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

Jacquelyn Martin / AP Photo

Across the state, teachers’ unions are trying to negotiate pay increases for their members. At the same time, a conservative group is telling teachers they can get that extra compensation without paying any union dues.

Teachers in the Puget Sound region have received mailings recently from the Olympia-based Freedom Foundation telling them they don’t have to financially support a union.

woodleywonderworks / Flickr

With kids out of school, summer can be a challenging time for parents. And if you’re facing tantrums or defiant behavior from your children, the author of a new book says you’re not alone.

The book is called The Good News About Bad Behavior: Why Kids Are Less Disciplined Than Ever – And What To Do About It. Author Katherine Reynolds Lewis said there’s scientific research to show that kids nowadays are less capable of regulating their own behavior.

Rachel La Corte / AP Photo

School is out, but this is a busy time for school districts and educators at the bargaining table. The Washington Education Association, the statewide teachers’ union, said this year is particularly active for negotiations because of additional funding from the state legislature to satisfy the McCleary school-funding lawsuit.

U.S. Department of Education / Flickr

The Washington legislature passed a law earlier this year to require universal screening of kids for the learning disability known as dyslexia. That screening requirement won’t kick in until fall of 2021, but the state is now seeking applicants for a dyslexia advisory council. The deadline to apply is Thursday.

Ashley Gross / KNKX

This week, a new superintendent took the helm of the Seattle school district. Denise Juneau has spelled out her plans for getting to know the district and meeting with everyone from city leaders to families to students.

She’s also met with former superintendent, Larry Nyland, who headed up the district for four years. He is now moving into what he calls “semi-retirement,” in which he’ll continue to do some educational consulting work.

Nyland took time during his last day as superintendent to speak with KNKX about an issue close to his heart: the need to help improve outcomes for kids of color and low-income students.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson has been particularly aggressive in filing lawsuits against the Trump administration, but the prospect of a new justice on the U.S. Supreme Court has implications for what happens to those cases, according to one local law professor.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Immigration attorneys have been busy meeting with migrants seeking asylum who are being held at the SeaTac Federal Detention Center. They were transferred there from Texas under the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy against illegal immigration and are now awaiting so-called “credible fear” interviews with immigration officials.

Jacquelyn Martin / AP Photo

Public-sector unions are bracing for a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that has the potential to hurt them financially. In Washington state, the case would affect almost 300,000 workers employed in the public sector, including teachers and other school staff represented by unions.

photo courtesy of Sharon Curley

Graduating from high school is an accomplishment for everyone who receives a diploma. But some students face bigger hurdles making it to that milestone.

The graduation rate for American Indian and Alaska Native youth in Washington state in the 2016-17 school year was 60 percent compared with 79 percent for all kids.

Kids in foster care have an even lower graduation rate. In the 2014-15 school year, the most recent statistics available, only 43 percent of students living in foster care graduated in four years.

But one young woman from the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe not only beat the odds – she graduated at the top of her class.

Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX

A previous version of this story was inadvertently published early Wednesday. The text of that story, which contained a factual error, has been deleted. That story incorrectly said students at Denny International Middle School had been pulled out of social studies class for math tutoring. This story reflects the correction and adds comments from Denny's principal.

Representatives in the Seattle teachers’ union have voted to call for a two-year moratorium on standardized tests, building on a history in Seattle of protesting over this issue.

The Real Estreya / Flickr

Scientists have been trying to tease out what happens in the brain when a kid is learning something new. At the University of Washington, researchers have just published their findings on what happens to children with dyslexia when they get intensive help with reading.

Ashley Gross / KNKX

There are few topics in our country as politically charged as guns. But one Seattle doctor has been visiting schools to educate students about gun safety as a public health issue instead of a political one.

Kyle Stokes / KNKX

It’s graduation season, and that means high school seniors have reached a significant milestone. But a new report says not enough of them in Washington state are going on to postsecondary education.

Courtesy of The Evergreen State College

This Friday, seniors at The Evergreen State College in Olympia will graduate. That’s of course a happy occasion, but the campus is also in the midst of sizeable budget cuts because of a projected drop in enrollment.

Ashley Gross / KNKX

Kids in the Puget Sound region are counting down the days until summer vacation, but one middle school librarian in West Seattle has been working all year to try to get students to spend some of that time reading.

courtesy of Lowell Elementary PTA

The school year is winding down and this is the time when many parent teacher student associations are making their budgets for the fall. Some PTAs in Seattle are choosing to share some of the funds they raise with schools that have fewer resources.

Ashley Gross / KNKX

University of Washington teaching assistants and other academic student employees have approved a new contract and canceled plans for a strike.

Gene J. Puskar / AP Photo

The Washington State Supreme Court has ruled that information submitted by Uber and Lyft to the city of Seattle falls under the category of trade secrets, but the court said that information may still be subject to public disclosure under state law.

Ashley Gross / KNKX

Students who work at the University of Washington as teaching assistants, research assistants, readers, graders and tutors are planning to go on strike starting this Saturday, a move that threatens to disrupt final exams and delay grades.

King County has scored a win in U.S. District Court against the federal Department of Health and Human Services. The case revolves around the department’s decision to cut short a grant to King County to research the effectiveness of its sexual-education curriculum.

courtesy of The Northwest School

A private school in Seattle is testing the idea that music is a universal language. Orchestra students from The Northwest School will perform an Argentinian tango Wednesday evening that they’ve been working on in tandem with music students around the world.

photo courtesy of Sarah's family

The school district in Shoreline will name a new early learning center after Edwin Pratt, an African-American civil rights leader who was murdered as he answered the door of his Shoreline home in 1969.

It’s all because of the hard work of a 10-year-old fourth grader named Sarah. Her parents asked that only her first name be used to protect her privacy.

Ashley Gross / KNKX

Seattle has 25 clinics in public schools to serve the health needs of students. Now King County is using dollars from the Best Starts for Kids levy, which voters approved in 2015, to open school-based health centers outside the city.

Ashley Gross / KNKX

The drumbeat of complaints about Kent’s superintendent of public schools is growing louder. Last month, the Kent Education Association took a vote of no confidence in the leadership of Superintendent Calvin Watts, who has led the district of more than 27,000 students since 2015.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

The Washington Supreme Court will hear arguments this Thursday in a case that has the potential to throw charter schools into turmoil. The plaintiffs in the case argue that the law passed by the legislature to allow charter schools is unconstitutional.

Sy Bean for the Hechinger Report

Many high school seniors and their parents are doing the math right now calculating how much four years of college is going to cost. What most don’t imagine is that they may have to pay for five or six years. Nationally, only two out of five college students finish on time. 

Ashley Gross / KNKX

Teachers have been going on strike in several states across the country, and now teaching assistants at the University of Washington are planning one of their own. Academic student employees will stage a one-day walkout next Tuesday.

Catherine Carbone Rogers / Highline Public Schools

An elementary school teacher in Burien will travel later this month to one of the most remote spots on earth.

Melissa Cook, who teaches second grade at Hazel Valley Elementary School in the Highline school district, has been selected along with 39 other educators from the U.S. and Canada to join a National Geographic expedition to a set of Norwegian islands in the Arctic Ocean.

City of Mercer Island

Getting the whole community involved in preventing drug and alcohol use by young people can have lasting effects. That’s the conclusion of a recent study published by researchers at the University of Washington.

Parents and teachers in the Kent School District are calling for the resignation of Superintendent Calvin Watts. One mother has started an online petition calling for him to step down.

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