Thursday, December 2, 2010

TR Press Release: District Administration Magazine Awards TreeRing 2010 Readers’ Choice Top 100 Product

District Administration Magazine Awards TreeRing 2010 Readers’ Choice Top 100 Product

District Administration—the most-read magazine of America’s school district leaders—announces TreeRing as a recipient of the Readers’ Choice Top 100 Products of 2010.

Redwood City, CA – December 2, 2010.— Readers of District Administration are the top public school administrators in the country, and they know from experience what works and what does not work within their districts. As part of its annual award program, District Administration asked its readers to nominate the hardware, software, books and materials, Web sites, or facilities products that have made a positive difference in their districts in 2010.  TreeRing’s customizable yearbooks that eliminate costs for school’s earned the distinction this year in its first time nominated.

The winning products were determined by the quantity of nominations received per product as well as evaluating the quality of readers’ nominations and explanations. The 2010 winners were selected from hundreds of nominations received over the last six months, a significant increase in participation from the previous year. “These product recommendations included extensive descriptions from school administrators of how these products are used in their districts, making it very challenging to choose the top 100 products. We hope these products, and their accompanying testimonials, will act as a valuable resource for our readers,” says District Administration’s editor in chief, Judy Faust Hartnett.

“This year’s winners were a very diverse group of products, ranging from classroom resources to district-level management tools,” says Kurt Eisele-Dyrli, products editor. “Many of them, from online assessments and notification systems to thin clients and projectors, enabled readers to do more with less, which reflects the challenging times faced by many school systems.”

“It is an incredible honor to receive District Administration’s Top 100 Product award.  It’s quite humbling to be mentioned alongside Apple’s iPad and Amazon’s Kindle as the best products of the year for schools.  The excitement our customers have for our product drive us to continue to improve the product and revolutionize how yearbooks are created and purchased.” said Kevin Zerber, TreeRing Co-Founder.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

TR Press Release: Treering Earns Tech & Learning’s 2010 Award Of Excellence


Treering Earns Tech & Learning’s 2010 Award Of Excellence

Redwood City, CA –November 24, 2010 - TreeRing Corporation, a company that creates yearbooks for the Internet generation, today announced that it won Tech & Learning’s 2010 Award of Excellence for its customizable yearbook product.  Tech & Learning magazine annually names the best education technology products as winners in its prestigious 28-year-old recognition program. A panel of more than 30 educators, who tested more than 140 entries, chose the winners.

Tech & Learning's Awards of Excellence program has been recognizing outstanding education technology products for nearly three decades. With a solid reputation in the industry as a long-standing, high-quality program, the AOE recognizes both the "best of the best" and creative new offerings that help educators in the business of teaching, training and managing with technology. All entries are given a rigorous test-driving by qualified educators in several rounds of judging. Products are also carefully screened by the T&L editorial team. Evaluation criteria include the following: quality and effectiveness ease of use, creative use of technology, and suitability for use in an educational environment.

Brady McCue, TreeRing Co-Founder, said, “It’s a huge honor to be recognized by such a prestigious award.  Our goal when we started the company was to provide a way for student’s to better capture their memories and remove the yearbook financial burden for schools.  We still have a lot of work to do to make the product even better, but this is a great recognition of our progress so far.”

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Dallas Morning News - Technology lets students, parents lay out personalized pages in high school yearbooks

Technology lets students, parents lay out personalized pages in high school yearbooks

