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

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

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.  

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.

The city of Seattle is scaling back plans for its subsidized preschool program.
Flickr Photo/Barnaby Wasson (CC BY-NC-SA)/http://bit.ly/1LQhs3d

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.

Flickr Photo/Nick Amoscato (CC BY-NC-ND)

The Washington State Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday regarding the constitutionality of the voter-approved charter school law.

KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld / KUOW

Even though the school doors are closed all week, there’s a steady stream of visitors to Marysville Pilchuck High.

They weave ribbons through the fence that runs along the school field.

Gently lean one more bouquet of flowers between hundreds like it.

Ann Dornfeld / KUOW

Hundreds of students at Garfield High School in Seattle walked out of class Thursday to protest district cuts that could cost the school a teacher.

The city of Seattle is scaling back plans for its subsidized preschool program.
Flickr Photo/Barnaby Wasson (CC BY-NC-SA)/http://bit.ly/1LQhs3d

Seattle voters will see two competing child care initiatives on their fall ballots.

A proposal from the mayor and City Council would create a subsidized preschool program for 3- and 4-year-olds.

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