August 26, 2009 / News & Notes

Yearbook class gaining acceptance at University of California

Written by Elizabeth Braden, CJE

Admissions personnel at the University of California system are becoming convinced that there is educational value in yearbook class.

That is because at least a few yearbook advisers have applied to have their yearbook classes approved as a college preparatory elective course in the UC system. Yearbook generally is not one of UC’s approved courses for admission. But individual schools or districts can apply to get a course on UC’s approved subject list.

Crystal Kazmierski, yearbook adviser at Arrowhead Christian Academy, a small, private school for grades 7-12 in Redlands, Calif., applied to have her yearbook class added to the list of UC subject requirements and was notified of approval this month.

Kazmierski said that for some reason, there is a misconception at the university level that yearbook is an after-school scrapbooking club. While that may be true in some schools, it is not the case in every school. That is why she sought academic approval of her yearbook class as a journalism class that produces a journalistic publication, demonstrating in her application a significant writing component, a reading component, plus lessons and testing in design, marketing, law and ethics.

She modeled her application on one created by Jennifer Leeper, yearbook adviser at Terra Nova High School in Pacifica, Calif., who earned approval for yearbook for all four high schools in the in the Jefferson Union High School District.

Once Kazmierski announced her school’s approval on her Facebook page, requests started coming in from other California advisers on how to seek approval for their yearbook classes. Kazmierski said she has emailed her paperwork to anyone who asked for it, and has provided the information on the JEA Listserv.

She said her yearbook staff works so hard every year and it would be helpful if the yearlong course counted as credit toward college admission in the nine state schools that make up the University of California system, six of which are ranked by U.S. News and World Reports among the top 12 public universities in the U.S.

“I never had any trouble getting the best kids in yearbook – that was not my motivation,” Kazmierski said. “I did do it because I know these kids are going out of their way to meet the requirements for college.”

Like most colleges and universities across the country, the University of California system has its list of subject requirements, which it calls “A-G” Coursework, which must be completed in high school as part of the admission requirements. The yearbook classes that were approved were certified as college preparatory electives under the “G” requirement. See www.ucop.edu/a-gGuide/ag/a-g/welcome.html for the course requirement listing.

If you have questions, or would like more information, feel free to send an email to Crystal Kazmierski.

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Elizabeth Braden, CJE
Elizabeth Braden, CJE

Elizabeth Braden, CJE, is the former editor of Idea File magazine. Before retiring, she was a copywriter for Walsworth Yearbooks for more than 15 years, writing articles for various marketing materials, and proofreading copy for the Yearbook and Commercial divisions. Her career included reporting and editing for United Press International and editing for Knight-Ridder Financial News. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Media News from the University of Tulsa.