A yearbook silver lining: Pandemic changes here to stay

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Despite the brutal challenges this year, producing a pandemic yearbook had a silver lining. Advisers recently shared changes they’ll keep in place for future staffs and publications.

“We moved to a chronological book and (even though this is my first year), I can’t imagine going back!”
–Taylor Bowers, Bentonville West High School, Centerton, Arkansas

“Online sales only. I had soooo much less paperwork to deal with and we did so much more with social media for promotions.”
–Julie Pasha, Pearland Junior High West, Pearland, Texas

“Use of Google Forms as we got quotes and can copy and paste. [It] helps as there is a record too. They can’t say ‘I didn’t say that.’ Going with the hybrid of transitional/chronological helped us stay on track this year.”
–Matt Bohnert, Saguaro High School, Saguaro, Arizona

“Online baby ads only (much like senior shoutouts)! So much easier.”
–Susannah Keneda, Bedford Junior High, Bedford, Texas

“First day of school photos taken by parents.”
–Joan Fischer, Heuvelton Elementary School, Heuvelton, New York

“Using Google File Stream to save our files instead of a local server! Who knew!?!?
Using Google Forms for everything. Staffers having access to InDesign on their personal computers.”
–Stephanie Russo, Suncoast High School, Riviera Beach, Florida

“All staff have Adobe Creative Cloud logins.”
–Jess Stamp, Dripping Springs High School, Dripping Springs, Texas

“Instead of whole group club photos, only photographing officers and running a list of members along with it. [It was] so much easier to plan and we were able to use a nice spot in the courtyard instead of indoor gym bleachers.”
–Faith Nellis, Venice High School, Venice, Florida

“For an elementary school: online sales only, Google Forms for cover contest voting and messages, Padlets for sharing photos with the adviser.”
–Kristin Conrad, Tesoro del Valle Elementary, Valencia, California

“Google Forms to collect the ‘fun stories’ we may not have known otherwise and photos to go along with them. Modules throughout the portraits instead of only the portraits in that section. Coverage on area events (such as missed days for hurricanes, tropical storm and a freeze).”
–Stephanie Lynch, Atascocita Springs Elementary, Humble, Texas

“Online sales only!”
–Karen Long, Hall High School, Little Rock, Arkansas

“I will directly email parents more, especially for sales. This year when I did the ‘You're in the Book’ pitch, I emailed parents instead of passing out slips to kids. I used the Balfour eMarketing tools a lot about sales, but also I have directly emailed parents. I even emailed parents about yearbook pick-up. It was more work, but I've been pleased with the effect it has had on sales.”
–Kari Riemer, Hendrickson High School, Pflugerville, Texas

“ImageShare for parents sending in photos to contribute.”
–Samantha Didier, Indian Ridge Middle School, Davie, Florida

“I love all of the alternative coverage we included since we had lots of ‘extra’ space! My favorite spreads this year turned out to be our Winter Snow Days and Summer Adventures spreads.”
–Nicole Lorenz, Jonathan Alder High School, Plain City, Ohio

“Google Drive File Stream, Trello & the Band app—some of those were in the works before the pandemic, but this year of making a book apart solidified how integral they are for us. Drive File Stream (now being branded Drive for Desktop) for syncing up our entire yearbook project, Trello for updating progress and passing the spread baton from staffers to editors, and Band for scheduling photo assignments and staffer communication.”
–Lindsey Shirack, James Bowie High School, Austin, Texas

“Using Sharepoint to store pictures and documents for my staffers to have access to them.”
–Marketta Parker, Sulphur High School, Sulphur, Louisiana

“Google Forms to collect summer, back to school and school break photos. We received over 200 just from these categories!”
–Meghan Makowski, Woodrow Wilson Middle School, Edison, New Jersey

“More interviews and enriching captions since we had way less pictures!”
–Allison Cooper, Day Middle School, Temecula, California

“ImageShare was huge for us! Thank you Balfour! Also, this was our first ‘chronological, more stories, kind-of-like-a-magazine spreads’ type of yearbook. We loved it and will keep the format next year.”
–Brenda Riley, Inverness Christian Academy, Inverness, Florida

“Google Forms for interviews and crowd sourcing photos was a godsend. Being able to just send a link to specific people or groups was also awesome. Hoping to use social media next year to get more participation.”
–Logan Molloy, JB Smith Middle School, Cypress, Texas

“Definitely Google Forms to hear from everyone in the clubs, classes and sports teams.”
– Brenda Jones, Currituck County High School, Barco, North Carolina

“Virtual interviews and more social media posts.”
–Dyan Hill-Dennard, Gibbs High School, St. Petersburg, Florida

“ImageShare, online only sales, social media posts, Google Forms surveys, online notes for photos and storing everything in Google Drive.”
–Stephanie Cox, Woodcreek Middle School, Houston, Texas

“Google Forms is staying! So easy to vote on things like Mr. and Miss, Class Favorites and such!”
–Melissa Perner, Ozona High School, Ozona, Texas

“So many conventions and meetings became virtual this past year. The bonus of this was, there are a lot of sessions by amazing industry professionals and compelling journalism advisers that have been recorded and are available online. I have been able to bring into my class lessons on storytelling by Bobby Hawthorne, King Pica by Katie Moreno, Photoshop with Hal Schmidt and theme development with Kel Lemons.

Ninety percent of my students would not have had the chance to actually GO to a convention, so bringing the convention to them has been invaluable, and the lessons really have helped build a stronger foundation for my students.”
–Sean Claes, Akins Early College High School, Austin, Texas

“Google Forms to collect all senior photos and senior dedications. Primarily online sales.”
–Stephenie Conley, Bellevue East High School, Bellevue, Nebraska

“Weekly chronological coverage, using the Band app to sign up for events, Google/Microsoft Forms for surveys, online only sales and senior ads.”
–Danielle Bell, Foster High School, Richmond, Texas

“QR codes and Google Forms for interviewing. They’re a great addition to get a variety of responses. This year has also given me a different perspective of how kids work together and how some really do better with partners. I’m more mindful of that and the individual staffer needs to be successful. We’ve always made a big deal when someone gets a spread done, but now we really go all out and it’s fun, it makes it more meaningful. I love it.”
–Sara Gonzales, Paetow High School, Katy, Texas

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