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Associate Members: Cedar Falls College Community Fort Dodge Linn-Mar Marshalltown
Mason City Muscatine Ottumwa SE Polk  
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A Few Facts

Together the 8 largest districts in Iowa’s urban communities with 2 or more high schools and 9 Associate Member districts of the UEN:

  • Enroll 33.4% of Iowa's 483,451 PK-12 students
  • Enroll 59.7% of Iowa's PK-12 students of color, including 74.6% of African American students and 53.4% of Iowa’s PK-12 Hispanic Students
  • Enroll 60.5% of Iowa's limited English speaking students
  • Serve 44.3% of Iowa's K-12 low-income students (UEN enrollment of Free and Reduced Lunch eligible students is 54.9% of total UEN enrollment compared to the statewide average of 41%.)
  • Employ 30.7% of Iowa's PK-12 certified staff
  • Employ 25.0% of Iowa’s school principals with an average contract length of 8 days more than the state average contract length.
  • Establish and assertively support an annual legislative agenda
  • Provide testimony regarding administrative rules development and other executive branch actions impacting urban education.
  • Provide job-alike networking and professional development free to member districts
  • Offer highly comprehensive and quality curriculum options to all students
  • Share best practices and learn together regarding finance, educational
    program, special education, equity, human resources, communications and
    school services such as health services and food and nutrition through
    regular job-alike professional development and networking at no cost to
    member districts
  • Contract with many other school districts to deliver education classes to students (i.e., special education, talented and gifted, career and technical education, etc.)
  • Address the challenge of changing demographics on a daily basis
  • In collaboration with the University of Northern Iowa, endorses and
    supports a university leadership development program that prepares leaders
    to serve in the state’s larger schools
  • Actively participate with local, regional and statewide organizations addressing the education agenda in Iowa
  • Conduct ongoing practical research seeking answers to many challenges facing the students, staff and parents in Iowa's urban centers
  • Identify and address major educational challenges, i.e. student achievement, teacher and administrator leadership, dropout prevention, career and technical as well as science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs, facilities, finance, technology, early literacy and early childhood

The UEN continues to grow and become more effective. Strong leadership, continuing support of the membership and focused program priorities are moving the UEN toward a broader and even more viable presence. Member district involvement and leadership of school board members and superintendents is fundamental to the life and success of the Network. The concept of the UEN is unique and is based upon the interaction and support systems of our eight founding member districts, collaborating with other urban schools as our affiliate members. Together, we address many challenges, unite to resolve common concerns and grow to become even more effective in serving all our students and communities.


  • A total population of 1,127,343 out of 3,074,970 Iowans, or 36.6% of the total state population.
  • A total of 611,097 working Iowans of 1,653,714, or 37.0% of Iowa’s labor force.
  • Well over one third of Iowa's PK-12 students (161,243 children and youth).
  • 293 school attendance centers, or 21.0% of state total K-12 attendance centers, including:
    1. 32 High Schools
    2. 48 Jr. High/Middle Schools
    3. 203 Elementary Schools
    4. 4 Special Education Schools
    5. 6 Alternative Schools
  • Additional specialized schools not included in the above, including:
    1. 1 Charter School
    2. 10 Early Childhood Centers
    3. 4 Others


  • Population density
  • Cultural, social and economic diversity
  • Broad ethnic representation
  • Extensive transportation systems
  • Two or more comprehensive high schools and/or 10,000 or more students
  • 4,000 or more students or districts with 3,000 students combined with 40% or more of the student population identified as free/reduced price lunch eligible students for associate membership

Member Districts:

Council Bluffs
Iowa City
Sioux City
Cedar Rapids
Des Moines Independent

Associate Member

Fort Dodge
Mason City
Cedar Falls
Southeast Polk

Updated September 2016 with most recent statewide data available.

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