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

UPDATE, 11:12 am: Adds details on school location and clarifies that the video was made off campus. 

A racist video showing a student from a high school in unincorporated King County near Renton has sparked outrage among African-American parents and the Washington State NAACP.

Senate Television / Associated Press

For the third time in U.S. history, the Senate is in the midst of an impeachment trial of the president.

For many local teachers, this is a unique opportunity to educate students about the Constitution and how the government works, and that’s pretty exciting.

Seattle Public Schools

UPDATE, 10:11 p.m.: Adds that the school board voted to approve the plan. 

The Seattle school board approved a measure that has big ramifications for gifted education at one middle school. The plan will eliminate a separate track for students who have tested into what’s known as the highly capable cohort.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Teen pregnancy rates have declined in Washington state in recent years, but the rates of sexually transmitted diseases, including chlamydia and gonorrhea, have climbed. There’s also been an increase in young people reporting that they’ve had “unwanted sexual contact.”

Two Democratic state representatives are sponsoring a bill that would require public schools to teach comprehensive sexual health education. 

Dealing with school cancellations and delays can be stressful for parents, but the Tacoma school district is using social media to give people something to smile about amid unpredictable weather.


The Washington Senate Ways and Means Committee had a packed agenda on a Friday morning last April. They heard from lobbyists representing realtors, health insurers, commercial real estate developers and school board directors about a range of bills.

They also heard from young men who don’t normally get to walk the halls of the state Capitol. They were there to give testimony on a bill that meant a lot to them.

In recent years, Washington has required school districts to submit data on how many times students are physically restrained or isolated by staff, and the issue has gotten more scrutiny around the country.

School district officials were scheduled to hold an information session with families on the evening of Jan. 13, to explain what kind of training school staff receive to help students calm down when they're in an emotional crisis or lashing out. The event was canceled Monday morning due to weather. The district also planned to explain more about how and when students are physically restrained.

Seattle Public Schools held three immunization clinics over the winter break to help students come into compliance with vaccination requirements.
Ashley Gross / KNKX

This Wednesday is the deadline for students in the state's largest school district to submit immunization records. If they fail to turn that in, they will not be allowed to attend school.

As of Friday, district officials said about 1,400 students still lacked immunization paperwork.

A national program that aims to improve outcomes for children living in poverty or in foster care has opened a branch in Tacoma. The organization is called Friends of the Children. It assigns paid mentors to young children between the ages of 4 and 6, and maintains that connection for about 12 years.

Alaskero Foundation/John Stamets / courtesy of Cindy Domingo

Author’s note: I used to cover business and labor for KNKX and had a tiny bit of knowledge about the brutal murders of two young Filipino-American labor activists in 1981. Then, in 2018 while covering another story, I met the brother of one of the men who had been killed. He mentioned how the family and friends of Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes had always suspected that the murders had been ordered by none other than the former dictator of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos. I put a lot of time into producing this story to weave in archival news footage and the memories of two key people responsible for doggedly pursuing justice for the slain men. (This story originally aired March 23.)  

Washington Department of Health

In about one more week, people under the age of 21 will no longer be able to buy cigarettes or vaping products in Washington.

A new Washington law that makes it illegal to sell tobacco or vapor products to anyone under age 21 goes into effect on Jan. 1. 2020. That will be the case across the country later next year because of a measure just approved by Congress and signed into law by President Donald Trump.

Adrian Florez / KNKX

The measles outbreak in Southwest Washington earlier this year showed the importance of making sure children are vaccinated. But the state auditor's office says some schools are failing to report immunization data.

Ashley Gross / KNKX

Residents of the Puget Sound region know that December in Western Washington is a pretty wet affair. Parents may not feel super excited to take their kids outside for hours on end.

But a growing number of preschools make it their mission to educate kids outside, even in the sogginess of a Pacific Northwest winter. And one scientist from Washington State University is trying to measure possible health benefits from outdoor play.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Boeing plans to temporarily halt production of the 737 MAX in Renton beginning in January, but the company said there will not be any layoffs or furloughs at this time.

Ashley Gross / KNKX

Felicia Dixon is 33 years old and has been incarcerated at the Washington Corrections Center for Women since 2004.

That’s a long time to not be able to use the internet. Washington prevents people in prison from using the web because of security concerns. Dixon entered prison before social media really took off.

Adrian Florez / KNKX

High rates of mental illness. Younger involvement in the juvenile justice system. A higher likelihood of being homeless as a young adult.

Those are some of the troubling findings of a recent report examining outcomes for youth, especially girls, involved in both the foster care and juvenile justice systems in Washington.

