Kyle Stokes

Youth & Education Reporter

Kyle Stokes covers the issues facing kids and the policies impacting Washington's schools for KPLU.

Kyle joined KPLU after nearly three years covering education in Bloomington, Ind., where he helped launch a reporting collaboration between NPR and member station WFIU. His work for that project, called StateImpact Indiana, earned him a National Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA), along with recognitions from the Online News Association and Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI).

Kyle earned his degree from the Missouri School of Journalism. He worked in Columbia, Mo., as a producer for NPR member station KBIA and a reporter for NBC affiliate KOMU. He graduated in 2011.

The Minneapolis native is hopelessly devoted to his Minnesota Twins — sorry, M's fans. Try your luck hooking him on the Sounders, though.

Ways to Connect

Kyle Stokes / KPLU

Participation in the academic program many credit with spurring a turnaround at Seattle's long-troubled Rainier Beach High School continues to increase.

This spring, more students will be taking the year-end exams attached to the rigorous college prep curriculum — the International Baccalaurate, or "I.B." — that Rainier Beach first began offering in 2013. More students are also pursuing the I.B. Diploma, a credential many colleges recognize.

Kyle Stokes / KPLU

Nate Bowling is running out of space on his awards shelf.

In 2014, the social studies teacher at Lincoln High School in Tacoma won a Milken Award — the "Oscar of Teaching," as one publication put it. Last fall, Bowling became Washington state's Teacher of the Year. Just last week, Bowling was named a finalist for National Teacher of the Year.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Leaders of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), the union representing Boeing engineers and other technical workers, have reached a tentative agreement with the aerospace giant for a six-year extension of the current contract, both sides announced Wednesday.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

A panel of state lawmakers weighed their options for keeping charter schools open long term in Washington during a meeting in Olympia on Tuesday.

Senate Education Committee members are considering two different bills with two different approaches to restoring and retooling the charter school law the state Supreme Court invalidated last year.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

After spending years debating possible ways out of the quagmire of state education funding, lawmakers from both parties and both houses announced Friday they may have a plan to fix the way the state pays for education.

Four years after the Supreme Court ruled the way the state pays for education is unconstitutional, the Washington Legislature is still debating how to finish responding to the court. They are working under a contempt order and a daily $100,000 fine until they do.

Rachel La Corte / AP Photo

A second legislative proposal to preserve Washington's charter schools emerged Thursday, with its authors promising to reconstitute even more of the system invalidated by the State Supreme Court than another bill filed earlier this week.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

A former state lawmaker from Gig Harbor announced Thursday he'll enter an increasingly-crowded field in the race to replace Randy Dorn in Washington's top elected education office: the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Former Rep. Larry Seaquist, D-Gig Harbor, joins three candidates already in the race: State Rep. Chris Reykdal, D-Tumwater; Tacoma Public Schools administrator Erin Jones and current Assistant State Superintendent Gil Mendoza.

Kyle Stokes / KPLU

Two Spokane state senators have floated a plan they hope will preserve charter schools in Washington state, which currently face an uncertain future after the state Supreme Court ruled them unconstitutional last fall.

Ahead of the legislative session that begins next week, Democrat Andy Billig and Republican Michael Baumgartner filed a bill that would allow any local school board to continue to create and oversee charter schools within its district's boundaries.

Kyle Stokes / KPLU

Jocelyn Alexander Shaw wants her students to stop settling for less than their best work.

Kyle Stokes / KPLU

Incidents of tampering with a set of standardized tests were probably the result of intra-office quarrels rather than an attempt to get away with inflating scores, according to an independent investigation into the suspicious test results at Beacon Hill International School in Seattle. KPLU obtained the report through a public records request.

Courtesy Act Now for Washington Students Facebook Page

Washington state's charter schools will get one last regular infusion of state money — for their November operating expenses — before a state Supreme Court decision shutting off their current funding source takes effect next month, state education officials confirmed this week.

Jasperdo / Flickr

Western Washington University administrators called off all classes Tuesday after getting word of "hate speech targeted at Western students of color" on social media.

WWU president Bruce Shepard said in a statement there was "no threat to general campus safety," but that he canceled classes in order to give the Bellingham campus time "demonstrate our outrage, to listen to each other, and to support each other."

Kyle Stokes / KPLU

UPDATED — Washington state Supreme Court justices have denied a request from charter school advocates to reconsider an earlier ruling that ends state funding for charter schools.

A spokeswoman for the court said justices original ruling will become effective Dec. 14.

Ted S. Warren / AP

Seattle School Board members issued a vote of confidence in the district's top administrator Wednesday night, approving a five percent raise and a one-year contract extension for Superintendent Larry Nyland by a 6-1 vote.

But Nyland surprised the board room by saying he would donate the amount of this year's increase in his base salary — more than $13,800 in total — back to Seattle Public Schools' general fund.

Hope for Gorilla/Flickr

Starting next year, all Seattle high schools will push their start times later — most of them by almost an hour — and most elementaries will start significantly earlier under an overhaul of the district's bell schedule school board members approved Wednesday night.

