Photo by: Aimee Parsons

New advisers ask questions, learn the basics of coverage at Adviser Academy

Written by Sarah Scott

Instructor Sabrina Schmitz opened Tuesday’s New Adviser session of Adviser Academy by addressing questions. At the beginning of the Academy, Schmitz set up a “Question Parking Lot,” where attendees could leave sticky notes with their questions.

Tuesday morning, the class weighed benefits of spring or fall delivery. One adviser asked, “What’s the most essential quality of a yearbook adviser?” It was a difficult question, but Schmitz landed on “enthusiasm.”

The 35 new advisers in the class debated the merits and challenges of yearbook as a class versus club. Schmitz also shared pointers on taking money for yearbook.

Coverage

After answering many of the advisers’ questions, Schmitz moved on to the topic of coverage.

She discussed the various ways to organize a yearbook. She covered the benefits of traditional yearbook coverage. This layout makes it easy for people to find what they’re looking for. These are traditionally divided into sections such as sports, academics and student life.

Chronological yearbooks are becoming more popular. In this style, units are divided by time instead of subjects. This style of coverage can be divided into weeks, months or seasons.

Blended coverage combines traditional yearbook coverage with chronological.

Schmitz recommended letting the theme drive the book’s organization.

What to cover

At the beginning of the year, create a list with your students. Determine what’s optional and what must be covered. Look up when those mandatory events will be happening so you don’t miss them.

Create a list of everything in the last year’s yearbook. You can probably find this in the previous year’s ladder.

Write everything you’re covering on sticky notes, then make a poster board for each section or month, depending on your coverage. Schmitz said having a visual reference helps everyone see what’s getting the most coverage.

Who gets covered

“There’s nothing sadder than a kid paying $85 for a book they’re not in,” said Schmitz.

Some students are naturally covered more than others. If a student is very involved and holds many leadership roles, Schmitz recommends putting them on a no-go list after a certain point. She also prohibited her yearbook staffs from interviewing their close friends to prevent over-coverage of certain students.

As a yearbook adviser, Schmitz’s staff members weren’t in the yearbook except in extraordinary circumstances, like being named the homecoming queen.

The goal should be to put every student in the book three times – twice in a spread and once in their portrait. Schmitz used printed school lists and different-colored marks each time a student is put in the book. Plan ahead – you already know the football captain will probably be used in the varsity sports spread, so find someone else to use in coverage of shop class.

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.