By KAREL HOLLOWAY / The Dallas Morning News 
Yearbooks can be a big rush or a real letdown.
Lots of pictures of your child and it's great. Just the formal class picture and maybe a glimpse of a cute face at the back of a group and the big book seems a waste.
Yearbook companies are springing up to help avoid disappointment, offering schools and parents a digital way to make the books more personal.
TreeRing, headquartered in California, says it was the first company to offer schools personalized pages in yearbooks. Parents, or the students if they are old enough, can lay out their own pages with photos and text and add them to the standard book.
Co-founder Chris Pratt remembers his daughter bringing home her book with just two photos of her.
"It didn't capture her memories," said Aaron Greco, who started the company with Pratt.
The company started last year, using a digital process to offer personalized pages. Greco said other companies now are springing up to offer similar services. Several area schools, including some in Rockwall and Wylie, are using TreeRing, he said, though he would not say how many clients the company has.
The digital process is called print on demand.
Instead of setting up pages and then printing them on a large offset press, TreeRing pages are similar to documents on any computer. Pages can be added or deleted almost as easily as attaching a file to e-mail. Books can be cheaply printed, one individualized copy at a time.
That means the yearbooks can be truly personalized. Schools using the system no longer have to place large orders, or large deposits, in advance.
Schools create 80 percent of the pages online – this is the traditional part of the book. But parents automatically receive other pages they can use as they want, uploading pictures and text of their child.
Once the book is finished, parents, students or others, like grandparents, can order the book they want. It can have no personalized pages or dozens.
Because of the streamlined digital process, the books are often 20 to 30 percent cheaper than other yearbooks, Greco said.
"One mom that had three kids at the school had 16 pages for each kid." Greco said. "The pages were beautiful."
Parent volunteer Tonya Fenoglio is in charge of the yearbook at Rockwall's Hartman Elementary School. She said TreeRing seemed an easy choice.
This is the first year Fenoglio has been the yearbook coordinator. She searched the Internet to see if there was a better option than the company the school had used for years.
She found TreeRing and liked the ability to personalize pages and the lower cost.
"All the other yearbooks seemed really outdated," she said.
She has already created the pages for her daughter. They include pictures with her friends and activities from first grade. Other parents have gone online to finish their students' pages as well.
Fenoglio says she likes the chance for parents to add personal details such as teacher names and important days.
"They'll kind of have a Life at Grace Hartman Elementary School," she said.

Friday, November 5, 2010

New York Times - A Yearbook Dedicated to Inclusion


A Yearbook Dedicated to Inclusion
By WINNIE HU
EXCERPT FROM ARTICLE:
A growing number of schools, including Scotch Plains-Fanwood and Baldwin Senior High School, on Long Island, are also using new publishing technology offered through companies like... TreeRing to give every student the option of personalizing a yearbook by adding pages to fill with photos and memories, at little or no additional cost. Scotch Plains-Fanwood’s yearbook advisers, Julie Whitty and Amy Rutkowski, said they hoped the customized pages and more inclusive approach would increase their sales; in recent years, about half of the students bought yearbooks, which start at $75 this year.  READ FULL ARTICLE ON NYT 

Monday, November 1, 2010

Blog, A Virtual Unknown - A New Kind of Memory

A new kind of memory
Posted by Jim Willis

Indelible memories of those innocent years of grade school, awkward years of junior high, the posturing years of high school, and the challenging years of college are found between the covers of your old yearbooks.
You remember: those are the tomes filling that 60-pound box you’ve been hauling around all your life, transferring unopened from one attic the next, defying you to actually set them out on the curb on trash day.
The rituals
One of the annual rituals of school days was the yearbook signing when you passed the books around to sign and be signed, getting back the most intimate comments from people you didn’t even know you knew, and getting rather bland sentiments from friends you thought were intimates.
Later, as a parent, you were eager to see the book that set you back $25 or more, only to find your Valicia had forgotten to have her class mug shot taken and was seen only once in the book in the blurry background of a pep rally shot.
And, of course, you hoped if young Terrence were voted something like “Most Likely to Succeed,” that he wouldn’t wind up disappointing American society and becoming a Charles Manson later in life.
Economic victims
So school yearbooks can be anxiety-provoking, but they can also be a lot of fun. Sadly, however, yearbooks are also among the victims of shrinking school and family economies. The good news is that help has arrived from the digital era of communications, which we are calling the Virtual Unknown.
At the university where I teach, Indiana’s Ball State, the award-winning Orient yearbook has been gone for several years now. At my former university, California’s Azusa Pacific, the Student Government Association would like it dropped and for student money to go elsewhere. Only a president nostalgic for a past era, is keeping it alive.
For awhile, many schools tried shifting from the expensive hard-cover books to video yearbooks. Some still are using that and publishing books digitally on CDs or DVDs, choosing to forego printed yearbooks altogether. The thought is that videos, sights, and sounds are better — and save more trees — than printed books.
But a lot of schools are taking digital to another level and letting students customize their own books.
Print on demand
Some of these schools, like the Chahta-Ima Elementary School in suburban New Orleans, are going to a new kind of print-on-demand yearbook to save costs. Companies like TreeRing Corp. , based in Redwood City, California, use Internet-based technology that saves schools money by letting them print only as many copies as needed while letting a wider group of students, faculty and parents collaborate in the process.

