Emily Files

Education Reporter

Emily became WUWM’s Education Reporter in August 2018 after spending four years in small-town Alaska.

She began as a reporter for KRBD in Ketchikan, where she once covered a bear interrupting a high school cross country race. She then worked as a reporter and eventually news director at KHNS Radio in Haines, where she reported on a man in a bear costume harassing actual bears. Aside from the occasional bear story, Emily covered the local politics, tribal issues, hunting, fishing and, of course, education.

Emily is originally from the Chicago area. She studied journalism at Emerson College in Boston, where she reported her very first radio stories for college station WERS. She interned at NPR’s Weekend Edition, The Boston Globe and PRI’s The World. Emily’s work has aired on NPR's Morning Edition, Marketplace, NPR’s Only a Game, and The World.

Ways to Connect

COURTESY NAOSHI JOHNSON, JEREMIAH BAEZ AND MOO KO WAH

Back in April, WUWM talked with three Milwaukee high school seniors about how their college plans were made more uncertain by the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that the new school year is underway, we checked in with them to see how their plans panned out.

Emily Files / WUWM

Updated 4:17 p.m. CT

The coronavirus pandemic has taken a significant toll on school enrollment in Wisconsin – especially in the youngest grades.

Public schools lost about 25,000 students, or a 3% enrollment decline. That’s compared to roughly 0.5% declines the past two years. The biggest drop is in 4-year-old kindergarten. 4K numbers fell by about 16% this fall. Regular kindergarten enrollment fell by about 5%.

Chuck Quirmbach

Updated at 4:38 p.m. CT

The mother and sisters of a Black teen who was killed by a suburban Milwaukee police officer were arrested by officers who were cracking down on protesters out after a curfew following a decision not to charge the officer.

Alvin Cole's mother, Tracy Cole, and his sisters Taleavia and Tristiana Cole were arrested Thursday night, their attorney Kimberley Motley said Friday. Motley said Tracy Cole was injured during the arrest.

Emily Files / WUWM

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was in Waukesha Thursday to talk with families who are unhappy with virtual learning and have switched their children to different schools during the coronavirus pandemic.

School choice – or providing alternatives to traditional public schools – is a central part of DeVos’ platform. At the Waukesha roundtable event, DeVos said the pandemic has made the case for school choice even stronger.

Win McNamee / Getty Images

Updated at 2:07 p.m. CT

Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden still holds a modest advantage over Republican incumbent Donald Trump among Wisconsinites, according to the latest Marquette Law School Poll.

Biden was supported by 46% of likely voters, compared to 41% for Trump. This latest poll has a margin of error of 4.2%.

Emily Files / WUWM

This fall, students’ college decision-making process will look different. Some colleges are still doing in-person tours, but the coronavirus has shut down most face-to-face events.

Last weekend, Cardinal Stritch University found a way to bring back the in-person connection many high school seniors are looking for as they sort through college options: a drive-thru college fair. 

Around 10 a.m. Saturday morning, cars were turning off Port Washington Road onto the main drive surrounding the Cardinal Stritch campus in Glendale.

Emily Files / WUWM

COVID-19 cases, along with hospitalizations and deaths, have reached a high point in Wisconsin. State leaders are calling it a crisis.

In response, teachers’ unions from the state’s largest districts renewed their demand Wednesday that Gov. Tony Evers and Health Secretary Designee Andrea Palm mandate distance learning for all schools. And some schools are reconsidering their initial plans.

Emily Files / WUWM

Many children in the Milwaukee area have started the school year with remote learning. But not all parents have the ability to stay home and supervise.

So, some child care programs are adapting to facilitate virtual learning. One of them is the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee, which has been running child care programs throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

>>School Year Starts Virtually For All MPS Students

Courtesy of Ava Rheeve

Back in July, school districts were in the throes of deciding how to safely reopen during a pandemic. The Cedarburg School District was initially not going to require mask-wearing in its buildings. But two high school students put up a fight. 

STEVE SHUPE / Creative Commons / Flickr

Updated 9:20 p.m.

UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank announced Wednesday evening that due to increasing COVID-19 cases among students, the university would shift to remote instruction for two weeks.

Students in two residence halls, Sellery and Witte, will also be quarantined for two weeks and tested for the virus. Blank said, this is because a rising number of positive COVID tests are now occurring in the on-campus population.

Steve Shupe / Creative Commons / Flickr

Whether college campuses can stay open safely during this pandemic is becoming more uncertain as the fall semester gets underway.

On Monday, UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank sent an urgent directive to undergrad students: limit your social activity for the next 14 days or risk campus shutting down.

Michael A. McCoy / Getty Images

Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris will travel to Milwaukee on Labor Day, the Biden-Harris campaign announced Friday. 

According to a Sunday press release from the campaign, Harris will visit an International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers training facility and talk with IBEW members and Wisconsin labor leaders "about Joe Biden's commitment to workers and organized labor."

Scott Olson / Getty Images

The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin announced Thursday that two Missouri men who were arrested Sept. 1 in Pleasant Prairie have been charged with illegal possession of firearms.

Emily Files / WUWM

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, K-12 schools in Wisconsin are making a variety of decisions about how to reopen.

Most Milwaukee schools are starting the year virtually. But some suburban districts and private schools are bringing students back in person, with a host of precautions.

>>School Year Starts Virtually For All MPS Students

Emily Files / WUWM

All Milwaukee Public School students are back in school this week – virtually. Tuesday was the first day for traditional start schools, which includes most elementary students. High schools and middle schools, most of which are on the district's early-start calendar, started on Aug. 17.

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