A yearbook is a reflection of the student body, representing a variety of ages, interests and backgrounds. This beautiful diversity can be showcased within the pages and enjoyed now and decades down the road.
However, there is a common pitfall among even the most experienced yearbook staff: bias and favoritism.
Sometimes a yearbook might feature many pictures of some students and few of others. This could be because some groups are considered more “popular” and therefore are featured more. It could also be because the people in the yearbook club want to feature their friends and are more likely to select their images over others.
Yearbook bias can be intentional or an oversight. One way to prevent this problem is to determine a strategy for representing students equally in next year’s book so everyone can feel good when they receive their copy.
Representation in yearbook images
Each student is featured once in their school pictures. These photographs are typically organized by class or by grade and are the posed pictures typically taken in the fall. While this is an important part of a yearbook, it’s the candid photos and images that accompany features that really bring the yearbook to life.
Does it make sense for one student to be in 10 different yearbook pictures while another student is only in one? No, but the answer isn’t black and white. Students who are more involved in school activities are more likely to be featured in photos (think clubs, sports, class council, etc.). A student who spends little time at school beyond what is required is naturally going to be in fewer candid and feature shots. How can you strike a balance?
Goals for yearbook inclusivity
One strategy schools use is to set a goal that each student is featured a minimum number of times in the yearbook. For example, if your goal is three images per student, you can count the school picture as one and then have a goal that they are in at least two other images throughout the yearbook. That could be a picture from a club they belong to, at a pep festival or studying at the library.
Students heavily involved in school might be in more than three images, but this type of goal sets an important baseline so you create an inclusive yearbook. Beyond pictures, some yearbook crews have a goal of how many pages students are featured on. So maybe a student is on three different pages rather than having all their images on one page. This helps ensure variety and diversity in a yearbook.
Inclusivity impacts students
An inclusive yearbook does more than just properly represent the school, it makes students feel good about themselves. They feel they are a part of the community and are connected to their class. It also boosts school spirit. Furthermore, years from now when each student flips through the yearbook to reminisce, they’ll be reminded of all the good times they had and the experiences that helped mold them into adults.