Other companies offering these print-on-demand services include ones like Lulu, Ziblio, and Lifetouch.
Casey Gleason, principal of Chahta-Ima told the San Francisco Chronicle, “We wanted the school to be able to have a yearbook for its historical significance,” said Gleason, whose school has served several generations in Lacombe, La. “We wanted to do it at a reasonable cost, but not sacrifice instructional funds for the school.”
Online publishing
TreeRing is a start-up company featuring a publishing model that is catching on in the book industry of printing only the number of books needed by a customer.
It’s too early tell if this model will challenge the traditional school yearbook market, in which publishing companies like Taylor and Jostens dominate. But with more schools abandoning traditional yearbooks, it could.
The publishing of the yearbooks is done entirely online, with students, faculty, and parents able to contribute elements to the book. The class mug-shot pages and student organization pages remain pretty standard, but much of the rest of the book uses the “crowdsourcing” technique of having individuals upload pictures of themselves involved in school or family activities to other pages, for which templates are provided. They can even pop in pictures of news or cultural events during the year that were meaningful for them.
Personalized books
The result is a kind of personalized yearbook that insures your kid doesn’t have to lay out money to buy a book in which he/she is only pictured once or twice. So each book may be somewhat different from the next, but you pay for only your personalized book; not someone else’s. Another plus is that TreeRing pledges to plant one tree for every yearbook printed.
Very Californian and very cool.
No unsold books
It’s also cool for the schools and their budgets, because instead of being stuck with a couple thousand dollars of unsold books at the end of the year, there are no unsold books because a book doesn’t get printed by TreeRing until they receive payment from the student or family. The books are actually printed by an Indiana company contracted by TreeRing. Most of them are done in soft cover and costs can vary from roughly $10 to $15 each, which is cheaper than most traditional hard-cover yearbooks.
With these new publishing options available, yearbooks will hopefully be around for many years to come.
A silent prayer
But you still hope that “most likely to succeed” will refer to your young Terrence doing well in an endeavor that is considered legal and, who knows, maybe even ethical.
READ MORE

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

CBS News Covers TreeRing Custom Yearbooks at St Timothy School

CBS San Francisco (KCBS) news covers TreeRing's no-cost for school, customizable yearbooks at St Timothy School in San Mateo, CA. Interview with TreeRing co-founder, Aaron Greco, St Timothy School Principal, Monica Miller and Teacher/Parent Margaret Flynn.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Article: Fox News - Customizing Children's School Yearbooks


Published : Monday, 18 Oct 2010, 10:07 AM MDT
MESA, Ariz. - It's the classic yearbook picture you have to love - but wouldn't it be nice to have more than just the one picture?
A new yearbook company called TreeRing allows parents to add custom pages to their child's yearbook - anything from the first day of school to their favorite pets.
Red Mountain Ranch Elementary school is Mesa is trying it out this year.
"That's been the biggest challenge for us..is to try to include every student..more than just their individual portrait," said Red Mountain Ranch's Brenda Sibley.
"I thought it was pretty cool because then you can finally have your own personalized yearbook," said Chloe Smith.
It's easy to do. If your school signs up to have Tree Ring print the yearbook, all you have to do is go to the company's web site and plug in pictures to a template. The first two pages are free, but it's $3.99 for each additional page.  READ MORE

Friday, October 1, 2010

Article: CW News - School Days Online

Amanda Salinas, The 33 News
SACHSE, TX - We talk online, bank online, and stand in line for hours for the latest digital gadget. Now the school yearbook is finding its way online. More North Texas schools are making their memories digital.


On any given day, you can find Karen Andiel on the campus of Whitt Elementary School in Sachse. Andiel is like most PTA moms. She always has a camera in hand, and is ready to capture on film the moments of her children's lives. But many of the pictures she takes these days include more than just her children. Andiel is the yearbook editor for Whitt Elementary School.
"I've had so much fun. I'm getting to be at the school a lot, and getting to know the kids and the teachers and the office staff."
No cutting, or pasting, or printing involved. Just upload a picture, click and go!
"With Facebook and the iPhone, everything is so computerized and so digital. It's pretty easy for everyone to figure out, because we're doing it all the time," says Andiel.
Whitt Elementary is one of a several North Texas schools making the move from hardcopy to digital.
"Just drag and drop it on the page," says Brady McCue. McCue is co-founder of TreeRing, a web based system for online academic yearbooks.
"We allow parents to go on our site. They can quickly upload photos and create as many pages as they like."
School administrators say the digital switch makes financial sense. In the past, schools would order hundreds of yearbooks. Many would remain unsold, leaving the school with a hefty bill.
Whitt Elementary principal, Jonathan Slaten tells us this move is perfect for 2010 parents.
"They're doing Facebook everyday," says Slaten. "They are doing everything digitally, and they fully expect that this be digital too."
Karen Andiel has kept all her yearbooks, and often shares those memories with her daughters. It's an experience she hopes to replicate for them.
"I want them to show their kids and laugh at their pictures. Laugh at the way they did their hair, and what they were wearing. It's fun, it's great."
Hard copies don't go away. You can still order a printed version of the yearbook.  Read More

