Ann Dornfeld


Year started with KUOW: 2008

Ann Dornfeld covers education for KUOW.

She previously worked as a roving freelance public radio reporter, focusing on environmental issues, for KUOW and national shows including Morning Edition, All Things Considered, The Environment Report and Marketplace. Ann has reported on a rare bioluminescent bay in Puerto Rico, penguin habitat loss in South Africa, mangrove destruction in the U.S. Virgin Islands, coral reef conservation in Bonaire and invasive lionfish in the Bahamas. She covered a major earthquake in Sumatra, Indonesia, for NPR News and The World.

Before that, Ann was a reporter and Morning Edition host at KLCC Public Radio in Eugene, Oregon, and had internships at KUOW and Alaska Public Radio Network. She got her start spinning hip-hop records at the radio station of Oregon State University, where she majored in biology and environmental sciences.

She has won awards for her reporting from the Society of Professional Journalists, The Associated Press and Public Radio News Directors Incorporated. Ann has received both investigative and data reporting awards from the Education Writers Association for her coverage of ongoing recess cutbacks and physical education shortages in Seattle-area schools.

Ways to Connect

Emily Au, right, a junior at Rainier Beach High School, walks home from school with her cousin, Rebecca Chung. Au says the walk is dangerous, and that some students skip class or show up tardy because they don't want to walk in the dark.
KUOW photo/Ann Dornfeld

When Emily Au walks to school, she worries about getting jumped – again.

Last time, it was a woman at a bus stop asking for bus fare. The woman didn’t take no for an answer.

Daniel Bagley Elementary School in north Seattle.
Joe Wolf/Flickr Photo (CC BY-ND 2.0)

A lot of Seattle teens can hit the snooze button next school year.

The school board voted 6-1 Wednesday night to push back start times for middle and high schools.

Corin Mochnick

Elementary students in Seattle Public Schools get far less time to eat lunch than district policy requires, according to a study by University of Washington graduate students. That confirms what parent activists have long reported.

Two-year-old Mason Rueber practices forking a grape with a Kindering special educator Wendy Olsen. The Best Starts for Kids levy would fund programs that identify and address developmental delays early in children's lives.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

King County voters will decide on a levy focused on helping young children get a strong start in life.

The Best Starts for Kids levy would raise about $390 million over six years to pay for an array of services aimed at improving the prospects of disadvantaged children. But critics say the tax could hurt the very people it purports to help.

Ann Dornfeld / KUOW

This was not your usual bake sale.

"We’ve got some Bum Deal Brownies, Overcrowding Oreos, B.S. Banana Bread, Forget the Kids Fig Bars," laughed Darcey Pickard as she showed off the pastries parents had donated for Tuesday's “Half-Baked Sale” on the sidewalk outside the Seattle Public Schools district headquarters.

A Seattle hospital employee works too far from the official lactation rooms, so she must find private spaces to pump. Often, that means she ends up sitting on the floor of a bathroom.
Courtesy of Anonymous

The lactation room wasn’t a room at all.

It was a corner of the lunch room in an old King County building in Seattle's Columbia City neighborhood.

A shoji screen was set up for privacy, although cracks allowed people to see through. A vent blew in cold air.

Highline school bus driver Rodger Fowler shows off his stop paddle – and (in the lower-right corner) the camera that captures motorists who ignore the paddle.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

If you illegally pass a school bus in the Highline District, you’re likely to get $394 ticket in the mail.

The district is one of the first in the state to roll out a new school bus camera system that helps nab drivers who ignore buses' lighted stop paddles.

Students play double-dutch at recess at Colman School in 1971. Back then, students had an hour or more time to eat and play at school.
Seattle Public Schools Archives

There was a time Seattle students got 95 minutes of lunch and recess.

Most of that time was for a languid midday break that allowed plenty of time to eat and play.

File photo of kids playing tag.
Flickr Photo/Felipe Vidal (CC BY SA 2.0)/

Traditional tag is back in the Mercer Island School District.

The district had decided to ban the perennial favorite game from its playgrounds as part of a "hands-off" policy among children meant to reduce injuries and bullying.

Five of the eight teachers at Washington state's first charter school were not certificated when classes began last year. That's just one of many problems in a newly-released state audit of First Place Scholars Charter School.

Auditors found that the lack of credentialed teachers -- and overestimated student enrollment -- meant the Seattle school was overpaid by more than $200,000 of public funds.

Teachers and supporters march down First Avenue South on their way to the Seattle Public Schools headquarters south of downtown on Tuesday.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

The strike appears to be over.

Seattle teachers union representatives and school district leaders announced Tuesday night the approval of a tentative agreement.

Teachers and supporters march down First Avenue South on their way to the Seattle Public Schools headquarters south of downtown on Tuesday.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

The Seattle teachers union and the school district said Tuesday they have reached a tentative contract agreement to end a week-long strike.

The district said its 53,000 students could return to class as soon as Thursday if the deal goes through. Union officials were meeting Tuesday afternoon to discuss the proposal.

Teachers strike outside Orca K-12 in Columbia City on Wednesday. Seattle Public Schools remains closed Monday as negotiations continue.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

The Seattle teachers' strike enters its fourth day Monday as teachers continue to negotiate their contract.

Seattle Public Schools issued a counter-proposal that spokeswoman Stacy Howard says would include pay for a longer school day. She did not specify how much pay.

Ann Dornfeld / KUOW

Students are out of class for a second day in Seattle Public Schools as teachers continue their strike.

The union and district have agreed to meet with a mediator Thursday but have no plans to return to the bargaining table.

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Seattle Public School teachers walked off the job today. It was supposed to be the first day of school.

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