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

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.

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)/

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.