Some predictions for an unpredictable future...
Here's a hope for a fun and restful summer break. It is certainly a summer like no other: distancing, wearing masks, extra cleanliness, stay away from crowds, etc. We'll "watch the numbers" as parts of the country slowly try to return to normal.
But I'll be honest - I'm concerned about the upcoming new school year. Unless a miracle occurs which is unlikely, we won't have a new vaccine or definite treatment for this @#%& virus by late August. Will I be referring to next year as the Even More Cheated Class of 2021?
So let's take some rather bold predictions for school, yearbook and otherwise for the coming year...
NOT A SMOOTH OPENING: Again, unless some miracle vaccine is approved, hundreds of millions of doses are created, and hundreds of millions of people are vaccinated, and all of this by mid August, we won't have a normal opening for the new school year this fall.
That means one of two scenarios: it's back to online learning again for nearly everyone, or these ideas of a "staggered" schedule where some students will come to school on certain days of the week while others stay home with online lessons, and then vice versa on the other days. Think fewer students, more distancing, wearing masks, etc.
We might as well get used to it now and make plans to deal with it. As for yearbook advisers and staffs, make whatever plans you can on your 2021 effort before the school year begins via Facetime, Zoom, or other means. Get everyone organized right away. And then keep those links active because you may need them when school officially "starts."
TELL STORIES OF PEOPLE: I'll be urging staffs all year about a change to your yearbooking. Instead of the usual concentrating on events and groups/teams/clubs, it needs to become more about stories of individuals, the people of our school.
An example: as I write this we have no idea about fall sports. They could be canceled again like spring sports were handled, especially if online learning is the norm. But fall athletes still have stories to tell: prepping for the season, their frustrations, their future goals, and if games ARE played stories about their remembrances.
For my Jostens advisers I'll be sharing a simple one page plan on how to handle this. While it will entail a little more work, that work is easy. Follow the plan and you'll have another great book for 2021 that everyone will anticipate.
USE NEW YEARBOOK+ FEATURE: For Jostens schools, while our new Layout Pro page creation tool will get a lot of attention in the coming weeks and months, it will be our new Yearbook+ digital tool that could really make an impact across your entire school, in or out of the building.
With Yearbook+ EVERY student in your school will have the chance to tell their own story in up to 10 pictures they upload during the school year, all moderated for appropriateness. Those images will be "linked" to their portrait photo in the book using any mobile device, and then those pictures can be recalled at any time in the future, along with other features.
No matter if you're in or out of the building, Yearbook+ will be a great way to keep everyone connected. When this great new feature is ready to launch we'll let you know.
START TAKING PICTURES: There's no time like the present as they say - start some picture taking over the summer. If it's all about telling more stories there should be LOTS of stories happening over the summer. We won't all still be stuck at home.
But if you haven't already, watch the May video episode of the Yearbooking Report. Awesome adviser Matt LaPorte from Las Vegas made an interesting prediction - maybe we'll have more writing in yearbooks this year because of fewer chances to get pictures. Whatever the case, it's all about the stories - tell them any way you can.
BTW, it's summer now, lots of time, right? Listen to the May podcast with Matt who had lots of great ideas and insights on yearbooking, good stuff.
And that can mean storytelling via social media as well. If you haven't already, it's time to establish your yearbook staff's own social media outlet. Advice? In the right column here check the links to watch and listen to the March Yearbooking Report episodes with great social media advice from specialist Jordan Weber.
One hint: create both Facebook and Instagram outlets, both owned by Facebook and easy to push the same content to both platforms. Facebook skews to an older audience while Instagram goes to a younger crowd. Cover them both!
ATTEND SUMMER ONLINE CAMPS: Sadly, most summer yearbook camps have been canceled. But our Jostens CAMs and Ambassadors are coming to the rescue with a separate June and July online yearbook camp, three days each of fun and informative learning with some of the best yearbook folks around.
And this year our annual Jostens Adviser University in mid July will be online as well. For advisers only this event features great information and advice from some of the top folks in yearbooking.
Ask your Jostens representative for more information on these FREE events. And many reps will also be doing their own online learning to teach Layout Pro, lead virtual cover sessions with Jostens artists and more. This could be our busiest summer ever!
A QUOTE TO REMEMBER: I came across this one recently and it's hard to believe this is from Dr. Seuss. What a amazing guy...
“Life’s too short to wake up with regrets. So love the people who treat you right, forgive the ones who don’t and believe that everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said it’d be easy, they just promised it would be worth it.”
Stay tuned here for perodic updates over summer break. The storytelling never stops...