Rachel Morello

Education Reporter

Rachel joined WUWM 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 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

Michelle Maternowski

The Milwaukee Public Schools system has been shrinking in terms of enrollment. Now, it could lose more buildings, too.

When a school closes, it goes on a list of vacant, or “surplus” properties.

Friday, the Common Council approved five interested entities who can buy those buildings. Not on the list: MPS.

Cory Savage (Savage Solutions LLC)

It’s not often that someone builds a brand new school in Milwaukee. But it’s going to happen soon on the south side. St. Augustine Preparatory Academy will open on 5th Avenue, west of Interstate 94,  in summer of 2017.

When Waukesha businessman Gus Ramirez looked at Milwaukee’s educational landscape, he saw a need for better schools.

“About half of the Milwaukee students in all sectors – public, charter and choice – are going to awful schools. Not just bad, but awful schools,” Ramirez reflects. “We’re one of the worst in the country.”

Rachel Morello

April is National Poetry Month, and one Milwaukee student is celebrating in the Big Apple.

Ten-year-old Pashia Bowens, a fourth grader at LaFollette School on Milwaukee’s north side, is one of fifteen students from across the country selected for America SCORES National Poetry Slam. She’ll travel to New York City this weekend to participate.

beautifulcataya, Flickr

Some UW students could find their tuition bill climbing this fall.

The UW Board of Regents approved tuition increases for certain students at their monthly meeting Friday.

Raises only apply to non-resident students and graduate students in specific programs at UW-La Cross, UW-Platteville, UW-Stout, UW-Whitewater and UW-Milwaukee. They’ll go into effect beginning this fall.  

Tuesday marks one week until Election Day in Milwaukee. The city boasts a number of what are expected to be tight races, not least among them the fight for County Executive.

Incumbent Chris Abele and his challenger, State Senator Chris Larson, have sparred over a slew of issues. One of the most contentious points is education – specifically, what role the county executive should play when it comes to helping turnaround struggling MPS schools.

Rachel Morello

Big changes are on the horizon for students and faculty at UW-Milwaukee. Budget strains mean the school must find ways to save money over the next few years.

UWM leadership announced a financial recovery plan at a public meeting on campus Monday. The “magic number” in this plan is three.

It’s a three-year plan, and UWM Chancellor Mark Mone has outlined three areas where the university will try to save money.

Rachel Morello

If anything has become clear during WUWM's week of coverage on innovation, it’s this: Milwaukee needs creative minds.

School can be the first place to open and shape those minds, yet with everything else classrooms aim to teach these days, where do creativity and innovation fall on the priority list?

When we think of the word “creativity,” things like music and art might come to mind. But the definition of “creativity” is much broader than craft. In today’s world, it’s about ideas.

Marquette University

Innovation can be a nebulous topic. People have their own definition of what innovation entails, and it sets each on their own path to fostering creativity.

The same holds true for local colleges and universities. In examining their own role in fostering innovation across the city, each school has its own mission.

Even so, if you talk to higher education leaders in Milwaukee, the word “innovation” almost always comes attached to another word: "collaboration."

Cooperation and partnership drive many of the initiatives on the city’s biggest campuses.

Photo Courtesy of Danceworks

In the 2005 documentary film “Mad Hot Ballroom,” viewers saw how the lives of New York City public school kids were impacted by dance.

Around that same time, dance was taking center stage in pop culture. Movies like “Step Up” and television shows like “Dancing With the Stars” scored big audiences – many of the viewers were kids.

Leaders on Milwaukee’s dance scene took notice, and decided it was time to open up the art form to kids who might not otherwise experience it.

Nick Fleisher/Twitter

Wisconsin's public university system will now operate under a new tenure policy. 

The University of Wisconsin system Board of Regents approved changes to tenure protections at its meeting Thursday morning. The overhauled policy will replace the state tenure law that Republican leaders scrapped in the most recent budget.

Rachel Morello

A new national education policy is taking shape.

It’s called the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA. As of December, it replaces No Child Left Behind as the nation’s cornerstone education law.

ESSA is a big deal. It’s a blueprint that lays out what states can and can’t do in terms of K-12 public education policy.

http://saragoldrickrab.com/

An outspoken UW-Madison professor says she's planning to leave the state system because of forthcoming changes to tenure.

Sara Goldrick-Rab, a vocal educational policy studies professor, announced Tuesday that she has accepted a position at Temple University in Philadelphia. She describes the school as "clearly committed to 21st century public university goals."

For one day, kids at Milwaukee College Prep's 36th Street campus aren't wearing their uniforms. Instead, they're decked out in suits and dresses for the first-ever Academy Awards of Excellence.

Office administrator Tanya Griffin plays paparazzi by snapping pictures of students, parents and teachers as they step in front of a gold backdrop.

"Who are you wearing?" Griffin asks parents as they make their way down the red carpet — plastic runners taped to the linoleum floor.

Michelle Maternowski

The 88th annual Academy Awards telecast airs Sunday, but this year's awards show has been criticized for its lack of diversity. A number of prominent black figures have called for a boycott of the event. Plenty of kids have taken notice too, including at a school on Milwaukee’s west side. So they decided to stage their own Oscars ceremony.

It's no uniforms on this day at Milwaukee College Prep’s 36th Street campus. Teachers, students and parents have come to school strutting their red-carpet best.

Rachel Morello

It’s no secret that student loan debt is a huge and mounting expense. In Wisconsin alone, the White House estimates residents owe more than $18 billion. And now, some of that debt has become multi-generational. 

Pages