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

Teachers walk the picket line at a Seattle school.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

Public school teachers in Seattle went on strike Wednesday over a contract dispute for the first time in 30 years.

The walkout comes after last-minute negotiations with Seattle Public Schools failed to produce an agreement on wages and other issues.

Deanne and Austin Hilburn say Excel Public Charter School in Kent is exactly what they'd been hoping for for Austin.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

Washington state charter schools are open as usual today despite Friday’s state Supreme Court decision that charters are unconstitutional. Families of charter school students are trying to figure out what comes next.

Rich Wood / Washington Education Association

Seattle Public Schools teachers have voted to strike beginning the first day of school, Sept. 9, if there's no new contract.

Teachers call the district's proposals "disrespectful."

Families and staff at Rainier Prep sand old paint off railings in the school's adopted building at a recent work party.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld / KUOW

Charter schools are unconstitutional, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled late Friday afternoon – dropping a bombshell just days after some charter schools opened their doors. 

Washington state voters approved charter schools in 2012, after rejecting them three times.

Teachers donned red shirts and picketed outside schools across Seattle on Wednesday. They will vote on whether to strike on Thursday evening.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

Seattle teachers haven't gone on strike over a contract negotiation since 1985.

But Seattle Education Association Vice President Phyllis Campano says with school less than a week away, the district and union are far apart on too many issues.

Principals decide how much recess kids get; teachers want to bargain a minimum amount into their contract. Here, kids play at Sandel Park in Seattle's Greenwood neighborhood.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

Last year, a KUOW investigation found that recess has been cut back at many Seattle schools – especially in low-income neighborhoods.

As KUOW’s Ann Dornfeld reports, now the teachers’ union is asking the district to require a minimum 45 minutes of recess in all elementary schools.

Signs promote lunch and recess for Seattle students.
Facebook Photo/Lunch and Recess Matter

Marcie Sillman talks to KUOW's Ann Dornfeld about recess (and other issues) that are on the table in contract talks between the Seattle teacher's union and the school district.  

Signs promote lunch and recess for Seattle students.
Facebook Photo/Lunch and Recess Matter

The Seattle teachers’ union is clashing with the district over what should be on their new contract.

KUOW’s Ann Dornfeld talked with teachers at a union meeting at Benaroya Hall last night. She says along with the items you always see, like pay, this time there are new issues on the table.

The infant room at Learning Way School & Daycare in White Center, where director Jeri Finch says she does her best to make sure parents update their children's immunization records regularly.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

Under Washington state law, children are supposed to be fully immunized to attend daycare or preschool.

But no one knows how many kids in child care centers are actually vaccinated, because the state’s not keeping track.

Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction

Only around half of Washington students passed the new state tests in math and English.

That’s a big drop in scores from the old tests. But it’s what schools officials had predicted for the new Common Core assessments.

Demonstrators stand on the steps of the Temple of Justice and in view of the Legislative Building as they advocate for more state spending on education prior to a hearing before the state Supreme Court on Sept. 3, 2014, in Olympia.
AP photo/Elaine Thompson

The Washington state Supreme Court is fining the Legislature $100,000 a day effective immediately for failing to come up with a plan to fully fund K-12 education.

The fines, levied Thursday, stem from the McCleary case, brought by families and others who said the state wasn’t meeting its constitutional obligation to “amply fund” basic education in this state.

Aggressive behavior indicates possible criminal activity later in life in boys. For girls, depression and withdrawal are better indicators.
Courtesy of Michael Clinard

Problem behaviors can indicate whether abused children will likely commit crimes as adults.

But as KUOW’s Ann Dornfeld reports, new research from the University of Washington finds that the warning signs may be different between boys and girls.

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

So many high school students opted out of the state proficiency tests this year that policymakers face a problem: The Washington State Board of Education can't figure out what the passing scores should be.

Families and staff at Rainier Prep sand old paint off railings in the school's adopted building at a recent work party.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld / KUOW

On a recent sunny afternoon, a work party was underway at a low-slung building just south of Seattle that will soon become Rainier Prep, a charter middle school.

School leader Maggie O’Sullivan bounced from room to room, directing traffic. As one large family planted brightly colored dahlias and lobelias beneath what would soon become the school's sign, a father who had just shown up balancing a case of bottled water on one shoulder was directed to the basement, where a potluck would begin in a couple hours.

Garfield High School
Flickr Photo/Don Brubeck (CC-BY-NC-ND)

A task force has overwhelmingly voted to flip the current bell schedule for Seattle Public Schools to fit with doctors' recommendations. 

But task force members acknowledged that changing the bell times could be hard on families that rely on teenagers working after-school jobs – and that some young students would be walking to school or waiting for the bus before the sun is up.