Ashley Gross

Youth and Education Reporter

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat.  She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.

She studied history at Brown University and earned a master's in international affairs at Columbia University. She grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She lives in West Seattle with her husband and two sons.

One of Ashley's most memorable moments in radio happened several years ago in Northwest Alaska: "I was visiting an alcohol and drug rehab program in the tiny village of Selawik. It helps Alaska Natives recover by helping them get back in touch with their subsistence lifestyle. It was spring, which meant the river was still frozen - barely. We went out on snowmachines to go ice-fishing, but late in the day, as we headed back, the river had melted to the consistency of a Slurpee. It was a harrowing ride and a good lesson in trust - I rode with my eyes closed, clinging for dear life to the woman driving. A week later, three people drowned trying to ride a snowmachine over that river, and that's when I realized just how dangerous life in rural Alaska can be."

Ways to Connect

Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism / Flickr

Here’s one more sign that Seattle’s economy is booming: A private school here has organized what it says is the city’s first ever boarding school educational fair on Monday night, with local boarding schools as well as ones from across the country taking part.

Andrew Harnik / AP Photo

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is expected to draw large crowds when she speaks Friday evening at the Hyatt Regency in Bellevue.

She is speaking at the Washington Policy Center's sold-out gala, where the minimum ticket price was $350, though the group says tickets for people in its Young Professionals program were $50 and some college students will attend for free. The organization is expecting 1,500 people for DeVos's first visit to Washington state as education secretary.

Ashley Gross / KNKX

This week, Seattle schools have been putting an extra emphasis on Native culture because of Indigenous Peoples' Day. 

But some parents at the school with the highest concentration of Native kids are frustrated with the school district. They say a shortage of classroom space in the brand-new facility for Licton Springs K-8 threatens their kids’ ability to learn.

Ashley Gross / KNKX

Dr. Kim Holland emerged from the locker room at a pool in West Seattle on a recent Friday morning, suited up and ready to go. But she scanned the pool with a bit of dismay – no empty lanes.  

“It’s kind of hard because I don’t like it when there’s more than one person in a lap lane because then you’ve got to pay attention,” she said. “The lanes are too narrow.”

Nevertheless, she pulled on her bathing cap and goggles, staked out a lane and climbed in.

Julia Vandenoever / photo courtesy of Doctors Without Borders

A new weeklong exhibit at Seattle’s South Lake Union Discovery Center aims to give people a better understanding of the stress of having to flee your home.

The Trump administration has reduced the number of refugees the United States will accept in the year that ends next September to a maximum of 45,000.

Worldwide, there are more than 22 million refugees right now, out of a total of 65 million who have been displaced from their homes, according to the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Ashley Gross / KNKX

The legal troubles facing makers of prescription painkillers continue to grow as the City of Seattle and Washington state have each filed lawsuits against opioid manufacturers, arguing the companies downplayed risks of the drugs and deceptively marketed them to boost profits.

Liz Henry / Flickr

At first blush, the world of comic books and video games can seem really male-dominated. But thousands of women and girls meeting up in Seattle this weekend for GeekGirlCon say, hold on a second, there’s plenty of room in geekdom for them, too.

Ashley Gross / KNKX

The gifted program in Seattle Public Schools known as the highly capable cohort is dominated by white kids.

White students make up 70 percent of that program, but only 47 percent of the entire district population.

courtesy of Highline Public Schools

Graduation rates are something each school district tracks closely, but there are human stories underlying those numbers. Telling those stories is what Highline Public Schools set out to do in a new documentary called "Eleven Paths."

Vincent Milum Jr., Tacoma Fire Department / Flickr

Tacoma is suing Purdue Pharma and two other companies, Endo and Janssen, that make prescription opioids.

In its lawsuit, Tacoma says it’s had to bear the financial costs of the opioid crisis in many ways – in terms of fire and police response to overdoses as well as paying for the prescription drugs for employees who get health insurance from the city.

Ashley Gross / KNKX

People who have been camped in tents along Spokane Street in Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood have to find a new place to live. The city has begun clearing out an enormous encampment that stretches multiple blocks from close to the Duwamish River to Airport Way South.

Anonymous Account / Flickr

Washington state has a big problem with kids not coming to school with one of the worst rates of chronic absenteeism in the nation, according to a report by the group Attendance Works.

Washington State University hopes to get more schools in the state to use an online assessment tool to figure out the reasons why kids aren’t attending.

biologycorner / Flickr

Only about 48 percent of eighth graders in Washington state met the standard in math this past school year.

The state schools superintendent’s office has just released test results for the Smarter Balanced assessment for a number of grades. Overall, test scores trended down a bit compared with a year earlier.

For example, on the English language arts assessment, 59 percent of eighth graders met the standard compared with 60 percent last year.

