By Nicole Hammond, Professional Development Trainer
On the first day of graduation rehearsal, the seniors line up to get their yearbooks and have a signing party. It’s the last day of 6th grade and there’s an elementary picnic for the whole school to get their books and then they all wait in line for favorite teachers to sign. When the students come into co-op in the morning, the books are on their seats, like a gift. That’s the way distribution has always been done! That’s what everyone looks forward to!
But, this is not like any other year, and nothing is the same. So, during this pandemic when everyone is staying home, how do we hand out the yearbooks?
While the bad news is that you probably won’t be able to hand out yearbooks the way everyone expected, the good news is that there are so many other ways to handle distribution and you may just create a new tradition!
Distribution For Now…
1. Don’t Forget Your Possessions!
Nearly every single student in America will HAVE to go back to school at some point. Why? They still have important things in their lockers. Maybe some sneakers or a coat. Or, their desks in classrooms are full of notebooks and stationary that they may need at home. Some schools are designating days in late May where parents/students can stop by on a specific time (in a drop-off line fashion) to pick up possessions that will be bagged up by teachers. This is the perfect opportunity to distribute yearbooks, too.
2. eYearbooks for the Win
Think about advertising the e-yearbook as an in-between option. If advisers won’t be giving their books out until summer/fall, they can order an e-book and email the link to everyone (even those who didn’t buy their copy yet) with a note about how and when the physical books will be distributed. This is especially good for elementary students, because they will have something they can look at now!
Distribution For Later…
3. Distribute Books to Elementary Teachers
Give books to class or homeroom teachers to put on students’ desks on the first day of school. It’s a great ‘welcome back’ piece to start off the school year.
4 – ‘Senior Send-Off’
Host a “Senior Send-off” day in early-mid August so they can gather, receive their yearbooks, have them signed, and say goodbye to their classmates and friends. As a bonus, ask local stores or restaurants to donate subs, pizzas, or ice cream to make it a party!
5 – ‘Welcome Back’ Picnics
Work with the PTO or Student Council to have a “Welcome Back” picnic or ice cream party for students before the new school year starts and distribute the yearbooks there.
6 – Open House Distribution
Set up a distribution table at Open House or Back to School night for the school year and allow students and parents to pick up the books. Additionally, have the option to order the new book available. While they are excited to see last year’s book, they will be ready to purchase the coming year’s book!
7 – Game On
Plan a distribution at the homecoming football game! Lots of seniors come back for that weekend and it will be exciting for everyone to get their books during a weekend of celebration!
8 – Homecoming BBQ
Host a Homecoming BBQ after your pep rally and before the big game! Turn it into a fundraiser by allowing clubs and classes to rent space for their own food/game/fundraising booths and make the yearbook distribution the centerpiece! Students can mingle, play games, eat, and sign each other’s books! (Bonus: this is a huge photo op AND advertisement for the next yearbook so be sure to have a yearbook ordering booth set up too!).
(The homecoming BBQ is my favorite because it’s how I always distributed my book and I turned it into a fundraiser!)
When so many things are being put on hold, and delayed gratification is the temporary norm, you may not want to have your students and families wait for their books. So, these are some ways you might be able to distribute your books this spring.
Organize an on-site distribution where families stay in their cars and books are handed to them.
If you are able to get home addresses, organize a porch drop-off.
Got More Ideas?
These are some of our favorite alternatives to spring distribution here. And, if you have found another way to hand your books out, please remember to share with us! We’d love to hear them.