Ann Dornfeld

Reporter

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

Ahana Roy and Lucy Thackray at a video game coding class at Seattle Public Library's Northeast Branch in June, 2015.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld / KUOW

It’s the first day of summer vacation for students in Seattle Public Schools.

For a lot of people, "summer" is synonymous with "fun." But the season can take a toll on low-income families, who often rely on schools’ free or low-cost breakfast and lunch. And David Beard, Policy and Advocacy Director for School's Out Washington, says without summer learning opportunities, kids can forget a lot of what they’ve learned over the school year. 

At Interagency Academy in South Seattle, Principal Kaaren Andrews recruits students who've dropped out of school or are at risk of not graduating. She gives them another chance.

Interagency graduation is June 22. Here are two graduating seniors' stories, in their own words.


Volunteers from L’Oreal Clarisonic net an apple tree at the Amy Yee Tennis Center Orchard to keep out pests.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

There’s an old joke: What’s worse than finding a worm in your apple?

Finding half a worm.

At Excel Public Charter School in Kent, Academic Intervention Specialist Mona Swanson works with students in a science class.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

The state’s eight charter schools are not technically charters right now. The state Supreme Court invalidated the original charter law last year.


Seattle Music Partners students provides free instruction and instruments to students at low-income schools. The hope is to level the playing field at Washington Middle School and Garfield High, which have renowned music programs.
Courtesy of Seattle Music Partners

On Thursday afternoons at Bailey Gatzert Elementary School, music lessons are everywhere you look. 

Woodwinds twittering in the breezeways. Violas plucking out pizzicato notes in the kindergarten room. And trumpets blaring in this tutoring space, where fourth-grader William Si Luong wraps up a tune with his tutor Arnie Ness. 

Some Seattle School Board members say the state should let districts choose their own standardized tests. They say the state's current test is unfair to low-income students and takes up too much time and too many resources.

The state switched to the so-called Smarter Balanced assessment last year. Students take it in third through eighth and tenth and eleventh grades.


Students and staff march through Suzallo Library during a walkout on Thursday, May 12, 2016, to protest racial inequity on campus.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

Students and staff at the University of Washington held a walk-out Thursday to protest racial inequity they see on – and off – campus.

They chanted: “Whose lives matter? Black lives matter! Whose lives matter? Black lives matter!”

Joe Wolf / Flickr

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray is holding an Education Summit at Garfield High School on Saturday to look at ways the city can help improve the academic success of low-income students and children of color.

Seattle Public Utilities says its dams are about three-quarters full.
Flickr photo/Konstantin Stepanov (CC BY 2.0)

Recent, routine tests in Seattle Public Schools found that 49 schools had at least one faucet with lead levels above the district’s acceptable limit.

The district’s lead threshhold is stricter than federal standards: 10 parts per billion, compared to 20.

Flickr Photo/Mark Ahlness/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 http://bit.ly/245Cn9a

This school year, Seattle Public Schools agreed to teachers' union demands for a minimum amount of recess: 30 minutes a day. 

Students at Margaret Mead Elementary in Sammamish load their lunch trays beneath a canopy of bird netting. The school is so crowded that children line up for lunch outside.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

School funding measures tend to pass easily in Seattle.

Not so across the lake, where Lake Washington School District is trying to pass a bond measure – for the fourth time.

Sebrena Burr, who has a sixth-grader in Seattle Public Schools, protests the district's standardized tests outside district headquarters.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

A group of parents, teachers and activists is demanding that Seattle Schools make it easier for families to opt out of standardized tests.

Gerald Hankerson, the president of the Seattle-King County branch of the NAACP, said test results should not be the focus -- funding schools should be.

Families at Rainier Prep, a charter school, at a work party last summer.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

Charter schools can continue to operate in Washington state, after all.

Gov. Jay Inslee announced Friday that he would not veto a bill saving the charter school movement. The bill passed March 10.

An architect's rendering of the front of Mukilteo's kindergarten-only school, slated to open in 2017.
DLR Group/Courtesy of Mukilteo School District

Imagine a class of boisterous 5-year-olds.

Now picture 24 of those classrooms all under the same roof. That’s Mukilteo School District’s plan for a huge, kindergarten-only school on the east side of town.

It will be a haven for little learners. There will be heated floors, because kindergartners spend so much time on the ground.

Hillary Clinton makes her case at the Boeing Machinists union hall in Everett on Tuesday afternoon.
KUOW PHOTO/ANN DORNFELD

Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton campaigned across the Seattle area on Tuesday, saying she’d work to restore U.S. manufacturing jobs and making a pitch for support in Washington’s Democratic caucuses.

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