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

Ann Dornfeld / KUOW

Nearly 2,000 Seattle young people have jobs this summer as part of the city's Youth Employment Initiative, Mayor Ed Murray said Wednesday.

Murray said the program has more than doubled in size from last year -- but still there were nearly twice as many applications as there were internships. The goal is to expand the program into the school year to meet the demand.

Ann Dornfeld / KUOW

Teach a kid to code and she’ll build her own video game – and maybe not lose so much learning between school years.

That’s the idea behind a new generation of summer learning programs at the Seattle Public Library.

KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

The 7- and 8-year-olds in this math class at Hawthorne Elementary School in Seattle's Columbia City neighborhood seem oblivious to the sunshine beating down on the playground outside. They're busy lining up red, green, blue and yellow tiles in neat staircases. 

Highline senior Lesley Delgadillo's graduation is held up by one thing: the biology exit exam newly required in Washington state this year.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

Washington State Senate Republicans and Democrats have agreed to delay a requirement for high school students to pass a biology exit exam this year and 2016.

This helps about 2,000 high school seniors who were supposed to graduate in June, but still hadn't met the science requirement.

One of the students is Lesley Delgadillo, whose story we brought you last month.

The first four providers of the city's new subsidized preschool program were unveiled Monday, and they're primarily in South Seattle.

Beginning this fall, the first Seattle Preschool Program sites will offer free or sliding-scale tuition to about 230 children who are 3 or 4 years old.

A pedestrian crosses Lake City Way near Northeast 125th Street in Seattle's City Council District 5.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

A Seattle City Council committee has given the green light to the mayor’s proposed $930 million transportation levy.

The Select Committee on Transportation Funding rejected a proposal from Councilmembers Nick Licata and Kshama Sawant to shrink the property tax levy to $600 million and use an employee hours tax and a commercial parking tax to make up much of the difference.

Despite high school senior Lesley Delgadillo’s many achievements at Puget Sound Skills Center, she couldn’t graduate on time because she couldn't pass the state’s new biology requirement.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

Seventeen-year-old Lesley Delgadillo has the grace and poise of a student body president.

But she still couldn’t graduate this June from Puget Sound Skills Center High School in Burien. After several tries, she still hasn’t passed the state’s new biology requirement.

Christopher Takata is eager to get these vestiges of his addictions erased.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

A lot of teenagers smoke weed. But they don’t all love it enough to get W-E-E-D tattooed across their knuckles.

"I was just a pothead, basically, obsessed with getting high. That’s all I would think about," said 18-year-old Christopher Takata, who last week became the first graduate of Seattle Public Schools' new Recovery School, for students who have been through drug or alcohol rehabilitation programs.

The new Recovery School is moving into the former Queen Anne High School gymnasium building.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld / KUOW

When teenagers with substance abuse problems get out of rehab and return to school, studies show that it’s likely that their peers will offer them drugs within the very first hour. That makes staying clean — or staying in school — difficult. Teens with drug and alcohol problems have a sky-high drop-out rate.

Public health officials say what young people need after rehab is a fresh start at a school focused on their needs and peers with the same goal to stay sober.

Seattle Public Schools superintendent Larry Nyland.
Courtesy of Seattle Public Schools

The Seattle School Board has delayed a vote on whether to permanently hire Interim Superintendent Larry Nyland.

The vote was scheduled at a meeting Wednesday without any public announcement.

That’s in contrast to the board’s usual process when hiring a superintendent: a months-long national search followed by numerous community meetings with the candidates.

Last night Board President Sharon Peaslee moved to delay the vote by a week to December 10 in order to get more community input.

The Washington state education department has released a report detailing the natural disaster risks for schools across the state.

Along with familiar risks like earthquakes and wildfires, the list of natural disasters that threaten Washington schools includes things you may not have known to worry about.

Like tsunami indundation in Seattle.

In Auburn and Puyallup, it’s lahars – mud flows from volcanic eruptions.

preschool kids education
Flickr Photo/Barnaby Wasson (CC BY-NC-SA)/

The city is beginning to hammer out the details of the subsidized preschool program Seattle voters approved two weeks ago. At a news conference Wednesday, Mayor Ed Murray announced the first two members of an advisory group that will lay out recommendations for things like how the city should select care providers.

Erin Okuno is executive director of the Southeast Seattle Education Coalition, and Kevin Washington is chair of the board of directors of Thrive by Five. Murray said they will serve as co-chairs of the advisory group, with more members to be appointed soon.

Seattle Public Schools was considering this vacant building as a potential location for a downtown elementary school.
Flickr Photo/Joe Wolf (CC-BY-NC-ND)

The Seattle School Board has turned down an opportunity to acquire a vacant Federal Reserve building in downtown Seattle.

Whittier Elementary School third-grader Kai Holec said ever since his lunch period got shortened to 15 minutes this year, he hasn't been able to finish his meal before it's time to go to recess.

And that's not enough to keep him going.

AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

UPDATE: 11/5/2014, 4:19 p.m.  

At last count, Initiative 1351 continued to be closely split with 49.5 percent in favor, 50.5 percent against.

Original Post

A statewide initiative to reduce K-12 class sizes is too close to call in early returns: 50.6 to 49.4 percent, with the "yes" votes slightly trailing.

Initiative 1351 would decrease average class sizes for all grades, but especially for the youngest students.