Dedicating one day for club photos can make your job easier. All the backgrounds are the same, the pictures are similar widths and the names are written down. Give yourself a little time to plan a successful day.
- Coordinate with the principal, secretary, athletic director and/or theatre tech director for a location and date. A gym is an ideal place because there are built-in bleachers. But often coaches have practice and tournaments so make sure you can use the location. Stages and lecture halls are also good choices if you can borrow the choir or photo company’s risers.
- Utilize your school photographer to take the photos. They’re used to setting up team photos so they’ll do a great job organizing the students into rows. Plus, they’ll bring lights and they often have risers. If you’re in a real hurry, borrow the SD card at the end of the shoot and copy all the photos immediately.
- Email all the club sponsors for their preferred time slot. Ask sponsors to set the picture during their conference period to keep students organized and weed out picture crashers. Encourage groups to wear their club T-shirts and provide passes to help the students leave class at the designated time.
- Promote Club Picture Day around campus. Have the schedule set at least a week in advance. Post copies of it on social media and around the school.
Bonus tip: Have clipboards, pens and sheets to write down names after the picture is taken. Ask groups to hold for a moment and provide a clipboard to each row to go faster. Have sponsors verify names and clarify handwriting issues to avoid any mistakes. There’s an informational page too, to collect officer names and club facts.
Lose weight. Save money. Spend more time with family. We all think of ways to improve ourselves at this time of year. Let’s also take that energy and focus it on our staffs.
Take a day and reflect on the fall semester. Discuss what worked well and what could be improved. Ask students to share how they could individually make things run smoother. Here are some suggestions:
- Start each day with a 5-minute catch up. Let staffers share good news or what they’re looking forward to this week.
- Meet with editors to go over individual responsibilities and expectations. Praise what they’ve done well. Encourage them in the areas that need work.
- Assign a staffer to doublecheck name spellings and grades. It’s easy to mess up names, a sore spot for buyers. Having an extra set of eyes ensures there’s less mistakes.
- Update the list of who has been in the book and how many times. Post it in the room. Compare it to who has bought a book. Encourage staffers to use students not on the list first and be wary of choosing a student who has already been included multiple times.
- Rearrange seating or pair different students. If you’ve noticed some staffers distract each other, now is the time to play musical chairs. Also, create new pairings of students on spread assignments. They can share the workload and working with a different staffer helps them get to know each other and bond.
- Don’t put off club pictures, team photos or index planning. It’s never too early to start thinking about those pages. Start doing the math and sketching ideas on paper to make these sections run smoother.
Bonus tip: Weekly self-evaluations make students accountable for their work, track spread progress and provide an additional grade.
A mission statement can unite the staff and set the stage for a successful year. It concisely explains why your group exists and guides your decisions, actions and responsibilities.
Here are a few well-known groups’ mission statements:
- TED: Spreading Ideas.
- The Humane Society: Celebrating Animals, Confronting Cruelty.
- The Nature Conservancy: To conserve the lands and water on which all life depends.
- Make-A-Wish: We grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.
- San Diego Zoo is a conservation, education and recreation organization dedicated to the reproduction, protection and exhibition of animals, plants and their habitats.
- Honest Tea: Real Tea. Real Taste. Honest.
These mission statements use concrete language and personally connect to that group. Yours will serve as a blueprint for the year and what your staff is about. It should be:
- Clear, simple and concise
- Easy to explain – and easily explainable by others
- Recognizably yours
Avoid ambiguous statements, buzz words and fancy jargon that take the meaning out. The strongest mission statements are clear, concise and memorable.
See this list of questions to help formulate your mission statement. And to make sure your mission statement isn’t terrible, take heed of this advice from Fast Company’s Dan Heath.
Being organized can make a huge difference with staying on deadline and keeping your sanity. Keep track of important documents and info by posting items around the room or filing in a binder.
Essentials to collect:
- Student directory with names, grades and ID numbers
- The master schedule with teachers’ rooms, classes and conference periods
- Club list with sponsor room numbers & contact information
- Sports’ team schedules, rosters & coaches’ contact information
- Yearbook deadlines & scheduled workdays
- Yearbook rep, Account Executive & Tech help phone numbers
- Portrait dates & photographer’s contact information
- Staff members’ names, phone numbers & emails
Once this info is gathered, find a permanent, accessible spot to place it. Keep Post-it notes nearby for staff members to write down info without losing the originals or moving the binder. Here’s a handy directory to fill in important numbers and build a contact list for your staff.
Say goodbye to summer and hello to yearbook! As we head back to the classroom, this is an opportune time to get to know each other and start bonding as a staff. Connect with these fun, simple activities:
- Create goody bags for the first day or week. Have editors personalize the bags with staffers’ names and stuff them with cheap school supplies and candy.
- Embrace your goofy sides. Ask staffers to share an obsession, idiosyncrasy or surprising fact. Take turns with the reveals or write them down and have the staff guess who they belong to.
- Make speedy connections. Using the speed dating format, pair up veteran staffers with new ones. Have the veteran ask the newbie a fun yearbook or personal question. Every 30 seconds have the newbies switch seats, until they’ve talked with each veteran. The next time, let the newbies ask the questions and have the oldies switch seats.
Still looking for fun ideas? Here’s a list of 40 ice breakers by Graham Knoxe that will encourage working together, integrate new members into the staff and create a happy, fun atmosphere. Have a blast bonding with your new staff!