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. 

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Ann Dornfeld

The Seattle School District warned teachers Wednesday they face a 10 day suspension without pay if they refuse to give students the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test. The announcement came nearly two weeks after the teaching staff at Garfield High School announced they were refusing to give students the district-wide MAP test.

Scantron test sheet
Flickr Photo/COCOEN daily photos (Cc-BY-NC-ND)

The Seattle School District announced Wednesday that teachers may be suspended for 10 days without pay if they fail to give students the Measures of Academic Progress test. Following the announcement, teachers rallied outside district headquarters to demand that the district stop using the MAP test.

Seattle Public Schools

Clarification: This story has been changed to clarify School Board President Kay Smith-Blum’s thoughts on educational delivery models, including one advocated by the charter school company Rocketship Education.

In 1991, a small group of local CEOs sat down with Seattle Public Schools officials to ask how the CEOs could help the struggling district. "At that time Seattle Public Schools weren’t even wired – I mean, wired for telephones, in some cases. It was really sort of a Dark Ages problem," said Sue Tupper, the first executive director of the Seattle Alliance for Education.

An entire school of teachers in Seattle is refusing to give students a standardized test that's required by the district. The teachers say the test is useless and wastes valuable instructional time.

Meanwhile, individual teacher protests of standardized tests are popping up nationwide, and the Seattle case may make bigger waves.

'I Just See No Use For It'

mammal / Flickr

Teachers at Orca K-8 school in Seattle say they will boycott the same standardized test that Garfield High School teachers came out against last week.

don_brubeck / Flickr

Seattle Public Schools officials and the company that produces the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test are defending the school district's use of the standardized test after Garfield High School teachers refused to give it to their students this quarter.

COCOEN daily photos / Flickr

Teachers at Garfield High School in Seattle say they have voted overwhelmingly to refuse to administer a district-wide standardized test. A statement from Garfield teachers called the test a waste of time and money.

Ann Dornfeld

Seattle and King County officials today announced the city’s first gun buyback program in 20 years. The goal is to reduce gun violence, both intentional and accidental.

Ann Dornfeld

Every summer, five dozen mostly low-income students of color from Seattle Public Schools begin an intensive academic program designed to get them ready for college. In Rainier Scholars, middle-schoolers commit to eight-hour school days in the summer and then after-school and weekend classes during the school year. Most of these students would be the first in their families to graduate from college.

Courtesy Photo

Seattle Public Schools is paying $750,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a teacher who was fired for refusing to work in a building she says made her sick. 

Former teacher Denise Frisino says when she worked at Nathan Hale High School seven years ago, the mold was so bad that she had a hard time breathing and a terrible cough. "It was to the point where I could not be inside the building for long. It was not a minor thing. It was a severe reaction," she says. 

Scantron test sheet
Flickr Photo/COCOEN daily photos (Cc-BY-NC-ND)

Washington’s chief of K-12 education says the state’s high school students are required to take too many exit exams in order to graduate.

School desk
Flickr Photo/ccarlstead (CC BY-NC-ND)

Seven Seattle-area school districts have been awarded a $40 million federal Race to the Top grant. The money is aimed at improving academic achievement in high-poverty schools in the Seattle, Kent, Federal Way, Highline, Renton, Auburn and Tukwila districts.

KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

Former Seattle Public Schools manager Silas Potter faces 33 new felony theft charges for allegedly embezzling more than a quarter of a million dollars from the district.

Seattle Public Schools

A Seattle Public Schools spokeswoman says former Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson died Wednesday at age 55.

Seattle Public Schools

Seattle Public Schools has released new aggregate student growth ratings that will be now used as part of some teachers' evaluations. The ratings reflect how students did on state and district tests from one year to the next and factor in students' poverty levels, learning disabilities and English language proficiencies.

Many teachers in Seattle Public Schools will learn today how they rank on a new scale based on student performance. They’ll be rated by how their students’ test scores changed from one year to the next. Teachers with high ratings may qualify for bonuses or promotions. Teachers with low ratings will get closer oversight.

Nalini Prasanna / Flickr

The charter school initiative appears to have passed. The first charter schools would likely open their doors in Washington next school year, at the earliest. Here's the countdown of what's next.

The charter school initiative has passed by a narrow margin, according to the Associated Press. The vote stands at 50.8 percent to 49.2 percent. That's a difference of about 44,000 votes. Statewide, 269,000 ballots remain to be counted. The No on 1240 campaign Facebook page says campaign managers won't consider the race over until every vote is counted.

Seattle Public Schools will ask voters for property tax levies worth $1.2 billion in February. The school board unanimously approved renewals of the capital projects and operations levies Wednesday night. 

School desk
Flickr Photo/ccarlstead (CC BY-NC-ND)

The initiative to allow charter schools in Washington is narrowly passing with 51 percent of the vote. This was the fourth time the state’s voters considered charter schools. Supporters said charters would expand students’ educational options because charters aren’t bound by district or union rules.

Dey / Flickr

Marijuana legalization and same-sex marriage are hot-button issues on the Washington ballot. Even after the measures are decided, the debate will likely continue and changes won't happen overnight.

If Initiative 1240 passes, public school funding would finance each charter school created under the law.

Seattle Public Schools

Seattle Public Schools has not met any of the 23 student performance goals the district set for itself four years ago in its five-year plan called "Excellence for All."

School desk
Flickr Photo/ccarlstead (CC BY-NC-ND)

This fall, voters in Washington will decide whether to legalize charter schools in the state for the first time. Washington voters have considered charters three times before. But the details of charter school funding, oversight and independence can be confusing. So we took a red pen to claims by supporters and opponents of Initiative 1240, and gave each claim a grade to see who gets to go to the head of the class – and who needs to go back and check their work.

Ryder on his first day of third grade.
Bridget Ambrose

Two-and-a-half years ago, KUOW brought you the story of Bridget Ambrose and her son Ryder. Ryder was in kindergarten at the time. He’s on the autism spectrum. At Ryder’s preschool, he’d gotten special education services like speech therapy and the social skills training that many kids with autism need to teach them how to interact with other kids.

Seattle Public Schools

The Seattle School Board said a unanimous "no" to charter schools last night. The board members approved a resolution against Initiative 1240, which would bring up to 40 charter schools to Washington over five years.

Alice Walton
(AP Photo/April L. Brown)

The campaign to bring charter schools to Washington state has now raised more cash than any other measure on the ballot. Donors have contributed more than $8.9 million to the Yes on 1240 campaign. Of that, 91 percent came from just ten people, according to the Public Disclosure Commission website.

Seattle Public Schools

Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Jose Banda says he’ll vote “no” on Initiative 1240, which would legalize charter schools in Washington state.

I-1240 would allow up to 40 charter schools in Washington state over five years. Proponents of I-1240 say it would give parents and students more school choice.

Hillsborough County Jail

Seattle Public Schools’ attorney says the district will likely only get a $280,000 insurance settlement after the $3.1 million financial scandal involving former district official Silas Potter.

Randy Dorn
(AP Photo/John Froschauer, File)

Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn has asked for an additional $4.1 billion for basic education in his biennial budget proposal, a 39 percent increase compared to the current budget. Dorn says that’s what it’ll take for the state Legislature to fulfill its constitutional duty to fully fund K-12 education.

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