Once your school decides to produce a yearbook, the next step is deciding what content to include. For most schools, it’s not a case of what to put in, but what to leave out!
A great way to facilitate this process is to first work out a set of desired outcomes for your yearbook. Once you have the purpose of your yearbook clearly defined, you can assess your proposed content to see if it measures up. Here are some suggested outcomes that would apply to most school yearbooks:
- Celebrate student and school success and achievement over the past year
- Capture and commemorate special moments in school history
- Acknowledge and represent as many students and staff as possible
- Showcase the school’s academic, cultural and sporting activities
- Create a historical document for archival purposes
Yearbook goals extend beyond the creation of the final publication. Getting students, teachers and parents engaged in the content creation process should rank highly in your set of goals, as a yearbook with lots of input from the whole school community is the key to success.
A useful technique for blocking out what content you’ll need is to create a Table of Contents. This table can include scheduled events retrieved from the school calendar and reoccurring annual activities. Create sections that are relevant to your school, including sports, clubs, events and awards. If your school operates a ‘house’ system, you might want to dedicate a section to each house; or you may wish to create separate sections for each year group.
A good tip when deciding on content is to get feedback. What was popular in past issues? What would you like to see covered this year? You could put out a simple survey early in the school year to gather thoughts and opinions, but remember to include both qualitative and quantitive questions to ensure you get a good mix of responses. Later in the year, when you’re well into the yearbook creation process, it can be very insightful to have your draft yearbook reviewed by an independent group of people. This group should ideally be a mix of students, teachers and parents. To make this review process easier and ensure you get the feedback you need, its best to create a questionnaire or use an online document proofing platform to aggregate the feedback.