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

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.

Preschoolers play with a dollhouse at Launch at Leschi Elementary School, one of Seattle Preschool Program's first sites.
Ann Dornfeld / KUOW

The promise of the city of Seattle’s new subsidized preschool program — to bring low- or no-cost preschool to three- and four-year-olds across the city — is facing a challenge as the city struggles to find space and providers for the second year.

Pronto bikes on the Seattle waterfront. The City of Seattle voted to buy the nonprofit, even though it wasn't doing well financially.
Flickr Photo/Tony Webster (CC by 2.0)

Seattle is buying the Pronto bike-sharing program for $1.4 million – even though the program essentially failed in nonprofit hands.

Preschoolers huddle beneath a table at Green Tree Early Learning Center in Seattle, which conducts monthly earthquake drills.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

For parents in the Seattle area, the idea of a big earthquake is scary enough. But what happens if a disaster strikes when your children are in daycare?

State law requires child care centers train their staff – and children in their care – in what to do in an emergency. 

But a KUOW analysis has found that some daycare centers are out of compliance year after year – even in the Seattle neighborhoods most vulnerable to earthquake.

Ann Dornfeld / KUOW

Hundreds of tiny lungs slowly expand and contract in unison as students at Highland Park Elementary start their school day in West Seattle.

It’s a daily deep breathing exercise, part of a new focus on social-emotional lessons that advocates say are as essential to learning as academic subjects are.

Ann Dornfeld / KUOW

On a recent morning at George T. Daniel Elementary School in Kent, the school bell had already rung. In the driveway, one minivan after another pulled up, spilling tardy students onto the sidewalk.

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

Kim Malcolm talks with education reporter Ann Dornfeld about how levies and bond measures in the Puget Sound area are faring after last night's ballot returns. Nearly half of Washington's 295 school districts asked voters for more money in the special election. 

Magnolia Elementary School has been boarded-up for more than a decade, and would reopen if voters approve Seattle Schools' Feb. 9 capital levy.
Seattle Public Schools

Magnolia Elementary School is a big, brick building that opened in 1927. This historic landmark has been boarded up for 12 years.

"Be careful of the water here; I don't want you to slip and fall," said Jeanette Imanishi, a construction project manager for Seattle Public Schools. She suspects a leaky roof is responsible for the giant puddle in this hallway.

Two years after the GED high school equivalency exam became harder to pass, Washington state is again making it easier. The State Board of Community and Technical Colleges announced Tuesday that it’s retroactively lowering the passing score by five points, to 145.

West Woodland Elementary in North Seattle hosts Kids Inc child care center. Seattle Public Schools will be reclaiming space at elementary schools that are currently occupied by child care groups. The district has not released a list of impacted sites.
Google Maps

The Seattle School Board is scheduled to vote Wednesday night whether to take back 19 classrooms now used for preschool and before-and-after-school care.

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

Two very different bills to restore charter schools’ legal status are facing lawmakers with the state Legislature back in session Monday.

Kindergarteners take turns on the tricycles at the EEU gym class.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

Cinthia Portugal is a mom of 4-year-old twins with autism, and she is scrambling to find a kindergarten for her sons.

school pencil education
Flickr Photo/Bill Selak (CC BY ND 2.0)/http://bit.ly/1mElamA

Washington state’s charter schools are starting the year with new funding sources after state dollars were cut off in December.

While school was out for winter vacation, charter operators and their supporters were hard at work to keep the doors open and state funds flowing to the schools.

File photo of Uber driver near the San Francisco International Airport.
AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

The Seattle City Council voted unanimously Monday to become the first city in the nation to allow Uber, Lyft and other for-hire drivers to unionize.

Councilmember Mike O'Brien said the vote was consistent with other recent protection for local workers, like the $15 minimum wage and paid sick leave.

Prison bars file photo.
Flickr Photo/Neil Conway (CC BY2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/6NUT6x

Many youth become homeless when they get out of detention centers and their parents refuse or fail to pick them up.

That’s the finding of a new report that calls for reforms to the way Washington state handles young offenders.

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

Washington state’s charter schools are about to lose state funding, so they’re exploring an option that might allow them to stay open.

Flickr Photo/dcJohn (CC BY-NC-ND)

The Washington state Legislature has directed funding to reduce class sizes in elementary schools.

But as KUOW’s Ann Dornfeld reports, that doesn’t mean classes are getting much smaller.

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.

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