2013 Single-Topic News or Feature for Print/Online (Small Staff) Winner

Sara Neufeld | The Hechinger Report and NJ Spotlight

“Promise to Renew”

Judges’ Comments

“Beautifully written package of the stories about the challenges of teaching students with special needs. Sara Neufeld takes readers into the schools and classrooms, where they can get a taste of both the struggles and challenges of the children and the difficulties and stresses faced by the teachers and why there is a high turnover rate among them. She balances the experiences at one school with what is going on in the broader environment of special education.”

“A superlative series that lays out the challenge of education reform in one of the most grueling settings. Sara Neufeld made excellent use of the access she was granted, presenting each person with respect, honesty and insight. We see the tension of ongoing staff resignations and we see the personal commitment and sacrifice of the principal and others who are determined to give students whatever support they need. Neufeld is masterful in weaving education philosophy throughout the series, so that in three segments any reader will emerge with a deeper understanding of the reform effort, the day-to-day frustrations of life and learning in a struggling urban school, and the many issues and situations the principal juggles over the course of a school year. Well-paced, researched, and written. Bravo.”