Ann Dornfeld | KUOW News and Information

Ann Dornfeld

Reporter

Year started with KUOW: 2008

Ann Dornfeld reports on issues of racial inequity for KUOW.

She previously covered education for the station. Before that, Ann was 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.

Ann also worked as a reporter and Morning Edition host at KLCC Public Radio in Eugene, Oregon, after 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 also 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. Her photography has appeared in exhibits at the American Museum of Natural History and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. 

Ways to Connect

Ryan Reilly's first-grade student offered their interpretations of a bell hooks book about prejudice.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld / KUOW

Teachers at schools across Seattle wore Black Lives Matter shirts to class Wednesday. They also gave lessons about race and equity – and talked with students about what their shirts mean.

Bill Radke speaks with reporter Ann Dornfeld about the 2,000 teachers who wore Black Lives Matter t-shirts to schools Wednesday in both Seattle and the Highline District. Dornfeld discusses the racial equality lesson plans the teachers created and some of the concerns parents had about the day.

Flickr Photo/WarzauWynn (CC BY-NC 2.0) http://bit.ly/2e4FXO7

A little girl went home in tears recently: She had been called "a Trump" at her school in Seattle.

A first-grade boy, the son of a KUOW employee, asked his mother if his Muslim classmates would have to move away if Donald Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, were elected.


Ann Dornfeld / KUOW

Many Seattle elementary schools are doing away with homework this fall, citing a growing body of evidence that take-home assignments tend not to help elementary and middle school students.


Ann Dornfeld / KUOW

Most teens in Seattle Public Schools get to sleep in this year - at least, relative to years past. After years of pressure from parents, teachers and sleep experts, the district flipped its bell times so that nearly all middle and high schools start at 8:45 a.m., and most elementary schools begin at 7:55 a.m. That's the opposite schedule from years past, when many elementary students didn't start until 9:30.

Parents in Washington state may notice another measurement along with their students’ state test scores this year. The student growth percentile (SGP) is meant to compare a child’s learning to their peers. 

The King County Council has unanimously approved the master plan for the $400 million Best Starts for Kids initiative voters passed last fall.

Half of the Best Starts for Kids funding will go toward early childhood efforts, like programs that send nurses on regular home visits with low-income moms and babies, a new system for infant and young child mental health, and increased spending on public health services for pregnant women and children.

John Muir Elementary in Seattle, where 48 percent of the students are black.
Flickr Photo/Joe Wolf http://bit.ly/2cLugNE (CC BY-ND 2.0)

An event at a South Seattle school aimed at inspiring students of color has been canceled after John Muir Elementary received an online threat.

Erin Jones, left, and Chris Reykdal are running for state schools chief in Washington state. Jones has been under fire for her comments on gender curriculum.
Campaign photographs

Q. Erin Jones and Chris Reykdal are the two candidates for state schools chief. So let's get to know them. What do you know about Reykdal?

Reykdal is a three-term Democratic state representative from Tumwater.

He’s been a teacher, and he’s vice-chair of the House Education Committee.


School supplies
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Bill Radke speaks with KUOW education reporter Ann Dornfeld about why Washington asks its students to help supply their schools. 

Washington requires traditional supplies meant for individual use, like a 24-pack of crayons and some spiral bound notebooks, as well as more unusual supplies meant to be shared by the classroom, like one jumbo pack of napkins, two bottles of hand sanitizer and two reams of copy paper. 

Scantron test sheet
Flickr Photo/COCOEN daily photos (Cc-BY-NC-ND)

Bill Radke speaks with KUOW education reporter Ann Dornfeld about the most recent Washington State report card.

Students who took the Smarter Balanced Assessment, a statewide test for public school students, did better on average this year. Still, approximately half of elementary school students are not meeting the standard in math, and they're not doing much better in English language arts.

Sylvia and Ernie would have made a prettier pie, but this one, made by a crust novice, was amazingly delicious.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

My parents almost always have a pie in the cupboard: apple in the fall, pumpkin in the winter, rhubarb in the spring and blackberry in the summer. My mom makes the crust. My dad makes the filling. I’ve never had a pie approaching the quality of theirs.

Growing up in Seattle I spent summer evenings like this picking blackberries.

These days I spend more time trying to fend off blackberry vines in my garden.

If you’ve tried to do that, you’ve probably found that following one long blackberry vine to the source leads to another heading a different direction.

A Satanist group said it’s planning to start after-school clubs at two Washington schools this fall.

The Satanic Temple said it’s bringing the After-School Satan club to schools across the country that now host the evangelical Christian Good News Club, including Centennial Elementary in Mount Vernon and Point Defiance Elementary in Tacoma.


A coalition of groups and lawmakers in Washington state is calling for a statewide ban on the sale of military-style assault weapons, the type of gun used in recent mass shootings in Dallas, Tex., Orlando, Fla., Roseburg, Ore., and San Bernardino, Cal.

Washington state schools superintendent Randy Dorn filed a lawsuit Tuesday in King County Superior Court against seven school districts for using levy dollars to boost teacher salaries.

Dorn said the state Supreme Court’s McCleary decision was clear: Under the state Constitution, teacher salaries must be funded by the Legislature, not levies. 

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and City Councilmember Tim Burgess chat over playdough with preschoolers at Causey's Learning Center, one of the first Seattle Preschool Program providers.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

Parents tend to get sticker-shock when it’s time to pay for child care.

Now it’s the city’s turn.

The city of Seattle is scaling back plans for its subsidized preschool program, one year into the four-year pilot, citing the need to pay providers more than expected.


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.

Pages