Sharper than Usual but Bringing into Focus the Idea of Moving Up!

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“Mr. Brake, it breaks my heart to know that you are also going to leave Repentino.  I understand why, but I just feel our little Repentino. family grew up too fast and flew out of the nest. A year ago seems to have happened yesturday, and yet it feels like a life time has gone by.

There is nothing else I can say but that I miss everything that high school was for me. I miss just walking into the library and have 5 life long conversations that would make me laugh so much that my stomach and cheeks would hurt.

Sorry for my emotional speech, but your news made me so!!!”

Of course a post like that gets you right here – and allows you to look back and realize – what we have done – yes, we are making a difference in many lives that go on before us, and individuals silently, and unexpectedly, become leaders in some way, shape or form.

In preparing for this workshop today titled Moving Up – I struggled like anyone struggled with what would be a dynamic way to start, as well to get across the idea that in order to get a PR to be successful, you need to have everyone involved, everyone on PR that is effective, feel it here (your heart).  If this is obtained, if this is not felt, then sure, you will have a mediocre PR and results from your PR – the opposite, life will be sensed through every tweet, post and publishing that occurs.  That is your goal.  How can you achieve everyone, from so many backgrounds, to feel the power of what is possible, mores than any other publication in your school?

I can only share with you some tricks and options that have worked with me and you add in your own mix of what works with you – and as we do this workshop today – we are also sending these tips out to the world.

In being able to transition from a yearbook advisor for at least five years, then mooing into a position of literary arts magazine editor – you can take all the tips of the trade that so many advisors and staffs have put into place before you, and if you forget the heart of the matter, you still will fall short.

I like this video about yearbooks but it easily transgresses across to many other publications and activities that staffs should feel to reach their potential.

Some great ideas to help contributing members move up into positions of influence ?

  • Moving UP is a misnomer – actually if you are encouraged to move horizontally – all things will be revealed regarding strengths, etc.. and so will your publication: Bookmarks for Literacy, helping other clubs even when you can use the help, Open up venues for expression outside of the print – (this also opens op new positions) – International Acquisitions – contribute to where your magazine has been without words and tap into video talents of your staff, let your school see you are involved with creative initiatives like NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month) and more …
  • Creating an application process for new staff
  • Creating an application process for editor wishes to editor want to be’s
  • A GREAT idea for evaluating new staff and considering positions, taken from yesterday’s workshop titled, No Repeat Staff, No Problem! by the following two staff members – Allie Straub – and Laura Zhu
  • 1) Tic Tac Toe Board – 60 minutes – 3 tasks
  • 2) clipboard – soon to be leaving staff and monitor snack bar buffet

Put out the work ahead of time into the process – such as:

create contracts for approval of pieces, as well as applications to add justification to members being on staff,

create Bylaws of standards to remain in the group,

add some teeth to awards that are not just freely given by EARNED,

add job descriptions that will help add validity to the job someone will do, but have exiting staff edit these for the incoming staff!

Find places for training – some ideas:

Yearbooks – We always attended a retreat as Advisors and staff in Gettysburg College for Jostens and Yearbooks – it made a difference when it came to creating the theme, creating the ladder and then reinforcing that with conferences for yes, both advisors and staff such as CSPA!

Better yet – have YOUR staff veterans and newcomers CREATE their own summer camp – add sections of photo, layout, writing, and more this WORKS!

Never, ever be afraid to promote what you do in being an extension of preparation for post-gaff involvement:

Why be involved ?

Can you remind me again?

Why be an advisor?  Justify in front of the staff?

Common Core Ties?

Why be part of a literary staff?

It is vital to not be afraid to create new interpretations every year of what your publications aim to do – how to do this?

Create new positions – and have them appear in new places:

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Go the extra mile but show your staff how to do that (Secretary is also your chief correspondent) – thank you’s sent personally for everything from allowing you to be part of a concessions to earn funds – allowing you to do an interview, acknowledgement of the freedom and spaces for creativity, this comes from administration, faculty, colleagues, and staff members that normally are not thanked during the process (editors, layout designers, etc.).

A good analogy is that of the Open Mic versus the Slam Poetry.  The difference between entertaining an idea and slamming the idea into motion around you.

Celebrations are necessary to celebrate the actions that go unseen, however, add more than a party celebration to define a thanks.  Christmas – Polar Express with Hot chocolate and cookies spread everywhere, Secret Santa among staff, create your own leadership Awards for the group at the end of the year – have a set essay that goes out to the staff when they graduate that becomes a custom, create a custom of excellent to a “mecca” that they obtain new ideas, skills for the next year or current year, create a gala to orient new students to what your publication has to offer reach out to younger staff in Middle School, reach out to alumni, reach out to parents –

One crucial aspect is always, ALWAYS keep alumni form your staff included, their job does not have to be over when they depart, not at all- it could be just beginning!  Check out Erick Gordon from right here in Columbia.  It is vital the staffs realize these coincidences as they occur in your publication.

If you allow yourself, your staff to dig deep and find elements of moving forward that will result in ultimately Moving Up, but your staff has to feel it.


About Harry Brake

Employee of Woodbridge High School, Library Media Specialist, Media crazy! :)
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