Rachel Morello

Education Reporter

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

Thanks to her Midwestern upbringing, Morello has been able to strike up a conversation with people all over the country. She has lived and worked in Chicago, Washington, D.C., Miami and London, interviewing anyone from politicians on Capitol Hill to farmers in rural Indiana.

A graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Morello most recently covered the education beat for StateImpact Indiana, a collaborative radio and television reporting project operated by public media stations throughout the Hoosier state. She traveled the state covering school-related issues, policies and trends from standardized testing to high school diplomas. 

A lifelong cheesehead, Rachel likes to spend her weekends cheering on the Packers and Badgers, and taking advantage of the Milwaukee lakefront. 

Ways to Connect

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new set of state report cards confirmed Thursday that the Milwaukee Public School district is improving. But the math has changed, breeding skepticism about how much improvement is actually taking place.

Districts across Wisconsin and each of their individual schools are ranked in one of five categories: 

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School spending accounts for roughly one-third of Wisconsin’s budget every year, and if state education leaders succeed in convincing the state to adopt their budget proposal, districts could see even more money over the next two years – particularly if they serve a large population of economically disadvantaged students.

Rachel Morello

This year, for the first time, a Milwaukee charter school is trying a new system of teaching and learning created by Facebook engineers.

The Silicon Valley-based company worked with Summit Public Schools in California to create Summit Learning, a computer-based model that puts more of the responsibility on students to take charge of their learning.

Rachel Morello

How can we turn out the vote? That’s one of the biggest challenges facing both political parties this election. It’s also a question some millenials want to tackle, because they’ve posted the lowest turnout rate of any demographic group over the last few elections.

Student leaders at Milwaukee’s Mount Mary University are trying to change that by “engaging” their friends – quite literally.

Rachel Morello

The superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools is putting forward some big ideas for change in her district. This week, Darienne Driver presented the MPS board with a slate of reforms designed to boost achievement.

PAVE/Colin Deval

Milwaukee professionals looking to give back to their communities can now receive training as a school board member, thanks to a new citywide program.

Most public school districts are governed by elected boards. But many private, independent schools must piece together their own boards.

Milwaukee Succeeds

It's widely acknowledged that Milwaukee boasts one of the widest achievement gaps in the country among public school students. 

The next logical question for education-focused groups across the city: how do we move the needle?

Jimmy Emerson, DVM (Flickr)

If you've ever studied higher education in this state, you've likely heard of the "Wisconsin Idea."

It's a philosophy born during the country's Progressive Era that binds the University of Wisconsin system to the aims of the state. It’s been embraced since being introduced by former UW System president John Bascom in the late 1800s.

Rachel Morello

Fall marks a season of uniquely American traditions – football, hay rides, Halloween and Thanksgiving.

Schools often observe of few of the customs.

At the Hmong American Peace Academy, the mission is to immerse kids in both their Hmong and American heritages. This time of year, the school celebrates some American traditions with its annual “Fall Family Festival.”

It’s a Saturday, and about 50 kids are in the cafeteria, circled around a DJ.

“Who knows how to do the Hokey Pokey?” the DJ asks, to squeals and cheers from the crowd around him.  

Rachel Morello

The last time we heard from Sara Goldrick-Rab, her business cards read "professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison."

This time around, she has a different title.

Michelle Maternowski

Like many of her fellow Milwaukeeans, Lynne Woehrle was sad to hear the news of protests and violence in Sherman Park over the summer.

Rachel Morello

One of the city’s most successful charter school networks, Milwaukee College Prep, has just moved closer to MPS.

Rachel Morello

According to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, Milwaukee Public School is no longer required to take part in OSPP, the state's Opportunity Schools and Partnership Program.

This comes after months of drama surrounding that initiative, and the resignation of the person who was supposed to head it in Milwaukee.

The state legislature created OSPP in 2015, as a way to turn around struggling school districts across the state. Any district that falls in the lowest category on a state report card, for two consecutive years, is required to participate.

Miguel Ariel Contreras Drake-McLaughlin/Flickr

Fun fact: Bob Woodward doesn't vote. 

The legendary investigative reporter, a veteran of the Washington Post where he played a role in uncovering the Watergate scandal, says his public duty lies elsewhere.

"I used to take my daughters into the voting booth and let them vote for me," Woodward says. "I don't want to spend time trying to think that out. I want to try to spend time, what can we learn about these people that we don't know?"

With just a month left until November 8, it’s almost impossible to avoid news about the U.S. presidential race. But middle schoolers on Milwaukee’s south side are focusing on their own campaigns in the race for student council.

It’s a Monday, after school. Twenty kids running for St. Anthony’s student council are gathered in a classroom to work on their campaigns.

Some are clacking away on laptops preparing speeches, others have gathered art supplies and big sheets of white paper to make campaign posters.

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