At Cotter Schools, we provide a world-class education where character, personal development, and academic achievement inspire a world of possibilities. Taking guidance from our faith-based backgrounds, our teaching engages all students while maintaining a high level of academia. We are committed to serving, preparing, and connecting with students and families entrusted to our care. Our faculty and staff are passionate about providing a safe, supportive school that challenges and nurtures students to become productive citizens in an ever-changing world. We seek to provide an interdisciplinary, liberal arts education integrating arts, humanities, and sciences so that our students have all the knowledge and skills they need. We foster an open atmosphere conducive to the acquisition of the skills of critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity. In addition, we provide opportunities for students to develop a capacity for belief in God and an appreciation of cultural and religious diversity.

June 2017 Parent Letter from Vice Principals

June 2017

Dear Cotter Families,

We hope the summer is off to a good start for you and your families. We are writing to introduce you to new faculty members for the upcoming school year and to inform you of some specific policy changes in the areas of attendance, participation in co-curricular activities, course selection, service requirements, and dress code.

We are thrilled to welcome four new teachers to our Cotter faculty. Mr. Eric Paulsen will be teaching junior high social studies and high school science. Mr. Michael Johnson will be joining us as a Social Studies teacher in the junior high and high school. Dr. Ken Suman and Mr. Gary Shields, both Winona State University faculty members, will join us as adjunct teachers for the upper level math and science courses, respectively. We are excited to have them join us and share their knowledge and experience with our students.

In an effort to address numerous concerns that we have heard from parents, students, and teachers during the past year, we have adjusted several policies. Our goal is to create a positive learning environment for all students, where each student is challenged to reach his or her full potential academically, physically, spiritually and socially. The following policies have been amended to eliminate obstacles that prevent students from learning and increase consistency in enforcement.

We have appreciated your input and feedback throughout this past year. Please know that it was valuable to us and we used it in making the attached changes, which we believe will lead to a better academic environment. In arriving at the dress code, we kept affordability, availability, clarity and simplicity in mind. We trust that you will understand that all changes have been made in the best interest of the students and their learning. Please consult the Academics page on the Cotter Schools website for examples of the dress code and additional information.

We hope you enjoy the rest of your summer.


Mary Eileen Fitch and Dave Forney, Vice-Principals, Cotter Schools

Dress Code Policy

VALUES: As a learning community, Cotter students and faculty have as their primary focus the academic growth of the student. Distractions such as dress, behavior, and class interruptions are to be minimized. A clear, consistently enforced dress code ensures that the focus remains on academics for all involved.

Students are to be neat, clean, modest, and respectful in their attire, reflecting a positive self-image. Hair is to be well groomed, no facial hair allowed, and no other visible body piercings (other than earrings) or tattoos are permitted.

Dress Code Tops for All Students:

  • Short or long sleeve solid white, royal blue or navy blue polo or oxford shirt
  • Any logo must be 4’’x 4’’ or smaller
  • Solid white or navy blue crew neck, quarter-zip, v-neck or cardigan sweater or sweatshirt may be worn over the shirt.

Dress Code Pants and Shorts for All Students:

  • Khaki, navy or black casual dress pants (chinos, Dockers, etc.)
  • Khaki, navy or black casual dress shorts (knee length or slightly above)

Dress Code Skirts and Skorts for Females:

  • Khaki, navy or black skirt or skort (knee length or slightly above)
  • White, navy or black leggings or tights may be worn under skirts or skorts.


  • Shoes, sandals, or boots must be worn at all times. Sandals must have a back strap.

Spirit Day Dress on Fridays:

  • Students will be allowed to wear Cotter Sports and Activities apparel tops or sweatshirts with dress code pants, shorts, skirts or skorts.

Dress-Up Days on Mass Days:

  • All-school mass days will be designated as dress-up days. Students can choose to wear dress code clothing or other clothing appropriate for worship (dresses, skirts, dress shirts, ties, etc.) Students must be neat, clean and modest in their appearance. Low-cut necklines, open backs, spaghetti straps, or bare shoulders are not permitted.

Students may not wear jeans, sweatpants, leggings, jeggings, yoga pants, athletics shorts or pants, flannel pants, other form-fitting pants, spandex shorts, hoodies, jackets, backless shoes, slippers, or any apparel with holes or rips.

Dress code clothing may be purchased from any store. Please consult the Academics Page on the Cotter Schools website for examples of the dress code and additional information.

Consequences for Dress Code Violations:

  • First Offense - Verbal warning and white card. Students may be asked to change clothing.
  • Second Offense - Detention. Students may be asked to change clothing.
  • Third Offense - Detention and meeting with Administration. Students may be asked to change clothing.
  • Fourth Offense - Saturday detention and fee of $20.00. Students may be asked to change clothing.
  • Five or more - Meeting with Student, Parents and Administration to address behavior and develop plan. Students may be asked to change clothing.

Dress Code Example Images

Attendance Policies

The paragraphs below are taken from the 2017-2018 Student Handbook:


VALUE: Daily participation in each class is vital for academic success. Absence from any class can be detrimental to learning and create adverse effects on academic standing and grades for the courses. Absence from daily class activity is a barrier to learning.


