Rachel Morello

Education Reporter

Rachel joined WUWM in January 2016 as the station's first education reporter.

A graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Morello previously covered the education beat for StateImpact Indiana, a collaborative public radio/public television reporting project focused on explaining the effects of school-related state policy on people's lives. Her own academic background includes experiences in alternative, public and private schools, as well as homeschooling. 

Rachel is a Milwaukee native and considers herself a proud cheesehead (Go Pack!) She likes to spend her weekends taking advantage of the city's lakefront, as well as its breweries and arts scene. 


School cafeterias are notorious for dishing up some meals that cause kids to groan, or even pack a bagged lunch, to avoid the day's entree.

But one lunch menu item in Milwaukee Public Schools has been adored for generations – even though it might sound suspect.

What’s the big deal with “mock chicken leg?”

The basics: Mock chicken leg is pork – or in some cases veal, or other meats – ground up, molded to resemble a drumstick, breaded and fried. It looks similar to the original McNugget, only bigger.

Every few weeks, WUWM education reporter Rachel Morello scans through her notes and gives us the scoop on what's happening in area schools. Test your knowledge of headlines big and small with her news quiz!

After a holiday break, students, teachers and staff have returned to Wisconsin’s classrooms to finish the second half of their school year.

Teran Powell

Edward Flynn, the embattled chief of Milwaukee's Police Department, will retire from his post next month. Flynn’s current term was due to continue through January of 2020.

The Milwaukee Police Department confirmed news of Flynn's retirement Monday afternoon, after initial reports had surfaced:

Rachel Morello

Think about what gym class was like as a kid.

You probably played badminton or pickle-ball; maybe the prospect of the dodgeball unit sent shivers up your spine.

Nowadays, your standard gym class experience is changing in a handful of schools around the Milwaukee area. Several educators are working to transform physical education to give kids the tools to maintain their health throughout their lives.

At Wauwatosa’s Longfellow Middle School, P.E. staff are taking an extra step.

Rachel Morello

As adults, we have a lot of opinions about the way kids these days grow up. We were in their shoes once, and now, we’re in charge of bringing up the next generation.

But when it comes to the big things in kids’ lives – like school -- often times, they’re the ones with the best insights.

As 2017 comes to an end, check out what students had to say about the biggest education news of the year.

Rachel Morello

Every few weeks, WUWM education reporter Rachel Morello flips through her notebook to give us the scoop on what's happening in local schools. This week, she went through her entire 2017 catalog to bring us student voices talking about some of the biggest themes of the year. 

2017 is coming to an end…but for students, it’s only the halfway mark.

After a short holiday break, kids in southeastern Wisconsin will return to class with a full semester ahead of them.

Michelle Maternowski

These days, communities around Wisconsin increasingly look to their schools to develop students beyond reading, writing & arithmetic -- especially as big players like Foxconn join the business landscape. Employers want future employees, and that means giving kids opportunities to hone skills they can’t learn from a textbook.

Rachel Morello

With change comes uncertainty -- and uncertain is exactly the vibe on UW-Milwaukee’s campus, as faculty, staff and students begin to learn more about the future of their school.

Wisconsin’s public university system will look different in 2018. Come next fall, UWM will merge with a couple two-year UW campuses.

These days, school is more than just a place of learning.

The classroom has become a “home away from home” for some students, especially those whose lives involve big challenges. And increasingly, school is the place kids seek help with their social-emotional needs.

What are the best ways to do that? How should schools strike a balance between social-emotional and academic learning? And what are educators in the Milwaukee area already doing on this front?

That’s the question in front of a panel, assembling Wednesday at Marquette Law School.

Rachel Morello

Several Wisconsin school districts are trying a new method of evaluating what students learn.

It’s called “standards-based grading,” and it’s different than the typical A-F grading system people may be used to.

Advocates believe the new approach will replace the old system. But, in order for the practice to catch on, it will take a shift in mindset from both parents and educators.

At first, when you step into David Venne’s room at Racine Case High School, it looks like any other public school science class. 

chasingmoments, fotolia

Wisconsin is home to arguably the largest school choice scene in the country, and many local parents are aware of the public and private school options available to them. But there’s one lesser-known alternative: homeschooling.

Inafrenzy, Flickr

Every few weeks, WUWM education reporter Rachel Morello opens up her notebook to give us the scoop about what's happening in schools around the greater Milwaukee area. Test your knowledge of headlines big and small with her news quiz!

The upcoming holiday means there’s a lot to prepare for – and I don’t just mean the turkey!

iQoncept, fotolia

The majority of Wisconsin’s students are performing at or above expectations, according to the latest round of state report cards released by the Department of Public Instruction on Tuesday. But, DPI officials warn that although new scores paint a brighter picture for schools across the state, in some cases they may not be an accurate reflection of what’s happening in classrooms.

David Banks/Getty Images

Certainly, Wisconsin and Illinois have storied rivalries in the sports arena: the Green Bay Packers vs. the Chicago Bears, the Brewers and the Cubs, the Bucks and the Bulls. But a few of our listeners have been wondering if that competitive spirit runs deeper than the action on the field.

One such listener, Jason Gessner, reached out to Bubbler Talk and asked, “Have Wisconsin and Illinois always had contentious relationship or is that a more modern development?”


Updated Thursday, Nov. 9
The UW Board of Regents approved a plan at its monthly meeting Thursday that would merge the systems two-year schools with its four-year campuses.  The Regents approved the proposal on a voice vote -- with Tony Evers and Janice Mueller dissenting.

The proposal, crafted by UW System president Ray Cross, will impact the UW Colleges, four-year institutions and the UW-Extension -- but not Wisconsin's Technical College System, which is a separate entity.

Original post: October 11, 2017