Ann is a reporter on KUOW's Investigations Team. Previously, she covered education stories for KUOW for a decade, with a focus on investigations into racial and socioeconomic inequities.
Her ongoing series exposing Seattle Public Schools’ lenient discipline of staff who abused students has won investigative reporting awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Radio Television Digital News Association, and the Education Writers Association. She was also lauded for her years of work covering disparities in the amount of recess and P.E. time students received in low-income schools.
Previously, Ann worked at Alaska Public Radio Network, in Anchorage, and KLCC, in Eugene, Oregon. Her freelance work, focusing on science and environmental issues, has appeared on national outlets including Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Marketplace and The World.
Ann’s marine and underwater photography has appeared in the American Museum of Natural History and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.
She lives with her husband and two children in South Seattle.
Languages Spoken: English
Professional Affiliations: Member, Investigative Reporters and Editors
State Rep. Gerry Pollet has called for fraud and performance audits of Impact Public Schools, Washington’s largest charter school chain, following a KUOW investigation that found scant services for students learning English and a lack of support for students with disabilities.
An inquest began today into the 2017 Seattle Police killing of Charleena Lyles, a 30-year-old with mental illness who was gunned down in front of her children. Lyles' killing sparked ongoing public outrage. The petite mother of four was pregnant when she called police to her apartment to investigate an alleged burglary.
Although Washington state's charter schools are granted more flexibility and freedom than other public schools, charter school backers have pledged to keep the schools subject to strict oversight, including annual performance reviews. But that accountability is lacking for the state’s largest charter school chain, Impact Public Schools, staff and parents told KUOW, and the students most affected are also the schools’ most vulnerable.
Charter schools were legalized in Washington state in 2012, and were designed to serve students who often struggle with traditional education in public schools. Frequently, those students come from marginalized communities, including children of color, students with disabilities and refugee families, whose children are in need of English instruction. For the last six months, KUOW reporter Ann Dornfeld has been investigating the largest chain of charter schools in the region: Impact Public Schools. What she’s found is that charter schools are frequently failing to live up to the promises they’ve made to students, leaving staff, students, and parents frustrated.
This is the second story in Broken Promises, a series about Impact Public Schools, the largest charter school chain in Washington state. Art Wheeler’s daughter and son were thriving in the fall of their second year at Impact Puget Sound Elementary, a charter school in Tukwila, Washington. Their grades were high, Wheeler said, and they got glowing reports from their teachers. “Your kids are standouts,” he recalled teachers saying. “They’re a pleasure to have in class.” But two months into the school year, in November, 2019, Wheeler said letters arrived from Impact saying his children were failing, and may have to repeat the year — the year that had just begun. Wheeler was confused. “They messed up,” he thought. “This is for somebody else’s kids.”
A charter school chain promised a world-class education. Instead they billed the state and let kids ‘sit there quietly’
Impact Public Schools has become the state's largest charter school chain by promising families an alternative to what it calls "the factory model" of education. Every student would receive a personalized education plan, Impact told
In response to parent pressure, Seattle Public Schools is adding more doses of naloxone to high schools and offering training to all school staff. Some parents say that's not enough.
State Auditor Pat McCarthy called the audit findings “unprecedented” and said Summit Sierra and Summit Atlas, both in Seattle, and Summit Olympus, in Tacoma, received more than $4 million in funding related to the positions which may now need to be repaid.
‘Seattle Public Schools said this is just one measure of student growth, but can be useful to gauge how well a particular student is doing over time.’
With record numbers of staff and students staying home due to the omicron variant of Covid-19, parents, staff and students are wondering what it would take for the district to move schools back to online learning as in earlier in the pandemic. Here is what the district has now outlined as some reasons it could shift to remote learning.