As the saying goes…”It’s all in the details” and the tiniest spelling mistake can really make all the difference in the world to those students anxiously awaiting their yearbook. No one wants to have their name spelled wrong or have the wrong kid’s picture where their name is. Here’s how you can ensure that doesn’t happen!
FIND A FRIEND (OR THREE)
Now you just have to recruit a few folks! Many PTA’s have a social media site, so a few weeks before you actually need to proofread, put the word out that you are looking for volunteers. You can also announce this at PTO meetings and ask the request to be sent out in any school newsletter. Let parents know they can do this on their own time and that you will provide all necessary information to assist them.
A great way to gather volunteers is try to get a volunteer from a few different grades across the school. The reason this is a good is because they may know other students from their child’s grade and may catch something while proofreading because they recognize the student. For example: if you have K-5 in your school, try to get a around 3-4 parents to help proofread at minimum.
You can always assign one parent two grades and assign someone to look at the staff pages and any other pages that have writing on them. Set up each of the parent volunteers with a user ID and password on School Annual Online and share the link with them so they have access to log in and help with proofreading.
INSIDE HELP IS KEY
Be sure the coordinator also gives you information of students that have left the school over the course of the school year and whether or not they should still be included in the book. In addition, if your school collects “no photograph” students you will want to ensure that they should not be in the yearbook.
Once you have these lists, you can begin to distribute them to your parent volunteers over e-mail to compare to what is in your book. Tell the volunteers to check the spelling of each student’s name compared to the student roster and make sure it matches. It’s up to you to decide if you want them to make the edits/changes or if you, as the adviser, want to make the changes.
A great way to do this is to collect ALL of the changes and work on all yearbook pages. Have each parent volunteer make the necessary changes on the spreadsheet/roster, send it back to you and then work on them in bulk. Anything questionable should always be reviewed with your contact in school administration.
STEP BY STEP
First wave: You and parent volunteers proofread all pages for initial edits/changes.
Second wave: Ensure all the edits from the first wave have been made on the pages. Then you should make any additional edits/changes and make sure everything looks perfect.
Send the electronic version of that page to each teacher to review. Teachers are very busy, so make sure you give them enough time to review and get back to you before your submission deadline. You should allow AT LEAST two weeks before your deadline. Teachers often know if a student goes by a different name than the legal name listed on the school roster and can alert you to any changes that might need to be made.
If you have included pictures on the classroom pages, it’s also great to get their feedback on that too when you send the PDF. Maybe some students have a few candid pictures, but others aren’t in any pictures. Maybe once they see this, they can send you a few more pictures to make sure as many students are represented in the yearbook as possible.
The best way to attack this task is to ASK FOR HELP! Reach out to both parents and school administration to ensure that you have help from every corner of the school community. Once you have all the tools and volunteer help, the task won’t be as overwhelming. And one little secret (discovered the hard way unfortunately), if you distribute the yearbooks and get that dreaded e-mail or phone call that a child’s name is spelled wrong or their name is under the wrong picture….don’t hesitate to reach out to your School Annual account manager or representative. They can send you a few clever “stickers” to remedy to spelling error that can be placed overtop the spelling error to make the student happy again! Good luck!