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Article: WhatTheyThink.com - Thinking Creatively About Business Models



TreeRing mentioned in article by OriginalThought LLC CEO, Bob Lieber, about creative business models.  Here's an excerpt:
Thinking Creatively About Business Models
By Bob Lieber 
To help you think a bit out of the box, here are two unique and inspiring business models examples to serve as thought starters just to get you going:
Application-Focused Model: http://www.treering.com/. This company focuses on the school yearbook and makes the process for schools much easier and much more personalized. Their description for their business is "Yearbooks for the Internet Generation".  READ MORE 

Monday, September 20, 2010

TR Press Release - PRWeb: TreeRing Wins Two Awards for Outstanding Achievement In Web Development

Redwood City, CA September 20, 2010  TreeRing Corporation, a company that creates yearbooks for the Internet generation, today announced that it has earned awards from two different web design competitions. TreeRing garnered the Education Standard of Excellence award for web development from Web Marketing Association's 2010 WebAward as well as Outstanding Achievement in Website Development by the Interactive Media Awards™ for the design and development of personalized yearbook website TreeRing.com. The honor recognizes TreeRing for surpassing the standards of excellence that comprise the web’s most professional work.
Both the IMA and WMA awards are judged on various criteria, including design, usability, innovation in technical features, standards compliance, and content by independent judges. In order to win the awards TreeRing's scores had to beat out hundreds of other sites to earn the top honors.
A judge from the Web Marketing Association had this to say about TreeRing, "Well done site that deserves more attention. I wish the site had been around in my school days."
Aaron Greco, Co-Founder and Head of Products at TreeRing, said, “We want our site to be as intuitive and accessible as possible for our users at schools across the nation. We’ve built it keeping our clients in mind – busy students, teachers, and parents who are strapped for time. The ten minutes they have between putting the kids to bed and making their lunches for the next day is precious, and need a tool that is simple and fun to use. Throughout the design process this has been a priority, and it’s nice to have our effort recognized by both the Web Marketing Association and the Interactive Media Awards’ stamps of excellence.”
About TreeRing
TreeRing creates yearbooks for the Internet generation. The Silicon Valley, CA-based company combines the efficiency of just-in-time digital printing and the collaborative power of online social networks to create personalized printed yearbooks that commemorate each child's unique school experience. The process reduces the yearbook creation and financial burdens for schools and invests in our planet's future by planting a tree for every yearbook printed. For more information, visit www.treering.com.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

TV: ABC News covers TreeRing school, Red Mountain Ranch Elementary

ABC News Phoenix (KNXV-TV) covers TreeRing custom yearbooks. TreeRing customer Brenda Sibley is interviewed.
Watch the video

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Article: Fox News 10 - TreeRing Lets Students Customize Yearbooks


MESA - Yearbooks are a great way to look back on school memories, but some kids have very few pictures of themselves in them.

Now, there's a solution -- customized yearbooks.
A Bay-area business called "Tree Ring" allows parents and students to go online, add their own personal photos, and create their own yearbook pages.
Tuesday, that company showed off their stuff at Red Mountain Ranch Elementary in Mesa. Every year, students will get a traditional school yearbook, but they will also be able to print their personalized pages and add them to their yearbook.
"The yearbook traditionally has been about the school during the time that you were there, and there's no reason it can't be about you while you are there," says Aaron Greco, co-founder of Tree Ring yearbooks.
"I think its really cool that I get to put whatever I want in there and pictures of my little brother and my friends so I can remember what I did that year," says student Megan Siblui.
Tree Ring uses digital technology to print each student's custom version.  Watch the video

Saturday, September 4, 2010

TV: NBC Sacramento Morning News (KCRA-TV) Live Story on TreeRing

NBC affiliate KCRA-TV Sacramento Morning News interviews TreeRing co-founder Aaron Greco.  
Watch the Video

Monday, August 9, 2010

Article: The School Photographer - Made to Order, Companies Say Personalized Yearbooks Are A Growing Trend

