Salt Lake City’s Free Skool organizers are the folx that maintain this WordPress site, manage and print the monthly calendar and provide assistance and guidance for teachers, students and other organizers. Each month there is a main organizer and co-organizer, who have each made two month commitments to our Free Skool. There are many other people that help organize and participate regularly but without a formal commitment.
This page mainly provides information, resources and suggestions for the committed two person organizer team, but is certainly also useful for all other organizers, as well as teachers and students who want to know more about how SLC’s Free Skool works. We’re always open to new ideas that will make Free Skool more self-sustaining, transparent and easy to get involved with. Publicly sharing this type of organizational information is part of that effort.
How to Become an Organizer
Each month we have two main committed organizers (though there are many others that help in their own less formal ways!). Each have committed to organizing for two months at a time. One as the “main” organizer who already has experience organizing for Free Skool. This person will spend one month bottom-lining the organizing tasks while helping a less experienced organizer learn the ropes. This less experienced co-organizer will assist and learn from the main organizer (and others) during their first month, then become the main organizer their second month. The second month there will be a new co-organizer who will then act as the main organizer their second month, and so on.
This rotating two month commitment is a new structure we’re trying in hopes of providing the Free Skool with more stability and sustainability. Anyone can be an organizer even if you don’t have any experience whatsoever. Many of us began in the same boat, and have learned and refined things along the way.
There are a minimum number of tasks that need to be done each month to keep Free Skool functioning. Of course in addition to those basics there are plenty of other things that could be done if time and energy allows! This first list contains the basics. Remember, as the main or co-organizer/ bottom-liner you don’t personally need to do all of these things yourself but could also ask/find others who can to help lighten your load.
- Back of calendar formatting – It’s more fun and a good skill sharing opportunity to format with others (though perhaps takes a bit more time and planning) but can also be done alone or remotely. See “Formatting the Calendar” below for more tips.
- Calendar Release Potluck – Hosted by organizers every last Sunday of the month, typically at 7pm, often at Boing! (coordinate with a Boingster! and clean up after please) but could be cool to do it other places too.
- Class deadline reminders – Two reminders seem to be most helpful, one a few days before the last Sunday and another the day before. If you don’t have a lot of Free Skool contacts you can always create a text and ask other organizers to share it.
- Distribute physical calendars – Give to other collectives or people involved in Free Skool to pass out to friends or have at home for visitors. Perhaps also post at coffee shops or other locales.
- Update online calendars – Update Facebook, Instagram the WordPress with new calendars. (Facebook does not support PDF’s, see “Printing the Calendar below). Like all posts right away to help advertise.
- Orient new organizers and teachers – Best done in person, will be easier in person, and will make them feel welcome, involved and valued. Explain how Free Skool works with new volunteers, show them the websites, give them usernames and passwords to everything, see how they’d like to be involved. With teachers, give them advice on how to plan and teach classes, point them to resources or other teachers they could speak too and answer questions they may have. The “Teach” page has more info and suggestions.
- Update WordPress (and other websites) – A lot of info here is very specific to how things are done currently, as of Summer 2016, but that could change and the website should keep up with the changes.
- Find new artists – Sign-up list below for calendar artists. This is an easy job, people like to do the art.
If there’s time, energy and interest for more organizing tasks and projects, consider these (this could be an ongoing list – you can add change content by clicking the “edit” link at the bottom of the page):
- Advetize SLC’s Free Skool to a larger population – Look into local publications, radio and podcasts
- Add calendar archives to the “Archives” page here on WordPress
- Could even scan old old calendars to add. Found in large white folder behind the free zines in the Boing! infoshop.
- Update archived class descriptions on “Archives” page
- Research other Free Skools for ideas
Calendar (Front) Art Suggestions
As an organizer it is useful to meet with the artist in person or speak on the phone to give them tips on making the calendar. There are little things that make a big difference in how easy it is to format. Though many may seem obvious, if it is their first time doing it, it can be easy to overlook things.
- Use legal size paper 8.5″ x 14″ – there is some at Boing! in the infoshop/front room
- Make calendar squares are large enough to write event titles in
- Include “SLC Free Skool”, month and year
- Start month dates on the first row of the calendar, make sure all dates fit
- Page orientation and everything else is their choice
- They can check out old calendars on this website or at Boing! for ideas (in a big white folder behind the free zines in the infoshop/front room)
- Ask them to give it to organizers a day before printing is planned in case alternations need to be made
- They don’t need to worry about scanning it, that will be done when organizers print it
Calendar Artist Queue
- January 2017 – Ely (?)
- February 2017 – Sage (?)
- March 2017 – Cole
- April 2017 –
- May 2017 –
- June 2017 –
- July 2017 –
- August 2017 –
- September 2017 –
- October 2017 –
- November 2017 –
- December 2017 –
Printing the Calendar
- Save digital files as PDF’s and JPEG’s for compatibility with different websites
- Facebook requires JPEG or GIF (not PDF)
- The FedEx Kinko’s in 200 South and University Street has a sweet student discount (3 cents a page/100 copies for about $8.50). Sometimes you have to show your student I.D. sometimes you don’t.
- They can save the files as PDF’s or JPEG’s if you have a thumb drive. They cannot e-mail them to you.
- Boing! has a printer/copier!!! you can use.
- Try to put out a donation jar at the Calendar Release Potluck and other events to cover paper/printing costs. Boing! also has some funds you can use, speak to a boingster for more info.
Formatting the Calendar
- Formatting is usually done the last Sunday of the month a few hours before the Calendar Release Potluck. It’s nice to have a few people together physically in the same place so new people can learn how it works, but that isn’t always possible and can be done remotely or even the day or two leading up to Sunday. But many people don’t add their classes until the last 24 hours so keep that in mind.
- Typically a total of 3 -4 hours and 2 – 4 people are needed to format it depending on how many events there are
- The calendars are kept in the firstname.lastname@example.org Drive folder. Copy an old calendar as a template and create a new document for the current month. It will be a google document that can be accessed by multiple people at the same time.
- Include the current month’s organizer’s contact info.
Accounts & Passwords
It would be great to keep all usernames, handles and passwords as similar as possible, identical even, for ease of use, transparency, collaboration and sustainability purposes. Anyone involved with Free Skool is welcome to check out and contribute to the following accounts and social media.
- WordPress – alwayslearningslc & freeskool
- Instagram – alwayslearningfreeskool & freeskool
- Gmail – slcalwayslearning & freeeskool
- Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/alwayslearningslc
- To add an admin (as an admin) – From the Free Skool page go to “settings”, then to “page rules”, search for person, change status to “admin”, enter your password when prompted and voilà!
- To turn off Free Skool notifications (as and admin) – From the Free Skool page go to “settings” then “notifications”
- Neocities – neocities.org – alslc.neocities.org & freeskool