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

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.

File photo of kids playing tag.
Flickr Photo/Felipe Vidal (CC BY SA 2.0)/http://bit.ly/1Jsu22f

Traditional tag is back in the Mercer Island School District.

The district had decided to ban the perennial favorite game from its playgrounds as part of a "hands-off" policy among children meant to reduce injuries and bullying.

Five of the eight teachers at Washington state's first charter school were not certificated when classes began last year. That's just one of many problems in a newly-released state audit of First Place Scholars Charter School.

Auditors found that the lack of credentialed teachers -- and overestimated student enrollment -- meant the Seattle school was overpaid by more than $200,000 of public funds.

Teachers and supporters march down First Avenue South on their way to the Seattle Public Schools headquarters south of downtown on Tuesday.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

The strike appears to be over.

Seattle teachers union representatives and school district leaders announced Tuesday night the approval of a tentative agreement.

Teachers and supporters march down First Avenue South on their way to the Seattle Public Schools headquarters south of downtown on Tuesday.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

The Seattle teachers union and the school district said Tuesday they have reached a tentative contract agreement to end a week-long strike.

The district said its 53,000 students could return to class as soon as Thursday if the deal goes through. Union officials were meeting Tuesday afternoon to discuss the proposal.

Teachers strike outside Orca K-12 in Columbia City on Wednesday. Seattle Public Schools remains closed Monday as negotiations continue.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

The Seattle teachers' strike enters its fourth day Monday as teachers continue to negotiate their contract.

Seattle Public Schools issued a counter-proposal that spokeswoman Stacy Howard says would include pay for a longer school day. She did not specify how much pay.

Ann Dornfeld / KUOW

Students are out of class for a second day in Seattle Public Schools as teachers continue their strike.

The union and district have agreed to meet with a mediator Thursday but have no plans to return to the bargaining table.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Seattle Public School teachers walked off the job today. It was supposed to be the first day of school.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: What do we want?

UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: Fair contracts.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: When do we want it?

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

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.

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