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

Students who attend dropout re-engagement programs, such as the Learning Center in the Highline School District, are excluded from district-level graduaton rates under a state policy. The programs have low graduation rates.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

This story is the first in a three-part series called "Who's Counted: Taking a Closer Look at School District Graduation Rates." The second and third stories will examine publicly funded online schools.

Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX

This story originally aired on March 10, 2018.   

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.

Alaskero Foundation/John Stamets / courtesy of Cindy Domingo

The brutal slayings of two 29-year-old Filipino-American labor activists in Seattle on June 1, 1981, shocked the city and the wider Filipino-American community.

Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

Many school districts are planning substantial budget cuts for the fall, including Seattle, Olympia and Tacoma. At the same time, they're urging state lawmakers to raise the limit on levies so they can collect more in local property taxes.

Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

Democratic state senators had pushed to amend the Washington constitution to allow school bonds to pass with a simple majority, but they failed to win votes from two-thirds of members as required.

Melanie / Flickr

Parents of children with dyslexia celebrated legislation that passed in Washington last year requiring school districts to screen all young children. Dyslexia is a learning disability that can make it hard to decode words.

Damian Dovarganes / AP Photo

There's growing understanding that out-of-school suspensions can be damaging to students. This Thursday, a group will hold a one-day training on an alternative approach called restorative justice.

Lois Martin / The Associated Press

The state Supreme Court has sided with a woman who was permanently barred from working in child care because of a criminal conviction.

Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

Lawmakers continue to wrestle with the new education-funding system they put in place in 2017, in which the Legislature increased the state property tax as a way to satisfy the long-running McCleary school-finance lawsuit. The approach limited how much districts can raise through local levies.

Ashley Gross / KNKX

The Seattle school district appears to have won enough support from voters for both of its local tax measures in yesterday’s election. The first vote count showed about two-thirds of voters approving the capital levy and the operations levy.

Seattle Public Schools

About a third of students in the Seattle school district qualify for subsidized meals. School has been closed so far this week as well as part of last week due to the snow, and that means some kids may not be getting as much to eat as they usually would.

Port Angeles School District

Voters have until Tuesday, Feb. 12, to return their ballots in an election that's important to many Washington school districts. But some school districts are reckoning with the possibility of not winning enough voter approval for their bond measures, and they’ve turned to the state Legislature to try to lower the threshold required for passage.  

Washington State Patrol

A frequent complaint from parents is that their children don’t have enough time to finish their lunch at school. Now, one of the state’s newest lawmakers has introduced legislation to try to figure out the barriers to giving students sufficient time to eat.

Seattle Public Schools

Navigating the public school system can be daunting for families with limited knowledge of English. Some state lawmakers have introduced legislation to help those families get the interpretation assistance they need.

Ashley Gross / KNKX

There's been a big demographic shift in Skagit Valley school districts in the past decade.  For example, these days about 43 percent of students in t­he Burlington-Edison School District are Latino, up from 27 percent a decade ago.

But while the student population has changed, the teaching staff largely has not.

Genesee Hill Elementary in West Seattle is one of the schools slated to have a librarian reduced to part time amid Seattle Public Schools budget cuts for next school year.
Seattle Public Schools

The Seattle school district has been warning for about a year that it faces a budget deficit in the 2019-20 school year. Now, the district has laid out its plans for making $39.7 million dollars’ worth of cuts, including removing assistant principals from some schools and reducing some librarians to part time.

Teen migrants wait in line inside the Tornillo detention camp in Tornillo, Texas, last month.
Andres Leighton / The Associated Press

Mandy Manning is using her position as the 2018 National Teacher of the Year to draw attention to the detention of thousands of migrant children in the United States.

Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press

Transportation officials have several recommendations to help commuters survive the three-week period between closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct and opening of Seattle's new tunnel. Among them: work from home or flex your schedule.

Neither is an option for Charrie Gibson. The West Seattle resident teaches fourth grade at Cascadia Elementary School in North Seattle.

KUOW 94.9 Public Radio / Flickr

The state Public Employment Relations Commission is holding a hearing this week about an unfair labor practice complaint filed by union members at the public radio station KUOW.

Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

Gov. Jay Inslee said his budget proposal includes investments in the state's early learning system to help make sure kids are ready for school. But some advocacy groups said it doesn't go far enough.

Ashley Gross / KNKX

Commuters to and from downtown Seattle are bracing for the evening of Jan. 11, when a stretch of Highway 99 from the West Seattle Bridge to the Battery Street Tunnel will close. But transportation officials say drivers also need to look farther ahead to when the tunnel that will replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct opens.

Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press

There's been a lot of debate nationally and locally about how to prevent school shootings like the one that left 17 people dead in Parkland, Florida, last February.

Republican state Rep. Jim Walsh from Aberdeen said one important prevention tool is to provide resource officers in schools, and he’s pre-filed a bill that would authorize funding from the state to pay for one in each public school.

Ashley Gross / KNKX

Two Democratic state lawmakers have pre-filed a bill that would require the development of a model ethnic studies curriculum for grades 7 through 12. Other states, such as California, have already started doing so.

Martin Meissner / AP Photo

UPDATE, 9 p.m.: Adds comment from a media lawyer  on whether students could be held liable for sharing bigoted content online. Corrects to remove inaccurate information about Washington's law on recording conversations.

Schools are increasingly having to deal with the combustible mix that results from students having cellphones and using social media.

That played out in dramatic fashion this week as Hamilton International Middle School in Seattle tried to address the fallout from a student's tweet that went viral and drew the attention of the right-wing conspiracy website, InfoWars.

Ashley Gross / KNKX

As the #MeToo movement continues to shed light on painful stories from women, the careers of the prominent men they accuse have taken a hit. For people in the arts, it's also changed how we view the works they've created, whether it’s comedy by Louis C.K. or movies by Harvey Weinstein.

It's also put high school English teachers in a quandary.

Ashley Gross / KNKX

Kent School District's superintendent has faced public criticism for receiving thousands of dollars in stipends to participate in education-technology conferences. Now, the school board has voted against allowing him to take part in one in February.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

A growing body of research shows that teenagers benefit when they're allowed to sleep later.

The latest study, from the University of Washington and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, found that students at Roosevelt and Franklin high schools in Seattle got more sleep and better grades after the school district moved the high school start time almost an hour later.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

In recent years, Washington state has been attracting workers from other parts of the country to fill jobs in growing industries such as engineering and computer programming.

But a scholarship created in 2011 aims to help young people from low- and middle-income families in the state land those jobs.

Matt Brown / AP Photo

Parents with kids at Licton Springs K-8, a small school in North Seattle that focuses on social justice and Native culture, got some assurance from Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Denise Juneau that the school won’t be displaced next year.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Seattle's neighborhoods have become more racially mixed since 1990, but its schools have become more segregated, according to a recent study examining the 100 largest cities in the country.