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

Joe Wolf / Flickr

Seattle Public Schools is in the midst of figuring out how to relieve overcrowding in Garfield High School’s highly capable program. That’s where kids who test into the district’s gifted program are assigned unless they opt for a different school.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Three counties in the Puget Sound region are going to receive a substantial amount of money to spend on education because of an amendment in a state transportation law.

The King County Council is figuring out its priorities for its share of the money, which will total about $315 million spread out over a number of years.

photo courtesy of Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology

A high school senior from Mill Creek has won a prestigious $25,000 dollar scholarship in the Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology. Sriharshita Musunuri’s research focuses on sepsis, which is one of the leading causes of death in U.S. hospitals.

Autumn Azure Photography

In this day of Tweets and texts and likes on Facebook, it may seem like a throwback to pick up a pen and write a letter. But Dec. 7 happens to be National Letter Writing Day, and Seattle author Elana Zaiman is urging all of us to sit down and write letters to our loved ones.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

It’s been more than five years since the Washington Supreme Court ruled that the state was failing to fully fund basic education and more than a decade since the McCleary lawsuit was originally filed. The McCleary kids have graduated from high school in the meantime.

In Seattle, fundraising by parents has helped to fill the void at some schools. Other, higher-poverty schools don’t have the ability to lean on parents to augment budgets.

Ashley Gross / KNKX

(Updated at 12:50 pm, Dec. 4, 2017, to correct how much money was raised by the Lafayette Elementary and Genesee Hill Elementary PTA auctions.)

Public schools are supposed to be paid for with taxes. But in Seattle, depending on which school your kid attends, you may be asked to kick in substantial amounts of money.

Mel Peffs / Flickr

About 400 school bus drivers in Seattle will go on a one-day strike on Wednesday to protest what they say are unfair labor practices committed by their employer, First Student, which holds the bus transportation contract for the district. 

Ashley Gross / KNKX

The Black Lives Matter movement has helped spark a national dialogue about issues of race and racism in the country. That conversation is also happening in schools.

At Seattle’s Roosevelt High School, Gabe Rosenbloom, a senior and a diversity coordinator for student government, has invited a speaker with an unusual background as a way to help bridge racial divides.

J.D. Scott / photo courtesy of Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum

Our country’s racial divides have been in the news a lot this year. Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum has written extensively about the topic, including in her book, Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together In The Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race.

Ali Mohsenian / photo courtesy of "Angst" documentary

Anxiety is the most common psychiatric disorder among children, but most kids aren’t getting treatment, according to a report from the Child Mind Institute. A new film called Angst: Raising Awareness Around Anxiety from the Seattle-based production company IndieFlix explores the problem.

Ashley Gross / KNKX

 (Updated at 2:30 pm, Nov. 15, 2017, to correct that schools are not required to inform parents before the books and lessons will be used in class.)

The Seattle school district is introducing books and short lessons to teach kids in kindergarten through fifth grade that there are many ways to express gender. District officials said it’s in response to a growing need and in line with updated state health education standards.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Low-income kids, black and Latino students and children in special education are suspended and expelled at above-average rates. State lawmakers have passed legislation in recent years aimed at reducing the disproportionate use of discipline.

Kyle Stokes / KNKX

A new report on the needs of black and African-American students in south Seattle and six south King County school districts says they continue to face inequities and racism. One area of focus is disproportionate use of discipline.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Seattle is getting its first woman mayor since Bertha Knight Landes was elected in in 1926. Former U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan is set to become mayor. 

Women will now likely hold the top office in three out of four of Washington state’s biggest cities.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Education and business leaders are visiting two schools in Tacoma this week to find out more about an initiative started five years ago to help improve outcomes for kids.

Ashley Gross / KNKX

The Seattle public school district has made it a high priority to eliminate achievement gaps between kids from different racial groups and socioeconomic backgrounds. It's a major issue for school board candidates, including including those vying for the seat representing District 7 in the southeastern part of Seattle.  

Ashley Gross / KNKX

One of the biggest issues animating the race for mayor in Seattle is juggling the interests of homeowners with the need to create more affordable housing. 

On average, 57 people move to Seattle every day, which has been pushing home prices up faster than any other large metro area in the country.

Both Cary Moon and Jenny Durkan agree Seattle is in the midst of a housing affordability crisis, and they each have put forward ideas for possible solutions.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

As the federal government weighs whether to increase entrance fees for some national parks, a congressman from Washington state is proposing a different way to address a big maintenance backlog.

Joe Wolf / Flickr

Washington state’s highest court is now weighing whether to end the long-running McCleary school funding case.

An attorney for the state asked the justices Tuesday to find that the state has now complied by passing an education funding plan, but many groups argue it hasn’t done enough.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Tuesday is a big day in Olympia for people concerned about school funding issues in Washington. That’s when the state Supreme Court will hold a hearing on whether the legislature has met the court’s requirements to amply fund basic education in the long-running McCleary case.

Mel Peffs / Flickr

The threat of a strike by school bus drivers in Seattle has many parents anxious. About 12,000 students in the district regularly use school bus service. Now, the union that represents the drivers is calling on the Seattle school board to put pressure on their vendor to resolve the labor dispute.

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."

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