Ashley Gross | KNKX

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

Ashley Gross / KNKX

Often, laws are created in the wake of a tragedy. In Washington state, the legislature passed what’s called the Becca laws in 1995 in the wake of the murder of a 13-year-old girl named Rebecca Hedman.

The laws are aimed at creating systems to track and get help for kids who are engaged in risky behavior, including chronic absence from school.

Ashley Gross / KNKX

Students around the Puget Sound region, from Seattle to Renton to Gig Harbor, poured out of class as part of the national walkout against gun violence.

At Ingraham High School in North Seattle, hundreds of students gathered on the soccer field. They stood in silence to honor the victims of last month’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead.

Richard Vogel / AP Photo

Students at schools across the Puget Sound region are planning to walk out Wednesday as part of a nationwide protest to mark the one-month anniversary of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead.

Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX

Gray hair is one of the inevitable timestamps of life, and Ashley Gross has noticed a few springing up on her head lately. Or rather, her kids have noticed, and enjoy pointing them out. This didn't seem like such a big deal, until she noticed that there tend to be relatively few prominent women who let their gray show.

Hair colorants are a multi-billion dollar industry that seems to target women's insecurities about aging. They also reinforce a strain in our culture that diminishes older women.

U.S. Department of Education / Flickr

Schools may soon have to screen kids for the learning disability dyslexia early on in elementary school. State lawmakers passed a bill requiring districts to do so starting in the 2020-2021 school year.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP Photo

The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing arguments Monday in a case that has big potential consequences for public-sector unions in Washington state. If the conservative majority on the court rules against the unions, they could be hurt financially, according to one legal expert.

madamepsychosis / Flickr

Across the country, people are debating how to prevent mass shootings like the one that happened Feb. 14 at a Florida high school. Many people are pushing for tighter gun laws. There’s also an acknowledgement that young people who are struggling emotionally need more help, and one way people can help is to take a youth mental health first aid class.

Curtis Cronn / Flickr

Although results in the Feb. 13 special election have not yet been certified, several school districts in the Puget Sound region appear to have failed to pass school construction bond measures. Those districts include Everett, Arlington, Lake Washington and Bethel.

One Democratic state lawmaker said the threshold for school bond measures to pass is too high, making it hard for districts to address overcrowding and build new schools.

Ashley Gross / KNKX

A man who worked as an educational aide in nine Seattle public schools has pleaded not guilty to child rape and molestation charges.

Albert Virachismith was employed at John Muir Elementary School in the Mount Baker neighborhood in the 2016-17 school year. That’s where he’s alleged to have sexually assaulted a student in the bathroom multiple times.

Kyle Stokes / KNKX

Albert Virachismith, the man charged with repeatedly raping an elementary school student in Seattle, worked at eight other schools in the district. That brought him into contact with many children and raises questions about whether there are other victims.

Brie Ripley / KNKX

The company that provides school bus transportation to about 12,000 students in the Seattle school district and the union that represents drivers said in a joint statement that they've reached a tentative agreement. Drivers have been on strike for more than a week.

Brie Ripley / KNKX

First Student, the company that employs school bus drivers in Seattle, said it will meet Thursday with the leadership of Teamsters Local 174 and a federal mediator. That comes after drivers have been on strike since Feb. 1 over health and retirement benefits.

Ashley Gross / KNKX

The school bus strike in Seattle has now lasted almost a week. It has put put the drivers’ employer, First Student, under close scrutiny. The company was the only one that submitted a bid to provide bus service in the district, leaving Seattle Public Schools with little choice.

But the district is taking steps to expand its options in the future.

Zach Frailey / Flickr

Almost every day, it seems like there’s another headline raising concerns about how screen time affects kids’ brain development and emotions. Even a group of former Facebook and Google employees is trying to call attention to the potential harms of technology for children.

Brie Ripley / KNKX

(Updated at 3:35 pm to add comments from school bus driver Alex Bergstrom and First Student executive Kim Mingo.)

About 400 Seattle school bus drivers went on strike Thursday. The work stoppage stems from a dispute with their employer, First Student, over health and retirement benefits.

Wonderlane / Flickr

Community groups want the University of Washington to build more affordable housing for low-wage employees at the school.

The university has updated its master plan and needs approval from the City of Seattle. The groups argue affordable housing should be a part of that plan.

Center for Youth Wellness

Childhood trauma leaves lasting damage on people’s psyches. There is growing awareness in the medical community that experiencing adversity as a child leaves lasting impacts on a person’s body as well, including higher risks for heart disease and cancer.

Ashley Gross / KNKX

In recent years, there have been changes to state law to limit the use of suspensions in school. You can look up a lot of data on discipline numbers on the state superintendent’s web site, but what’s missing are the human stories behind the statistics.

Why did that one kid come to school stoned? Why does that girl have a backpack stuffed with stolen goods?

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

A bipartisan group of state lawmakers is exploring ways to make it easier for parents who are going to community college to get care for their kids at reduced rates.

Douglas Boyles / Bethel School District

The Feb. 13 special election will be a test of voters' support for local school levies and bond measures in the wake of major changes to the way the state funds public education. Around the Puget Sound region, dozens of school districts are asking people to support local property tax measures.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

The Seattle school board is kicking off its search for a new superintendent with a community town hall on Thursday evening, but labor groups representing teachers and principals are urging the school board to forgo the search and extend current Superintendent Larry Nyland’s contract instead.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

With the abrupt closures of some schools, including ITT Technical Institute campuses in Everett and Seattle, for-profit colleges have gotten more scrutiny in recent years. State Rep. Drew Hansen, D-Bainbridge Island, has proposed excluding for-profit institutions from state financial aid programs.

Rebecca Sullivan Photography

A new program in Seattle to assign black male mentors to black boys is getting underway. The program was set in motion by former Seattle Mayor Ed Murray with $300,000 from the city.

Will James / KNKX

The future of the program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, remains in doubt, but some Democratic lawmakers in Washington state want to ensure that undocumented people in college will be able to continue their education even if the program ends.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

State lawmakers head back to Olympia on Monday for the short legislative session. One Democratic state senator says a high priority will be boosting funding for special education.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Washington state is moving closer to adopting a new system for tracking school quality and student progress. The state superintendent’s office has gotten feedback on its plan from the federal Department of Education and will submit its revised version on Thursday. 

Rachel La Corte / AP Photo

Scammers have found a way to use fake caller ID information to pose as the Washington State Supreme Court Clerk and call people up to threaten arrest and demand money.

401(K) 2012 / Flickr

The holidays can leave many of us feeling financially depleted, but instead of trying to forget about that, BECU says it’s an opportunity for a family discussion on how to manage money.

Keith Cooper / Flickr

Here’s one more thing to worry about if you’re trying to buy a home in the hot Seattle real estate market: You could get duped into wiring your down payment to a fraudulent account.  Real estate professionals across the country and in the Puget Sound region report an alarming spike in wire fraud.

Brian Turner / Flickr

School districts in Washington state are filing fewer petitions to juvenile court for kids who are truant, according to a recent report from the state superintendent’s office.

But almost all of the kids who wind up in the juvenile court system for unexcused absences – 93 percent – come from low-income families.