The board's 6-1 vote puts Seattle Public Schools on a relatively short list: by one count, only 70 districts nationwide have pushed back high school start times in an effort to match students' natural sleep rhythms with their school schedules.

Kyle Stokes / KPLU

Draped in France's tricolor flag and wiping away tears, a group of at least 150 people gathered at a French bakery in Seattle's Belltown neighborhood Saturday afternoon to mourn the victims of Friday's terrorist attacks in Paris.

Somber mourners spilled out of the tiny La Parisienne French bakery and onto Fourth Avenue, where candles flickered on the sidewalk and a French flag hung next to the door of shop.

Andrew Harnik / AP

Congressional leaders have emerged from closed-door negotiations in Washington D.C. with a preliminary deal to revise the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, raising hopes that lawmakers might be able to finally pass revisions for a federal law that's crucial to students and schools.

Kyle Stokes / KPLU

A lengthy investigation into who altered Beacon Hill International School students' answers on standardized tests has come up empty, Seattle Public Schools officials announced Tuesday.

Last fall, state officials threw out all of the elementary school's 2013-14 test results after Beacon Hill saw an unusual jump in its scores and a district review found "heavy erasure marks" in students' exam booklets.

Kyle Stokes / KPLU

After an outcry from parents, Seattle Public Schools administrators delayed Wednesday's school board vote on proposed changes to the policy that broadly explains how students are assigned to the district's 97 schools.

District officials had insisted the changes were meant to streamline the Student Assignment Plan, a fundamental document they said had become unwieldy and self-contradictory.

Kyle Stokes / KPLU

Four years ago, Marty McLaren took on a well-funded Seattle School Board incumbent and won on a promise to question the district establishment.

Now, early results of Tuesday’s vote show she herself is in danger of losing to an insurgent challenger, Leslie Harris, who says McLaren has become too much a part of that establishment.

rytc / Flickr

UPDATE — Seattle Public Schools superintendent Larry Nyland has asked school board members to delay their vote on proposed changes to the district's Student Assignment Plan. KPLU's original story, originally posted Tuesday morning, follows here:

Already fired up by a teachers strike and a district-wide staffing shake-up, Seattle Public Schools watchdogs are sounding the alarm yet again — this time, over proposed changes to an arcane-sounding policy: the Student Assignment Plan.

Kyle Stokes / KPLU

Many of the parents angry at Seattle Public Schools are not likely to see Marty McLaren as the insurgent school board candidate she once was.

To many of them, after one term on the board, McLaren's now a part of the district's edifice.

Kyle Stokes / KPLU News

Teachers will be pulled from seven Seattle schools and reassigned to new buildings next Monday, as part of a district-wide staffing shake-up officials announced Thursday.

Five other buildings gained teachers in the shuffle, but another 17 schools had to close vacant positions, voluntarily reduce teachers' hours, or find money to pay for teachers whose jobs can no longer be supported due to lower-than-expected enrollments across the district.

John Froschauer / AP Photo

Washington state's top elected school official, Randy Dorn, announced Thursday he will not run for a third term as Superintendent of Public Instruction in 2016.

But Dorn said he would remain involved in policy discussions. The statement announcing his decision said, "neither the Governor, the Legislature nor the Court have provided … leadership" in an ongoing debate over school funding.

Kyle Stokes / KPLU

Seattle voters are getting ready to choose who will represent their district. Seven district seats will be decided, as well at two at large positions. KPLU’s election series, Back On The Block, revisits issues affecting each district and introduces us to the candidates.

Kyle Stokes / KPLU News

Fired up over school district administrators' proposed staffing shake-up that would remove teachers from as many as 24 schools, a group of roughly two-dozen parents briefly shut down a Seattle school board committee meeting Wednesday night.

Kyle Stokes / KPLU

The future of Washington state's charter schools may be up in the air, but for now, they are still receiving public funding.

Though the state Supreme Court ruled last month charter schools violate Washington’s constitution, state education officials sent regular funding payments to the schools at the end of September, according to Tom Franta, CEO of the Washington State Charter Schools Association.

Kyle Stokes / KPLU


Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has chosen Rainier Beach High School principal Dwane Chappelle as his pick to lead the city's education department, the mayor announced Thursday.

Chappelle will be the first permanent director of the newly-created Seattle Department of Education and Early Learning, which opened in January to oversee the city's preschool and child care initiatives and administer programs funded by the city's Families and Education Levy.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

The state Supreme Court will give advocates another month to file a response to justices' recent ruling striking down Washington's charter school law.  The extension likely means the charter schools can continue receiving public dollars through much of October.

Elaine Thompson / AP

Rank-and-file members of the Seattle teachers union formally ended their strike against the state’s largest school district, voting Sunday evening to ratify a proposed three-year contract.

The vote brings to an end the first teachers strike in Seattle since 1985, which canceled six days of classes for the district’s 53,000 students and sent parents into a frenzied, week-long scramble for childcare.

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