Education Photos

Education Week’s Best Photos of 2011

By Nicole Frugé — December 23, 2011 1 min read
Sixth grader Julian Salazar travels to Wheat Ridge Middle School. Budget cuts have forced school officials in Colorado’s Jefferson County to close some schools. The district is also charging students a fee to ride school buses.
Desean Jefferson, 11, center, plays with his cousins Ja'Shawn Davis, 3, and Janiya Davis, 6, in front of their home in the Treme neighborhood in New Orleans, La. The children attended Holy Faith Temple Baptist Church summer camp where they made arts and crafts and played games. They had little else to do the rest of the summer in the neighborhood that still bears scars from Hurricane Katrina.
History teacher Judy Maupin, right, watches Principal Carrie Tulbert hug Alexis Butler, 12, between classes at Mooresville Middle School. Teachers of grades 7-12 in North Carolina’s Mooresville Graded School District say the "Capturing Kids' Hearts" program has been as integral to its improved achievement as its 1-to-1 laptop deployment.
Charter school students, draped in oversize T-shirts that read "Future NAACP Members," are joined by parents and teachers at a protest rally May 26. The demonstrators want the NAACP to withdraw from a lawsuit against the expansion of charter schools across New York City.
U.S. Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., left, the leading Democrat on the House education committee, listens as U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan makes a point during a discussion of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization in June at the Center for American Progress, a Washington-based think-tank.
Yancey Powell, manager of the Bay Foundation Hampton Roads Education Program, prepares the net for setting out to sea in the Chesapeake Bay. Students in the Virginia Beach school district take part in field exercises and learn about the environment in the classroom as well.
Shayreen Izoli, 16, plays with her kitten in West Warwick, R.I. The Lincoln School junior says 9/11 spurred her to become an ambassador for her faith. "I feel it's my responsibility as a Muslim to be a positive role model," she says.
Sandra Smith has been taking care of her granddaughter, Jonea Wilson-Hardy, since she was 5. Jonea, 12, holds her half-brother Jaiden Fonchenela, 1, while Smith looks on. Smith is one of thousands of grandparents in the country increasingly involved in their grandchildren's education.
For a report on the new economic reality for education, we analyzed how states are weathering the financial downturn. School districts have been directly affected by shrinking tax bases. After the economy collapsed in 2008, it took Jarrett Man, 27, owner of Stone Soup Farm in Belchertown, Mass., nearly twice as long to sell all of his Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares. "I still made the same income," Mr. Man said. "But I came closer to not selling them all."
Antonio Aquino, right, and Angel Aviles lead a line of 6th graders from Stonewall Jackson Middle School, in Manassas, Va., as they reenact 1861 military life at the Manassas National Battlefield Park. They are working with Journey Through Hallowed Ground to produce short videos exploring a variety of aspects of civilian and military life leading up to and during the Civil War.
Luis Castillo, 9, plays on the roof of his garage at home in San Pedro, Texas on the Texas-Mexico border. His mother, Alifonsa Castillo, 55, has been in the United States since coming from San Luis Potosi, Mexico in 1972 when she was 16. She and her husband Ramon, 60, have three grown children. She just started working to help out with the finances. Until recently, Texas had managed to avoid cuts to K-12 education during the economic downturn, until this summer when the state legislature approved a $4 billion cut to public schools in its 2012-13 budget.
Kindergarten pupils Piper Stephan, left, and Delaney Lane read to each other at Triadelphia Ridge Elementary School in Glenelg, Md. Maryland is one of 46 states plus D.C. to adopt new common standards in math and English/language arts for K-12.
Stephanie Dressler takes a shot during field hockey practice at East Juniata High School. The 3,100-student Juniata district, in central Pennsylvania, has started charging student-athletes $250 per sport to participate this year to help offset budget cuts. With stimulus funds evaporating and states reducing education aid, districts are struggling to do more with less.
Keith Look, the principal of the Academy @ Shawnee, in Louisville, Ky. talks with members of the school’s Navy Junior ROTC before the corps’ annual inspection. During the 2010-11 school year, Education Week chronicled Mr. Look and his staff while they worked to transform the long-troubled campus as part of a $3.5 billion federal push to turn around thousands of low-performing schools. For the first time in its history, Shawnee made adequate yearly progress, according to information released in October by the Kentucky Department of Education.
Maurice Van Lowe, a 4th grader at Burning Tree Elementary School in Bethesda, Md., reads in his classroom using Bookshare, a nonprofit electronic service that more quickly converts books into more accessible formats for students with certain kinds of disabilities. The service turns books into a format that can be read aloud by computers, magnified, and spaced differently.
Jose Franco and his girlfriend, Patricia Rendon, live with seven other family members in an apartment in Maspeth, N.Y. After their landlord sold the house, the family of nine has to find another place to live. Mr. Franco, 25, is a student at the GED Bridge to Health program at La Guardia Community College in Long Island City, N.Y. He has returned to school in an attempt to eventually earn a medical degree after helping his mother recuperate from a serious illness.
Sixth graders from Terman Middle School in Calif., meet with their instructor at the beginning of the day during a weeklong residential field-science program run by NatureBridge in a partnership with the National Park Service. For more than 40 years, NatureBridge has instructed students in field science and environmental education in Yosemite National Park, Olympic National Park, Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation.
Guest blogger Luanne Dietz recalls her journey from freelance photojournalist to middle school teacher, “Looking back a year now, I never could have imagined the roller coaster of highs and lows that come with being in a classroom.” Ms. Dietz's student, Latavia Nelson, 12, was chosen to represent the award-winning newspaper staff of the J.Hop Times from John Hopkins Middle School at a banquet in Washington D.C.
Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, attends the markup for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act on Oct. 20. A slew of quiet changes in the Senate bill to reauthorize the federal education law would substantially increase the role of research in federal education programs.
Jack Ursitti, 7, of Dover, Mass., has been diagnosed with autism and uses an iPad for leisure and educational activities. "It's a constant tool," says his mother, Judith Ursitti. "When we put an iPad in his hand, he immediately got it," she says.
Andrew Van Cleave, 24, and his sister, Lindsey Van Cleave, hug after Andrew's Dec. 8 graduation ceremony. Mr. Van Cleave, who has an intellectual disability and ADHD, became one of the first graduates of a two-year program at Vanderbilt University designed for students with severe cognitive disabilities. College programs like Vanderbilt's Next Steps program have grown exponentially over the past decade.
Roosevelt High School, in Portland, Ore., above, is receiving nearly $12,000 in extra funding per student under the economic-stimulus program. The school, which graduates fewer than 40 percent of its students, is putting an intense focus on improved teaching strategies in its stimulus-funded turnaround effort.
Angela Froom, an unemployed single mom carries Tiger, 4, and waits for Baily, 8, outside a grocery store in Sacramento, Calif. The 28-year-old mother lost her job when the company she worked for went out of business, and the family was forced to leave their rental home when the bank foreclosed on its owner. Since the economic downturn, California has faced budget shortfalls and has made severe cuts to education.

Education Week staff and contributing photographers strive to put our viewers inside the story, offering an intimate look at the people directly affected by education news and policy. Our best photos cover the big stories as well as the little moments of 2011, from state budget cuts, the congressional wrangling over the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and the 10th anniversary of 9/11 to the life of a GED student, and the simple joys of summer. It’s been a great year for photography. Here’s hoping next year is even better. We’ve got some wonderful projects lined up already. Stay tuned.

A version of this article first appeared in the Full Frame blog.