Utah Charter Network (UCN) is a Utah Not-for-profit corporation. For over 20 years now, UCN’s experts* have provided relevant solutions to significant problems in Utah’s public charter schools, and, on Utah’s Capitol Hill. Institutional knowledge and consistency are some of the hallmarks of a respected and influential organization. UCN is a trusted and respected organization. We serve all of Utah’s charter schools.There is strength in numbers. A vital organization with participants who are willing to give input, help each other solve problems, and band together to create legislative consensus is critical to charters success now and into the future. UCN uses the latest technologies and online messaging services to keep schools informed and to enhance dialogue among charter schools and relevant parties. Effective, efficient technologies help UCN narrow gaps in communication statewide.* Several UCN Board members and Executive Director, Kim Frank, were original founders of the Utah Association of Public Charter Schools (UAPCS) in 2004. Before that, Kim Frank was active on Utah’s Capitol Hill citizen lobbying for district and charter school equity. Kim is the mother of four children, each of whom attended charters in Utah.
Academic mediocrity runs contrary to everything for which charters stand. Prosperity is paramount to the well-being and strength of Utah’s charters and our statewide education system as a whole. Intellectual stimulation and growth are requisite for competition, economy, and culture.The principal statutory mandate associated with the creation and continuation of charter schools in Utah, requires constant gains and anticipates prosperity in…IMPROVING student learningENCOURAGING innovationCREATING new professional opportunities for teachersINCREASING choice for student learningCREATING new models for education and accountability measuresGREATER parental involvement opportunitiesEXPANDING public school choiceWe cannot expect others to respect our cries for recognition without providing ample evidence that charters, and the charter school movement, are excelling in all areas of the education system. We are the leaders. We need to lead. And, in many areas we are; however, there is room for improvement.Utah Charter Network provides its member schools opportunities to collaborate with their peers frequently within organized (yet friendly) environments. It’s about teamwork. “All ships rise” when we share best-practices and high-quality education delivery methods with each other!A significant portion of UCN’s mission is centered on initiating and promoting elements of prosperity in individual charter schools, and the over 100 charter schools statewide.
“Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of intelligent effort.” -John Ruskin Quality requires effort. UCN’s Board of Directors believes in the essence of that statement. To keep charter school relevant and vibrant, charter school quality, and the quality of educating and administering, must be set to the highest standard. Consistent with this philosophy, UCN devotes a significant amount of its operational time and budget, providing sensible resources, high-quality professional development, as well as valuable board training/development opportunities.RESOURCES. UCN provides a network of consulting experts and professionals in various charter school related fields. Some of these areas of expertise include: legal, accounting, management, curriculum, facilities planning, financial planning, benefits administration, and healthcare planning. UCN’s Board of Advisors is a group of individuals dedicated to providing charter leaders with the best information available to keep your school up-to-date and compliant.The UCN Website (utahcharternetwork.com) has a vast selection of important resources for charter school students, parents, staff, administrators, and governing boards. Current news and information is provided on an on-going basis. Current events are easily accessible on dozens of usable pages. Legislative links and updated information regarding Utah’s Capitol Hill and national issues are at your fingertips. Summary reports/commentary on state statute and administrative rule are distributed statewide to Directors and Boards via our online newsletter (Charter Chatter).Also, helpful resources produced by current UCN advisors include the production of statewide manuals. The charter school manuals project was a state-funded dissemination grant targeting the questions and intricacies of the Planning Year and the Start-up Year for Utah’s charter schools. UCN board members Jake Hunt, Craig Frank, and (ED) Kim Frank, authored and compiled nearly 1600 pages of useful, searchable information/data for the benefit and success of governing boards across the state.PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT. Professional development is one of UCN’s primary focuses. ANNUAL SYMPOSIUMS. Thematic symposiums have provided thousands of teachers and administrators opportunities to be exposed to the latest resources and techniques in education development and delivery. State and national education experts travel to these conferences to share their wealth of experience with Utah’s educators. These events have been easily accessible, low-cost, and fun! Ask, anyone who’s attended…they’ll be back next year. REGIONAL SYMPOSIUMS & TRAINING UCN provides regional training and PD events in northern, central, and southern Utah. Watch for announcements regarding these convenient events. SPECIALTY TRAINING We provide specialty training and seminars in a number of relevant areas for charter schools.BOARD TRAINING. UCN Board members provide high-level consulting and training to UCN member boards throughout the state. Craig Frank, UCN Board Member and Former Member of the Utah House of Representatives (2003-2010, 2012; Member of the House Education Standing Committee, and, Chair of House Committee on Government Operations), and Author/Compiler of the statewide charter school manuals for public charter schools, is a recognized expert in board/committee protocol and efficiency. Craig was designated the House Parliamentarian in 2010 by Speaker Rebecca Lockhart. His knowledge and experience related to parliamentary procedure places him in a unique position to coach and teach boards thoughtful procedure to enhance board efficiency and fairness.
Advocacy is more than just lobbying. Advocacy is building and maintaining relationships and access. The public, and public entities, are entitled to receive competent representation during the lawmaking process. Legislative procedure can be complicated and coarse. At times, members of Utah’s citizen legislature, well intended, don’t have all the information they need to make good, wise, and honest decisions. Without professional advocates educating policymakers on the intricacies of certain policies and budget items, bad decisions with unintended consequences may occur. Also, advocates provide “checks and balances” on other competing organizations with varying interests. Advocacy is about legitimacy, transparency, and respect.