Here are the balance of the responses to this adviser:
“Yeah, I have a question for the Group. How can you gently, but firmly, urge someone NOT to take yearbook next year. I have a few people, whose performance is OK, but, they don’t seem willing or able to step up their game.”
Some great stuff in these:
“ It’s always best to be honest with the student. In their heart of hearts they KNOW they didn’t toe the line! So just have a one-on-one with them & IF they go elsewhere & they have better performance for the entire year in the other class BUT want to return to YB the following year, take them for a probationary period. Clear with your counselors first that you have the prerogative to put them out if they start slacking again!”
“I would just tell them it’s not a good fit and then lay out the reasons why. You are responsible for tens of thousands of dollars in budget - it’s like a business. Ultimately, if you have the support of admin, they won’t be in yearbook. But you definitely need concrete reasons to tell them why.”
“I don’t know if this answer is something the adviser wants to hear, but depending on the age of the student and the severity of the problem, I don’t know that I would urge them not to take yearbook. Usually if a student really wants to take yearbook, I will give them a second chance, but not a third. My grades in yearbook are performance based, and my student’s know this. They see it on their report cards. If the student truly wants to continue despite having a grade less than an A the previous year, I find that they generally turn themselves around and don’t require a third chance. A discussion with the student about his or her difficulties in the class one year can do wonders for the following year. Since we are dealing with teenagers, it helps to remember that a student who is unmotivated and immature one year can completely turn himself or herself around the following year. Best of luck to you!”
“Why do you have to say it gentle? Kids need to learn. Tell the student the exact issue. Your Performance is OK but sometimes work ethic and desire to always be better is just as important. I haven’t seen enough drive in you. That’s is life the real world isn’t always gentle.”
“My school gives me the roster and I am allowed to say no. If kids ask, the class is full. I would rather give a slot to a new person instead of a person who had a chance and was mediocre. But I am mean, insensitive, and ugly.”
And this last one which is really in-depth:
“I had to sit down with a student just last week to tell her I wasn’t letting her into yearbook. Here’s some info: First, all students must apply to be in. I use Josten’s application that’s available in the resources on YB Ave. Their parents and them have to sign that they acknowledge the workload. Getting students to apply requires that I speak to classes (mostly honors English-Frosh and Soph) to recruit. They usually don’t apply till I speak to them about it. I also have a staff handbook that also serves as a syllabus that each student receives. It has this wording for the dismissal policy:
Staff Selection and Dismissal Policy
Staff members will be selected after completing a formal application and obtaining teacher recommendations. If a staff member is not fulfilling his/her duties as a member of the El Tiburón team (this can include issues with absenteeism), he/she may be dropped at the semester.
Then I do a quarterly performance review with each student. The editor and chief and I sit down and complete rubrics for each kid and then we meet privately with everyone. We give them positive feedback and then provide ways to improve in areas that aren’t up to par. All of this leads to the end of the year where I have a paper trail showing that a kid hasn’t been pulling their weight and hasn’t worked to improve. I sat down with one of these kids last week and told her that I wasn’t going to be able to have her work on the book next year because of A, B, and C. She took it pretty well and understood. Also, if an angry mom calls, I’ve got objective info to send back to her. It’s a job, so I treat it like a job..”
I want to thank every adviser that sent me such great info. The original adviser who was asking truly appreciated it.