Minnneapolis Board of Education welcomes first-ever student member

On Tuesday, the Minneapolis Board of Education welcomed its first-ever student representative to join the school board.  Noah Branch is a sophomore at Patrick Henry High School, a member of the school's student council, and a resident of north Minneapolis.

Branch was chosen after a month-long application process open to sophomores and juniors involved in the MPS City Wide Student Government program. Students were evaluated based on their leadership skills, ability to set and follow through on goals, public speaking ability, dedication to public education and other relevant experience.

"We are very excited to welcome Noah to the board," Jenny Arneson, chair of the Board of Education, said. "I am confident that he will bring diverse student perspectives to our conversations so we can better serve our youngest constituency."

Branch will serve as a non-voting member on the board – his role is to provide student views and suggestions for the development of educational policies and programs. MPS said he will attend monthly school board meetings with the primary goal of giving input on issues that affect all students.

"Serving on the Minneapolis Board of Education offers my school, student council and me an opportunity to engage with other stakeholders to identify issues and find solutions," Branch said. "I hope to make the best of it by addressing issues of gender, race and socioeconomic inequities within Minneapolis Public Schools."

Branch's term ends Dec. 31, 2015, where he will be presented with a $5,000 college scholarship.