Parents are expected to call the Main Office at 453-5001 before 9:00 am the day that a student is absent. Students are responsible for contacting their teachers and completing make-up in a timely manner.

For shared-time classes at Winona Senior High School, students are accountable for attendance and compliance with class regulations at Winona Senior High School. Only explicit, written permission from the office exempts students from shared-time classes for Cotter activities.

Excessive absences from school

Any time a student is not present at school is considered an absence. The total number of absences includes excused and unexcused absences. Therefore, any student absent from a class period four (4) or more days during a semester will receive a letter that must be signed by the student and parent and returned to the Main Office in recognition of stated absences. Seven (7) or more absences from a class per semester will result in a meeting with the student, parents and administration to review the student's academic standing and discuss means for remediation. Ten (10) absent class periods and the student, parents and administration will meet for a second time to discuss alternative academic plans. A student with more than ten (10) absences in a class during the semester will not receive credit for that class. All excused or unexcused absences, regardless of reason, count toward these totals.

Absences due to attending a school event or field trip do not count toward these totals. However, they will likely result in diminished learning in the other classes and potential loss of credit for in-class work they will be missing.

Long-term absence (major illness, surgery or hospitalization)

If a student is expected to be absent for more than 10 days for medical reasons, parents must contact the Principal and the Counseling Office for the procedure to obtain District 861 Homebound Instruction. This will be done with the understanding that major physical or emotional illness takes precedence over academic affairs. In some cases Cotter Schools may provide an alternative academic plan for students that may include withdrawing the student from some classes. Student participation in co-curricular activities would be limited or not allowed.

The school requires documentation from a qualified professional for all long-term absences. This information should include dates the doctor was seen, as well as the medical opinion supporting restrictions from participating in or attending school.

Foreseen absence and vacation

Parents are strongly urged not to schedule appointments or family vacations that conflict with the schedule of regular school days. If a student has a foreseen absence, he/she is asked to present a note to this effect, signed by his/her parents to the Principal. The student will be given a “Foreseen Absence Form” to be signed by his/her teachers and returned to the Main Office. It is requested that this be done at least two (2) days prior to the foreseen absence. It is the student’s responsibility, prior to leaving, to make arrangements with the teacher to complete work. Teachers may ask the student to turn in his/her work before leaving.

Unexcused absence

An unexcused absence is a "skipped" class which will result in Saturday detention and a fee of $20.00. Teacher discretion will be used to determine whether a student receives credit for assigned work missed due to unexcused absences. The main office will assign the student to a Saturday detention.


A student arriving to class unexcused (without a pass) after the bell rings is late and will receive a white card. Three (3) unexcused tardies to a class or study hall per semester results in a detention. Any subsequent tardy will result in additional detentions being assigned. After the 5th tardy to class, additional consequences may be assigned. This will be enforced on a semester basis.

College visitation

These are foreseen absence days; therefore, the same procedure noted above is to be followed.

Parents out of town

When parents or guardians expect to be out of town, they should notify the school where they may be reached in case of emergency. It is also recommended that parents leave a name and phone number of a local party that the school might contact in case of emergency.

Participation in Co-Curricular Activities Policy


VALUE: Co-curricular activities are a significant part of the overall school experience for students. For the sake of the students and their team, students need to be at their best. Absence from school during the day directly affects after school performance.

In order to be eligible to participate in any co-curricular game, meet, performance, or school sponsored event, students must be in school the entire day. Students who are absent for any portion of a school day may not participate in any performance event. Exceptions to the rule are granted on an individual basis for such events as funerals or family emergencies. In the event that a student has a medical appointment during the day, a signed note must be presented to the Main Office and an early dismissal pass must be obtained before the school day begins. If the medical appointment is at the beginning of the school day, the student must inform the office the day before and present a signed doctor’s note upon arriving at school after the appointment. If a student does not present a note from the medical professional, that student will forfeit participation in the next scheduled activity.

Course Schedule Changes Policy

VALUES: Student choice and participation in course selection enhances engagement and learning. Course selections and resulting enrollment directly impact faculty hiring. Arbitrary changes after enrollment are difficult to administer.

After students make their course selections and schedules have been processed, changing classes is very difficult. Prior thought and planning on the part of students and parents are necessary as this information determines what classes are offered and staffed.

Students will receive their schedule for the upcoming school year by mid-July. Students have until August 1st to make any course selection changes. After that time, any course changes will be determined by the administration and driven primarily by the student’s ability; meaning that if the student is able to perform in the course, the student should remain in the course he/she initially requested.

Service Requirement Policy

VALUES: As a Catholic Christian community, Cotter Schools values growth in service to others. Opportunities for experiencing alternate life situations through service can be meaningful and life-changing. All students are required to participate in service learning opportunities.

All Cotter students are expected to complete ten (10) hours of community service (with at least two (2) distinct service experiences) per semester for a minimum of 20 hours and four (4) service experiences for the year. Participation on a CCMP trip can count for the hours and experiences for one (1) semester. Service opportunities not offered through Cotter should be approved ahead of time by the Service Coordinator/Campus Minister. All hours are to be submitted to the Service Coordinator/Campus Minister. Students not completing the service requirement for both semesters will not be allowed to register for the following school year until service hours are completed.

powered by finalsite