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

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)/

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.

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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 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 and staff at Rainier Prep sand old paint off railings in the school's adopted building at a recent work party.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld / KUOW

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.