Covering New Ground at The Washington Post

By Lauren Lumpkin at The Washington Post

Lauren LumpkinWhile at The Washington Post this semester, I’ve been able to report a wide range of stories. From affordable housing to crime to a woman who drove her car into the White House, I’ve been able to bounce around the Metro section and get a feel for different parts of the newsroom.

After a mid-semester realization that I wanted to be an education reporter, I introduced myself to the education editor at The Post. I told him that I wanted to help in any way I can.

So, you can probably imagine how excited I was when he approached me two weeks ago and asked if I could write the teacher and principal of the year stories. Every year, The Post honors a principal and teacher in the area. The winners receive a cash prize and a feature in The Post.

One of my interviews started at 6:00 a.m. when I drove to Stafford, Va. to meet Dan Reichard, a fifth-grade teacher who incorporates his musical theater background into his classroom. I met his students and learned about the class’ transformation days, in which Reichard decorates the classroom according to a certain theme. This semester, he transformed the classroom into the set of “Jurassic World” for a lesson on rocks and minerals.

Paul Pack, The Post’s principal of the year, works at Liberty Elementary school in Loudoun County. He introduced me to his STEM-based approach to running a school, which includes a STEM summer camp and the only SMART technology lab in Loudoun County.

Both stories were published on the front page of The Post’s metro section. Paul Pack tweeted a photo of some of the students at Liberty reading the stories, which made it all worth it.

As the semester comes to an end, I’m happy with the work I’ve accomplished at The Post. It was definitely a slow start, but my editor has kept me busy with lots of assignments these past few weeks.