This is a six-part series about an alternative school for struggling kids in Essex County, N.J. The piece gets close to kids whom others might dismiss—just as the school does. It’s an effective and affecting account. We notice the structure: Fisher starts the piece with scenes of a graduation. She ends the series with graduation a year later. In between are three sections, each devoted to one student. It’s an efficient approach, given the limited length of the piece and the sprawling subject—a group of kids and staff, followed for a year.

We particularly liked the chapter on Ayisha. The scenes are effective, the background moving. Throughout the piece, at times, we wanted more evocative scene-writing: precise action and the sights, sounds, smells of the school days and the students’ lives. Still this is an engaging, insightful series.

Read “Last Chance High,” by Robin Gaby Fisher

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