Ashton Marra

Ashton Marra covers the Capitol for West Virginia Public Radio and can be heard weekdays on West Virginia Morning, the station’s daily radio news program. Ashton can also be heard Sunday evenings as she brings you state headlines during NPR’s weekend edition of All Things Considered. She joined the news team in October of 2012.

During the legislative session, Ashton focuses on the state Senate, bringing daily reports from the inner-workings of the state’s upper house on West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s nightly television show The Legislature Today.

Ashton comes to WVPBS from ABC News’ morning program Good Morning America where she worked as a production associate. Ashton produced pieces for the broadcast, including the first identified victim of the Aurora, CO, movie theater shooting and the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, as well as multiple entertainment news stories.

Before her time at GMA, Ashton worked as an intern on ABC’s news assignment desk, helping to organize coverage of major news stories like the Trayvon Martin case, the Jerry Sandusky trail, tornadoes that ravaged the South and Midwest and the 2012 Presidential election. She also spent 18 months as a weekend reporter for WDTV based in her hometown of Clarksburg, WV, breaking the story of missing Lewis County toddler Aliayah Lunsford. Ashton’s work from that story was feature on HLN’s Nancy Grace in October of 2011.

Ashton graduated summa cum laude from West Virginia University in May of 2012, where she was named WVU’s Reporter of the Year. She covered government for the P.I. Reed School of Journalism’s bi-weekly newscast WVU News and also served a semester as the WVPBS bureau reporter.

When she isn’t reporting, Ashton enjoys cooking and is an avid supporter of the arts, including theater, music and dance. She is a huge fan of musicals and touts her collection of Playbills from the Broadway musicals she’s attended, which grew by nearly 30 in her 9 months living in New York City.

 

Inequities in the dollars used to fund schools have been a problem in Ohio for decades.

Education funding depends on local home values, business investments, levies that pass or fail, and in some areas, it also depends on whether a natural gas pipeline runs through your school district.

In a fairly rural district in Northeast Ohio, the construction of a controversial pipeline could mean a multi-million-dollar windfall, and after years of belt-tightening, district officials are dreaming up potential ways to spend it.

Cloverleaf Local Schools

A group of ten Cleveland students and educators will hit the skies Wednesday morning heading for the island of Puerto Rico.

The trip, which overlaps with the school district’s spring break, isn’t necessarily for fun. The group from Lincoln-West High School will be volunteering at a southern Puerto Rico elementary school and orphanage.

“In the elementary school, we’re going to create a mural for the community and also plant a [vegetable] garden there,” teacher and translator Awilda Morales said.

An educator prepare to enter the shoot house, which is meant to simulate a hallway, doors and corners of a school.
Annie Wu / ideastream

Thousands of Ohio students held demonstrations Wednesday pushing for stricter state and federal gun laws in order to make their schools safer, but one Ohio Board of Education member believes school security issues should be handled at the local level.

Lakewood High School Walkout / Twitter

The Ohio State University and more than a dozen other Ohio colleges and universities have vowed to defend the admissions of students who are disciplined for participating in peaceful protests.

U.S. Supreme Court
J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Over the weekend, thousands of public employees rallied in state capitols across the country including Columbus ahead of a U.S. Supreme Court hearing in Washington Monday.

Lakewood High School Walkout / Twitter

Students at several Northeast Ohio high schools staged walkouts Wednesday, a week after the deaths of 17 people at a Florida school.

Columbus State Community College

Twenty-year-old Carter Makiewicz spent a year studying theater at the University of Toledo before he decided to move back to his hometown of Dayton and choose a different path.

Wikipedia Commons

One of the state’s largest public school districts will no longer be allowed to sponsor charter schools.

Ashton Marra / ideastream

Supporters of ECOT—the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow—say the online charter school could reopen if the Ohio Supreme Court rules in its favor during a Tuesday hearing, but students have found alternative classrooms in the three weeks since its closure.

Students gather around a laptop computer in an Ohio State University classroom.
Ohio State University

International students make up 23 percent of the enrollment in Ohio graduate programs, but new data shows, nationally, that number took a hit last year and is trickling down to Ohio schools.

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