Yearbook Hero Katie Thomas Mastered the Late Start

Yearbook Hero Katie Thomas

Treering Yearbook Heroes is a monthly feature focusing on yearbook tips and tricks.

As a parent volunteer and part-time teacher at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic School in Elk Grove, CA, Katie Thomas took over the pre-K through 8th grade yearbook, inheriting boxes of unsold books from previous years. Her first mission: to not waste people’s money or the school’s.

What challenges did you face as a new yearbook adviser?

Looking for a yearbook publisher that would allow us more time to complete the book so we could include spring events was a priority from the start. I also didn’t want the stress of having sales quotas. Since I made the preschool pages with our previous publisher’s software, I can appreciate how easy it is to create with Treering’s software. That and the three-week turnaround really sold me.

At the time, I taught three-year-olds and I would transition to leading middle schoolers in the yearbook club. We started with the Treering yearbook ladder to decide what would go in the book and planned from there. It’s still a work in progress on how we finalize page assignments, and for the most part, 8th-grade students create their section, and the 6th- and 7th-grade students do sports, activities, and class pages.

You sold 65 books in one week. How did you achieve that?

Really, I’m not one for pushing sales. I tapped into these existing channels to reach parents. Our school communicates through student council announcements and email blasts. When we neared our final deadline, I ensured parents knew it was the last chance to buy it for school-wide distribution, and if they waited, they’d have to pay shipping and handling. I had a handful of them. Seventy-six percent of the school community purchased books.

Also, joining Yearbook Club webinars helped. I’ve learned classroom management tips such as having a job board for students between projects and how to organize photos in shared folders.

What are you doing differently this year?

We started sales early and leveraged the 10% discount. We are also involving the school in choosing the look of the book: the yearbook club narrowed the themes down to five and the entire school will vote. The school’s annual motto is “Embrace Joy” and we will tie that in with the book to make it uniquely 2022-2023.

Last year, I grabbed laptops and phones to AirDrop photos to myself to upload because grades couldn’t mix due to COVID protocols. I did a lot of texting to parents. This year, we are using the built-in crowdsourcing features: the students are creating their own flyers with QR codes to shared folders. The flyers say things like, “You could be featured like these photos in this year’s yearbook. Send us your back-to-school photos.”

The other big thing is I will order my printed proof sooner and try to get everything finished earlier.

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