12 Ways Your Yearbook Class Makes Students Career-Ready

Yearbook student thinks about caree-readiness

It’s no secret to seasoned advisers that yearbook class is one of the most accurate career-preparation courses available to students. The yearbook-building process meets all of the national Career-Ready Practices. We’ll go through each below with practical application ideas for yearbook classes.

1. Act as a responsible and contributing citizen and employee.

How to do it: Teach project management skills by having students pre-plan their weeks. 

Weekly goal-setting and check-ins maintain a culture of accountability while building executive functioning skills. First, project your ladder and page assignments. Then, reverse engineer some major milestones. From there, students can set a goal, calendar important dates, and pre-plan how they will meet their deadlines. Do this corporately so each student can see his/her contribution.

2. Apply appropriate academic and technical skills.

How to do it: Equip your students with tools and training for their age, ability, and your yearbook mission

Keep in mind, a first-year yearbie/yerd/yearbook student should have a different skill set than a third-year one! Returning staffers are excellent resources to teach skills, especially those on your editorial board.

3. Attend to personal health and financial well-being.

How to do it: Schedule in the fun!

Because you corporately planned the year, you already know when the pinch points are going to be. Plan a few fun days before and after to help students relieve stress, and show them the importance of balance.

Also, be transparent about finances. Your yearbook students should know how much it costs to produce their yearbook. Likewise, they should know financial goals (book and ad sales) and celebrate their achievement.

4. Communicate clearly, effectively, and with reason.

How to do it: Begin the year with a plan.

All the work you do from a syllabus to the page ladder and assignment provides the overarching structure. Bi-weekly editorial meetings and all staff meetings should include check-ins, deadline assessment, and teaching moments to provide accountability and hone these skills:

  • Model how to email teachers and coaches by providing templates or examples of wording.
  • Practice interviewing.
  • Show, rather than tell, how to enter a class to pull a student for a quote or photo opportunity.
  • Set expectations and boundaries for yourself and your team.
Yearbook student reviewing ladder snad page status with classmates and yearbook adviser
Editors who run a weekly staff meeting to review page status, scheduling, and challenges demonstrate accountability and facilitate collaboration.

5. Consider the environmental, social, and economic impacts of decisions.

How to do it: Create worthwhile partnerships.

These are Treering’s core values. From sustainably sourced printing materials to partnering with charities, the environmental and socio-economic impact of a yearbook transforms lives. Additionally, ethical reporting and creating an inclusive yearbook are hallmarks of positive social impact.

6. Demonstrate creativity and innovation.

How to do it: Make a yearbook.

(We’re just going to leave this one here.)

7. Employ valid and reliable research strategies.

How to do it: Make before, during, and after your journalistic mantra.

What we see in many yearbooks are photographs of the actual events, and we miss ASB creating poster after poster for spirit week, Mr. Watts cleaning up until 2 AM, the baseball team volunteering to haul hay bales, etc.

Ask your team:

  • What preparation goes into [the event]? 
  • Who is involved?
  • What is the impact of [the event]?
  • How can we capture this?

At the interview, ask:

  • What don’t people know about [the event]? 
  • How do you prepare for [the event]?
  • How much time do you invest?
  • What happened after [the event]?

Also, coverage doesn’t have to follow the traditional photo/caption format. Create infographics and polls, show game statistics and team scoreboards, and use quotes from differing perspectives to tell the story of your year.

Infographic detailing the statistics if a rival football game for the yearbook. Example of alternative copy.
Which would you students rather read: a 500-word story about a blowout between the county’s biggest rivals or an infographic highlighting key numbers?

8. Model integrity, ethical leadership and effective management.

How to do it: The old adage It starts at the top applies here. 

Module 2 of Treering’s free curriculum will help you unify your team and build trust.

9. Plan education and career path aligned to personal goals.

How to do it: Toot your team’s proverbial horn.

Using the yearbook job descriptions in Treering’s curriculum guide, work with your team to create resumes, detailing their job experience in yearbook class. While many think, “I put pictures on paper,” they don’t see things like: 

  • Scheduled photographers for event coverage
  • Experienced in copy editing, reporting, and layout design
  • Promoted publication on social media, in print advertising, and at community events
  • Worked within deadlines to maintain $20,000 budget

It’s our job, advisers, to show them their impact! Then show their parents. Then show your administration.

10. Use technology to enhance productivity.

How to do it: Post and track your goals.

Your yearbook software plus a digital planning tool such as a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets or a Trello board will keep you on track. 

11. Utilize critical thinking to make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.

How to do it: Make a yearbook, part 2.

What do you do when a photographer does not show up for a game? How do you handle an event being canceled or rescheduled? What do you do when someone accidentally reformats a card prior to photos being uploaded? The yearbook creation process is all about pivoting. Build in contingencies by creating evergreen content or interactive pages that compliment your theme. (Here is a list to get you started!)

12. Work productively in teams while using cultural/global competence.

How to do it: Facilitate a collaborative working environment.  

In-class collaboration:

Out-of-class collaboration:

  • Connect with your school photographer to receive portraits on time
  • Schedule club and team photos with leaders
  • Crowdsource event photos from classmates
  • Interview students
  • Schedule in-class photo ops of academic coverage

We also have an alignment matrix, outlining how the Treering curriculum meets both CTE standards for eight pathways and these Career Readiness Practices and makes your yearbook class the ultimate career preparation course.

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