do is move forward with purpose. Break larger tasks into smaller tasks and don’t be afraid to say “I need help, please.”
What Does Music Mean to You? Focusing on the importance of music in students’ lives is a great coverage idea every year, but it never seems to get the amount of coverage it should. This spread idea needs a minimum of photos and the graphic look is cool as more people are listening to vinyl once again. I especially love they have included an old school mixtape label.
Shield or Screen. Another great coverage idea for schools that are in the hybrid mode. Which is better learning from home on through a screen or sitting in class behind plexiglass? This is a great record of what this year has been about for so many students around the country.
Londonderry Middle School Londonderry, New Hampshire
Learning Model. We are a school within a school, either all in-person or all remote.
Editors/staff who worked on the pages with their titles? Editor: Marna Ducharme
What has been the most challenging aspect of creating pages this year? Gathering photos has been the most difficult part of compiling our book.
How have you overcome these challenges? We just keep asking for more and more, putting out flyers with themes, and raffles for submissions.
What have you learned in the process of creating these pages? That there is always so much I don’t know.
What advice would you give other advisers as we move into the second half of the year? Be creative with designing your pages and don’t fret, just find your Zen and make changes as needed.
How would you spend $100. Fun coverage idea. It’s a great read. Love the use of color and icons.
Top Music Artists. Another great coverage idea that records a unique aspect of this year. How many of these artists will we remember in 20+ years? The quotes highlight ten different student opinions. The gradient color bars are beautiful and totally on trend.
Marsh Pointe Elementary School, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
Lisa Innerst, adviser
Learning model: Hybrid, this has been a year full of change and growth. I started the year with a class of 21 and now I am up to a class of 26, it seems that every time I get my class trained in new software, a new student enrolls.
What has been the most challenging aspect of creating pages this year? Trying to create an equal balance of photos and representation between on-campus students and virtual students.
How have you overcome these challenges? I create news clips to air on our school morning news asking for selfies or for their families to take photos of virtual kiddos doing particular activities that I am representing in the book.
What have you learned in the process of creating these pages? This has been an amazing year of growth professionally and creatively, sometimes we need to switch things up to keep things fresh!
What advice would you give other advisers as we move into the second half of the year? Keep up with your pages so you don’t feel overwhelmed at the end.
How to Be a Virtual Superhero. This fun, colorful spread highlights the online life of these elementary school students.