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

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.

Rachel Morello

The school year was about to begin a few weeks ago, then it abruptly ended for scores of students at ITT Technical Institute. The for-profit college system announced it was closing its campuses nation-wide, including two in Wisconsin, after numerous states accused ITT of fraud.

We all hold our fair share of stress – work, family matters, keeping a social calendar.

For high school students, that list also includes homework, thinking about college and a host of other “teenage” worries.

One all-girls high school in Milwaukee is trying to give its students the tools to manage stress – and take responsibility for their own well-being.

This isn’t your average gym class. In fact, it’s not gym class at all.

Rachel Morello

Tight school budgets mean teachers might not have enough money to supply their own classrooms. So some spend their own money and hit the discount stores. Increasingly, these days, teachers are also turning to crowdfunding websites to buy things as simple as markers and construction paper.

A charity that former Wisconsin Senator Herb Kohl runs is the latest group to lend teachers a hand.

Rachel Morello

It’s “back to school” time across Milwaukee.

For about 100 students on the near south side, this fall marks a brand-new experience – not only for them, but for their school, Stellar Collegiate.

It’s the brainchild of a local educator, and many parents are putting their faith in her program that, this time last year, they knew nothing about.

Quirky Female Protagonist/YouTube

Critics tend to agree there is a flood of entertainment being made by women and for women these days.

Many, but not all, of these shows – including Girls, The Mindy Project, and Broad City – rely on similar narrative themes and structures: scenes like the “girls’ night out,” characters akin to the “platonic male friend,” or quick, back-and-forth dialogue.

maroke, fotolia

During every school year in Milwaukee, thousands of students are identified as homeless. In MPS, the number has been hovering at just under 4,000.

 The district tracks-down as many of the students as it can, to get services to them – such as transportation and food, hoping they attend school. As we reported Monday, a big push to connect with them is underway now, at the end of summer break.

Rachel Morello

The first day of school is just around the corner, and for Milwaukee students who are homeless, that can mean a return of some stability after the summer break.

Staff is hard at work this week identifying the kids who don’t have an address, and making sure they have transportation, meals and school supplies -- all things the district can help with, and that will hopefully keep them in school.

For Cathy Klein, "back-to-school" preparations are all about her “list.”

Pages