Photo by: Alyssa Herrera

September 9, 2020 / Coverage / Systems of Success

Systems of Success: Back-to-School 2020 Corona Edition (part 2)

Written by Jim Jordan

So much to do. So little time. In person? Online? Hybrid?

As the year begins, it’s definitely worth the time and effort to get all these organizational systems in place as they will pay rich dividends throughout your production process.

Even though this year will be like no other, an organized, flexible staff will meet every challenge along the way.

Develop Your Crowdsourcing System

One of the extreme challenges of the year will be gathering quality photos of student life and events that the yearbook photographers won’t have access to. Turn this need into strength by employing your full school community to be a part of your photo and information gathering network. In the old way of yearbook thinking, every photo in the book should be taken by a yearbook photographer – none by professionals, the adviser, parents, students not on staff, etc. This year that all changes. You are free to get photos from all the sources you have available! Make everyone in your school and community honorary members of the yearbook staff. Get the word out. Pump them up. Make a big deal about it.

  • Check out the Walsworth Yearbook Snap app. The Yearbook Snap app allows users to upload and comment on photos they have taken. Our latest edition allows the yearbook staff and adviser to create specific folders the photos can be uploaded to. You could set up a “First Day” or “First Week” folder and crowdsource as many photos as possible.
  • Create your own Google Forms to gather information. You can create customized Google Forms that allow you to solicit photos and other information. These forms can be sent out to any group in your school community – parents, students, teachers or all the combined groups. It is easy to set up the form so their responses come directly back to specific folders on Google Drive you have created. Once you get responses, it’s easy to have follow up interviews.

Develop Your School Portrait System

As soon as you can, get your plan in place for taking your school portraits. Time is of the essence so you know a realistic timeline for submitting your portrait pages.

Some schools have allowed social distanced photo shoots in the summer while others are pushing them back later into the school year. As the adviser, you need to be a part of the conversation and advocate to get these photos safely taken as soon as possible. Some staffs are not going to be allowed to have the professional photographers come on campus and they are already planning to gather photos students take.

Walsworth is unveiling a new system next month called community portraits that will allow students and parents to upload photos that can be used for portraits (even selfies), and in one simple step, you can turn that image into a portrait that can be flowed. So get your portraits done as soon as you can, and if there are students unable to participate, Walsworth is providing a solution.

Develop Your Coverage System

Discuss how you will gather information that will be covered in the book. This year specifically, you need to be in constant contact with your school community to be aware of what is going on. One staff I know is going to assign a student to write a journal entry every day of the year filled with facts, news items and feelings as they happen. These entries will help uncover possible story ideas and allow you to follow the flow of the year from start to finish.

Even though we are developing new systems for success because of the unique nature of this year, these practices will benefit us in future years as well. This is a good year to evaluate how effective the systems you’ve had in place have been. If you find a more effective way of working, embrace the change. It will set yourself and your staff up for success.

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Jim Jordan

Jim Jordan is a Special Consultant for Walsworth Yearbooks and the host of the Yearbook Chat with Jim podcast. He is former yearbook adviser at Del Campo High School in Fair Oaks, California. Jim was the 1996 JEA Yearbook Adviser of the Year, and shares his expertise with students and advisers at workshops and conventions across the country. Jim is the lead mentor for Walsworth's Adviser Mentor Program.