Tuesday, May 31, 2011

TeachStreet: Personalizable School Yearbooks at Zero Cost to Schools

Posted by Sophie Lange.  Managing our school yearbook on top of my teaching responsibilities always used to feel like a chore.  It was stressful to use the antiquated computers and design software available at my school, and ensuring that we included enough photos of each student was stressful. But new book design technology from yearbook company TreeRing.com has changed everything. TreeRing's design software is very intuitive and there are all kinds of beautiful page backgrounds and templates to choose from and customize.  Additionally, the software is web-based so my yearbook team can work on the book from home if need be. TreeRing delivered our school’s yearbooks last week and so many students were elated.  As usual, our yearbook features all the school-wide activities, campus highlights and a class portrait of each student.  But there’s a twist – each yearbook is personalized to include a few pages dedicated to the student receiving the book. This option was available to all families, and more than 90% of those who ordered a book decided to personalize it.
It is palpable how much more excited and proud of their yearbooks our students are this year. Students have fun exchanging notes and signatures as always, and now they can also share photos of family trips, Halloween costumes, and holiday traditions that are specific to them.  It’s like each student’s own experience is validated. TreeRing’s process makes it possible to capture individual memories in this collective school artifact.  It’s not necessary to be the most popular or pretty girl – and the boys don’t have to be captain of the football team – just to have their experiences represented.
Another plus is that our school no longer has to pre-order or pre-pay for yearbooks - all parents order them directly online.  It's been wonderful to be taken out of the check collecting business!  They have a very easily to understand website in case you want more info.
It was easy for me to convince our principal to switch yearbook providers because signing up with TreeRing.com is no cost to the school.  And the company even plants a tree in a partnership with the nonprofit organization Trees for the Future for each book purchased.
What a fantastic way to bring the yearbook tradition into the current era of technology, and to make sure each kid’s experience is represented in the copy that they take home!  Thank you, TreeRing.