If you’re the coordinator of a middle school yearbook, then you have more to balance than just the child-to-pre-teen audience content transition. Instead of your committee being made up of only parent volunteers, you likely have a mix of students and parents to support your cause! While it can be exciting to have additional, hard-working members join your team, a committee comprised of parents and students can also have some bumps to navigate along the way. To help you prepare for a more complex yearbook environment, I’ve pulled together some of my top tips for keeping parents and students involved in the creation process, while avoiding the issues that can come along with the student-parent dynamic. And that will help you ease the friction while building a book that everyone on your campus will enjoy!
Separate the Roles
There are some projects that parents and students can work on together, but it can be a lot easier for the coordinator if their roles are separate. Give parents the high-level editing and oversight roles, while students take on more of the day-to-day project work. This works out in your favor, because you’ll have more face time with your student committee members than their parental counterparts, and they’ll feel the autonomy pre-teens and teens crave. Separating the type of tasks that you assign to the different categories of committee members can leave parents with a little more responsibility on the project, while also offering some distance from your team’s daily responsibilities. This ensures that you don’t run into parents dictating how their child does their work–which can go a long way towards maintaining good relations between these very distinct types of committee members.
Dictate a Workflow
No matter who is on your committee, delegating tasks is a vital piece of your role as yearbook coordinator. But along with the project assigning for your middle school yearbook teams, you’ll need an easy-to-understand process to keep everyone on the same page. Clearly defined roles will help you get started, but a process outlining your workflow can make your job infinitely easier. This will make it clear who is responsible for each step of the process and where their work should go next, in a way that middle school students can easily understand. For an older crew, it’s a great idea to instead use our timeline tool template to keep everything on track, but for your younger, more visual committee, you can use Microsoft Word (which you already have access to through your school computers) to set up a simple flow chart for each of your yearbook sub-projects.
Under the “Insert” tab in Word, select the SmartArt option.
In the box that pops up, select the “Process” drop down from the left menu and choose a design that works for your committee. Choose one of the most basic options for best results – they’re easiest to understand.
Fill in each of the bullet points to add content to the boxes that pop up. Make sure you include a note about who is responsible for each step in the process. To add extra steps to your workflow, just hit the “enter” key on your keyboard.
Use the “Change Colors” drop down in the top navigation to change your color palette. This makes it easier to distinguish between steps – while also adding some interest to your design!
Viola! You have a gorgeous little process sheet that shows how each task within your yearbook project will flow. It’s the perfect way for your students to start to understand the way the publishing process works, while making it quite a bit easier to manage your middle school yearbook from start to finish.
Find Balance in Your Middle School Yearbook Committee
To build a yearbook that everyone can enjoy, your first priority is to make managing your committee simple. When you create some structure around the tasks you assign, dictating how your workflow will progress, you’ll build more balance into your system. This also helps your students gain a stronger grasp on how to manage projects from start to finish, which they can use in their school work–and potentially their future careers–for years to come.