Washington Democratic Sen. Patty Murray
Cliff Owen / AP File Photo

There's been a steep increase in the number of students experiencing homelessness in Washington in the past decade, and research shows that students without stable housing often struggle in school.

Now, Democratic Sen. Patty Murray said she plans to introduce a bill aimed at helping these students.

Jenny Ingram / Flickr

Seattle Children’s apologized last month and acknowledged that the number of children who had been infected with a dangerous mold was higher than previously disclosed and that the infections dated back to 2001. Now, the hospital faces mounting legal trouble.

UPDATE, Dec. 6: Adds response from the attorney general's office to the school district.

A citizen's group that includes parents and former Seattle School Board Director Sue Peters has filed a complaint with the state Attorney General's Office, saying the Seattle district is failing to follow state law regarding advanced learning.

Target employees assembled gift baskets for children in foster care.
Courtesy of Amara

Since 2012, the number of children in foster care in Washington has climbed more than 20 percent, with almost 9,000 kids and teens currently in out-of-home placements. The state lacks enough foster homes and some foster children have had to sleep in hotels.

A new initiative in the Puget Sound region called Fostering Family aims to raise awareness and let people and businesses know about different ways to help.

In recent years, there’s been growing attention to the issue of food insecurity on college campuses, as more students from low-income backgrounds enroll. According to research, food insecurity is associated with lower grades, poorer health and conditions such as depression.

Seattle Pacific University, a Christian university based in the North Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle, has been selected to take part in a pilot program to offer free meals to students in need.

The abrupt closure of the Art Institute of Seattle earlier this year caused upheaval for hundreds of students.

That’s not the only higher-education institution to close in recent years – the for-profit ITT Technical Institute had three campuses in Washington and shut down in 2016.

Now, three state agencies have created a centralized complaint portal where postsecondary students can report concerns.

The University of Washington's economic impact extends to its campuses in Tacoma and Bothell, which each have almost 6,000 students.
Broran 28 / Wikimedia Commons

When you think of the big drivers of Washington's economy, the first things that come to mind may be the state’s corporate behemoths such as Boeing, Microsoft or Amazon. But in a new report, the University of Washington is highlighting its role as an economic engine.

courtesy of Julia Glen

Julia and Nancy Glen grew up in Tacoma. Now, the sisters have captured their love for the city in a new illustrated children’s book, "Tacoma Adventures."

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Back in 1988, the Seattle school district had a problem on its hands. Black third graders were underperforming their white classmates in reading by 29 percentage points. It was a glaring disparity, and it was getting attention. 

That’s the year that Keisha Scarlett started at Garfield High School in Seattle. Today Keisha is still at Seattle Public Schools, and so is the disparity — in fact, the gap has gotten even bigger. 

Parker Miles Blohm/KNKX

Nearly 70,000 people are expected to pack into CenturyLink Field for Sunday's MLS Cup Final. That puts it in on track to be the most attended soccer match in Seattle history.

This is the third time in four years that Seattle and Toronto are playing against each other for the championship. Seattle is hoping for a repeat of 2016 when the team won. And this time, the Sounders have home field advantage.

Kaiser Permanente Washington has awarded a total of $3.4 million in grants to school districts in Western Washington. The money is aimed at helping districts with a high concentration of poverty address mental health challenges among students.

The Dalai Lama speaks Tuesday, April 15, 2008 at the University of Washington in Seattle. The event took place on the final day of a five-day visit by the Dalai Lama to Seattle centered around the theme of "Seeds of Compassion."
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

Natalie Gomez has a pretty good excuse for missing this week’s AP biology test.

She’ll be in Dharamsala, India, for a meeting with the Dalai Lama.

The 16-year-old Bonney Lake resident is flying to India with five other high school students from Washington as part of the Compassion 2020 program, organized by Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib and the state service organization, Association of Washington Generals.

Ashley Gross / KNKX

A first-time candidate is giving a longtime Tacoma School Board director a run for her money, with the backing of the statewide teacher’s union.

Matt Remle and Urban Native Education Alliance

When Cante Remle, 12, went to Licton Springs Park recently with a group of other young Native people to make a film about the traditional Duwamish site in North Seattle, what he discovered made him sad.

“A lot of trees were vandalized, surprisingly. And a lot of trash was left around in corners, and in the river, there was a lot of shopping carts,” said Remle, who is Hunkpapa Lakota and Paiute. “I don’t know what type of people would shove shopping carts into a river, especially on a sacred site, you know?”