Yearbooks have been a part of the school experience for decades. While that tradition hasn't changed, the content of the yearbook has certainly evolved. Today, students and parents can customize the yearbook with meaningful, personal content. Established companies such as Minneapolis, Minn.-based Jostens Inc., as well as newcomers such as TreeRing Corp., are enabling students to put personal touches on their yearbooks.
  "Not much has changed in yearbooks over the past 100-plus years other than color pages, but we think the time has come," says Aaron Greco, co-founder of TreeRing, Redwood City, Calif. The company launched in 2009 and began printing and shipping books this spring.
  "It's so incredible seeing students' custom pages with all of their personal memories from the year that currently are lost on peoples' hard drives and flash drives," Greco says. "Although the yearbook is an ideal memento of one's childhood, it's amazing how poorly the current yearbook model actually captures it.  "We certainly think personalized yearbooks will become the 'norm' for schools," he adds. "It is the primary reason we founded the company."
  At Jostens, over the past two years, the company has developed and tested proprietary technology that allows students to make their own memories a part of their yearbooks. Jostens Personal Yearbook Pages enable students to publish photos and stories of themselves, their friends, and events and add those pages to their own copy of the school yearbook.  Says Tim Larson, president and CEO of Jostens, "Enabling students to publish their own content, along with the entire school story, encourages self-expression and allows students to add their own unique personalities.  "We are ushering in an entirely new era for the timeless tradition as we introduce even more ways for students to personalize their yearbooks."  Beginning in August, Jostens will provide online tools at www.yearbookyourself.com to design, review, and order custom yearbook pages. The website provides an easy way to design four-page inserts that are bound into the book to personalize every student's yearbook.  
 TreeRing works in a similar fashion, as schools create a traditional "core" yearbook that includes the entire school. The school yearbook team assembles a collection of student head shots, faculty pictures, and images that commemorate select school events such as athletics, arts, and more. Parents and students can then customize their own pages at www.treering.com. TreeRing prints each student's custom version of the yearbook.  The company says it saves schools money by having families order online directly from TreeRing; so schools don't have to place deposits for yearbooks, have no minimum purchase commitments, and have no leftover inventory at the end of the year. The company adds that due to its on-demand printing, schools have a later publication date for their yearbooks.
  The company also promotes itself as eco-friendly. Through its partnership with the nonprofit organization Trees for the Future, a tree will be planted for each yearbook purchased.  
  "We've had an incredible response to our product in our first year," says TreeRing co-founder Kevin Zerber. "For something that has been around for as long as the school yearbook, it's incredible how out-of-date the current publishing model is and how much technology improves the entire process."  READ MORE

Thursday, August 5, 2010

TR Press Release: Earth Times - TreeRing Corporation Partners with Trees for the Future to Plant 7,000+ Trees for Yearbooks Purchased this Year

Redwood City, CA (PRWEB) August 5, 2010 -- TreeRing Corporation is planting more than 7,000 trees via its partnership with the nonprofit organization Trees for the Future. A tree will be planted for each yearbook that has been created through TreeRing’s innovative, easy-to-use software that enables families to customize their student’s unique copy of the school yearbook.     Nature’s inspiration goes beyond TreeRing’s company name. Because families order their yearbooks directly online, schools no longer have to pre-purchase and then resell yearbooks. This relieves schools of any financial burden and the work involved in managing book sales, and also prevents the wasted paper, ink, and space of leftover books.
TreeRing’s founders harnessed the power of new digital printing and social networking technologies to build a tool that is elegant yet simple, allowing schools to create a traditional “core” yearbook, and then inviting parents and students to customize their own pages with a combination of personal photos and favorite memories. Like the concentric rings in the cross-section of an ancient redwood tree that signal years of growth, each student’s copy of the yearbook will capture the memories, accomplishments, and activities of that year.
“We want to protect the earth that our children will inherit by planting a tree for each book we produce,” says co-founder Chris Pratt.    "Our goal is to integrate environmental stewardship into our business and through Trees for the Future we are helping replenish natural resources and investing in environmental education around the world.” According to Conservatree, around 300 books can be made from one tree.
TreeRing considered several partners for their tree-planting initiative, and ultimately selected Trees for the Future, a leading nonprofit organization providing economic opportunity and improving livelihoods worldwide through seed distribution and agro forestry training. Over the years Trees for the Future has assisted thousands of communities in planting millions of trees, which have restored life to land that was previously degraded or abandoned. The trees provide food, fodder, fuel, fertilizer, and medicine for the farmers as well as biodiversity for the landscape.  READ MORE