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

Rachel Morello

Milwaukee is home to the longest-running school voucher program in the country. And even though it is more than a quarter-century old, the system still generates plenty of division.

Before the election, Marquette Law School planned to host a conversation about lessons the city has learned about vouchers. Now the topic is even more relevant, because the nation may head down the path Milwaukee has followed for more than 25 years.

Rachel Morello

In college, students might joke about living on ramen noodles, or popcorn. But for some, hunger can be a real problem.

According to at least one study, today’s college students suffer higher levels of food insecurity than ever before.

So as a more diverse population of students works toward higher education, some campuses are figuring out how to make sure those young people have meals, including in Milwaukee.

Rachel Morello

 

For some families, Thanksgiving means turkey or football. For others, the holiday wouldn’t be complete without Black Friday shopping.

Amelia Frankum falls into the latter camp. The Whitefish Bay resident makes a pilgrimage to the stores every year -- but it’s not a solo mission.

“My daughter and I have been Black Friday shopping together since she was about 4 years old, and she is 18 this year,” Frankum says. “It’s kind of our thing! Nobody else can come, just she and I every year.”

pressmaster / Fotolia

There are plenty of parenting books out there. Each touts its own tips and tricks, "secrets" to raising the most well-rounded, best-behaved children. 

What if we told you, there is no one secret?

That's exactly the message author and educator Kim John Payne wants to spread to parents.

Algonquin Publishing

Do you ever wonder what would happen if you drove past your exit on the highway, instead of going home to make dinner after work? Or what your destination would be, if you could just drop everything and head out on the road?

That’s the fantasy-turned-reality for the main character in Leave Me, the latest novel from bestselling author Gayle Forman.

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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.

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