Meet New 'Student' School Board Member

March 14, 2012 Updated Mar 14, 2012 at 11:31 PM EDT

By Kendra Eaglin

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March 14, 2012 Updated Mar 14, 2012 at 11:31 PM EDT

Buffalo, NY
(WKBW)

With all the major issues the school board is facing from hiring a permanent superintendent to figuring out how to increase attendance the decision to include a student voice on the board was a logical step.

Stephon Wright a senior at Emerson High School is the youngest member of the Buffalo School Board. He was sworn in as the district's first student representative but the ceremony conducted by City Council Member Darius Pridgen couldn't get started without a very important person....

Stephon's mother as he called her up from the audience before the ceremony started.

"I'm an actual board member now," said Stephon proudly.

"Stephon actually stepped up, represented himself as a leader, brought a leadership following behind him and it was clear he was a candidate that the board wanted," explained Interim Superintendent Amber Dixon.

Stephon says his new appointment has already had a big impact on fellow students, "People who are failing are passing, people who weren't working before are now working and I'm starting to see more students stand up and come up into reality and stand up and say if Stephon can do it so can I."

Even though stephon doesn't have voting power he's going to focus on improving drop out rates, student performance and attendance.

Attendance has been a sore subject for the district after the Buffalo Teachers Federation refused to comply with state requirements to include grades of frequently absent students in teacher evaluations..

If the teachers fail to reach an agreement on the state evaluation system it could cost the district millions in funding.

"We're looking at the current evaluation that the state had no objection to but we're looking for a place in there were we can acknowledge that some students are there all the time and some student aren't and see if we can make a fair document," said Dixon.

Dixon hopes to have a new document to present to the teachers union by the end of this week or next week.