Brian Melley / AP Photo

The catastrophic flooding brought by Hurricane Harvey upended many lives in Houston and surrounding areas and has left a lot of people in need emergency health care.

Southeast Seattle Education Coalition

School starts Wednesday in Seattle, and for the second year in a row, bell times are changing.

The nonprofit group Southeast Seattle Education Coalition has created flyers in Chinese, Somali, Vietnamese and Spanish to let families know about the changes.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Groups that advocate for kids with disabilities are weighing in on the state’s education funding plan passed by lawmakers in June. 

They have submitted a friend-of-the-court brief to the Washington state Supreme Court in the McCleary case over education finance, arguing that the funding plan shortchanges kids who need special education.

photo courtesy of the Pierce County Department of Emergency Management

The flooding that has devastated Houston and other parts of Texas has demanded a response from across the country, including the Puget Sound region.

Local emergency responders, fire fighters, Coast Guard personnel and staff from the regional office of the Federal Emergency Management Agency are helping with rescue efforts.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

After the violence that rocked Charlottesville, Virginia, almost two weeks ago, Black Lives Matter activists are planning a march in Seattle on Saturday. 

Ashley Gross / KNKX

Big cities such as San Francisco, New York and Chicago offer a lot of health care options for transgender people, and Seattle has become a hub as well. There have been fewer options in the South Puget Sound and Southwest Washington, but that’s changing.

Olympia now has a clinic offering hormone treatment and surgery referrals. It’s called the Lilly Clinic at Providence St. Peter Family Medicine.

Cathy Renna

This week, about 1,500 people are gathering in Seattle to take part in the 16th annual Gender Odyssey conference, which brings together transgender kids, adults and their families and gives them an opportunity to talk about issues they face.

Among them will be Joe Maldonado, a 9-year-old transgender boy from New Jersey who successfully challenged the Boy Scouts’ ban on accepting trans kids.

Brian Liesse / Seattle Thunderbirds

This story originally aired on November 17, 2015.

Sports have such a powerful hold on our culture that lawmakers are often willing to take extraordinary steps to keep teams and fans happy. Even the U.S. Supreme Court exempted pro baseball from antitrust laws way back in 1922.

Here in Washington state, we have our own exception to the rule when it comes to sports.

Krissy Venosdale / Flickr

The Edmonds School District and the teachers union say they have reached a tentative agreement, but bargaining is still underway in many other parts of the state, including Kent, Mercer Island and Puyallup.

Mercer Island teachers are planning to rally on Thursday before the school board meets.

vbloke / Flickr

With less than a week till the much anticipated solar eclipse, some Amazon shoppers are scrambling to find glasses that are certified safe to view the event. The online retailer recently emailed some shoppers to tell them not to use the solar eclipse glasses they purchased on the site from third-party vendors.

Canadian Pacific / Flickr

Getting from Seattle’s waterfront to downtown can be a challenge. It involves crossing under the Alaskan Way Viaduct and hoofing it uphill or climbing tall flights of stairs.

Howard Wright, who owns the tour company Emerald City Trolley and is chair of Seattle Hospitality Group, has come up with a temporary fix.

Since the mid-July, his company has been running minibuses in a loop along the waterfront through downtown and then back. The service is called Seattle Waterfront Connex.

courtesy of the Summer Academic Challenge / University of Puget Sound

On Friday morning, about three dozen middle schoolers will gather at the Museum of Flight in Seattle to take part in an unusual competition. They’ll get to watch as an astronaut on the International Space Station controls robots using computer code the kids have developed.

Ashley Gross / KNKX

 (Updated at 3:20 pm on Aug. 11, 2017 to clarify oversight of charter schools and the status of the latest lawsuit.)

The first day of school is still a few weeks away for most kids in Seattle, but in the Rainier Valley neighborhood, doors will open Monday at a brand-new charter school called Rainier Valley Leadership Academy. It will serve sixth graders initially, then add seventh and eighth grades in subsequent years.

City Year / Flickr

Almost two years ago, Congress scrapped the No Child Left Behind Act, which was despised by a lot of people who thought it was too punitive toward schools that were deemed to be failing. Congress replaced the law with the Every Student Succeeds Act.

Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction

Washington schools are making progress in reducing the use of suspensions and expulsions as discipline, according to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. But officials said racial minorities and kids with disabilities are still being disciplined at higher rates than their peers.

Ralph Radford / AP Photo

Jeff Brotman, one of the co-founders of Issaquah-based Costco Wholesale Corporation and chairman of the board, died Tuesday at age 74. In addition to starting one of the most successful retail chains in the country, Brotman will be remembered for his philanthropy.

Elaine Thompson / AP

In a filing to the state Supreme Court, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said the education funding plan passed by the legislature in June fulfills the state’s constitutional duty. Ferguson is asking the high court to end the long-running McCleary lawsuit.

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