The newspaper's "Failure Factories" series found that the Pinellas County, Fla., school board's decision to end desegregation efforts led to the steep decline of five schools.
The typical U.S. education journalist is female, works for a newspaper or online outlet, and is optimistic about the future of the field, a survey says.
The Society of Professional Journalists also honors a TV documentary on the children of Katrina and a small newspaper's report on school district financial irregularities.
The Tampa Bay Times won for its "Failure Factories" series, while Farah Stockman of The Boston Globe won for commentary about the legacy of desegregation in Boston.
The project includes stories on the web and NPR's news shows, contributions by reporters from local stations, and an interactive map developed with Education Week.
The newspaper won the Investigative Reporters & Editors award for reporting on the failures of the Pinellas County, Fla., district's efforts to educate African-American children.
The April 14 forum comes nearly a year after civil unrest that followed the death of Freddie Gray, who went into a coma while in a police van.
A controversial documentary asserting a causal link between childhood vaccines and autism has been pulled from the festival's schedule next month.
The private school run by Benedictine monks serves more than 500 boys, mostly from low-income African-American or Hispanic families.
"Do You Dream in Color?" follows the four from venues including the skate park to the special education meeting as they strive to achieve their goals.