Mission & Philosophy


Cotter Schools is a private, independent, coeducational school in Winona, Minnesota that has been guided by Catholic beliefs and values since 1911.

As an international learning community, serving grades 7-12, we hold our students to the highest academic standards and challenge each of them to develop their full potential academically, physically, spiritually and socially.

We believe in the intrinsic goodness of all persons, and strive to model the values of faith, service, and community as we encourage and support our students to become more than they can imagine.

Philosophy of Schools

Cotter Schools - where standards, values, and YOU matter! At Cotter, we believe that each human person is of inestimable value and that God's purpose for the world is most fully accomplished when each person achieves their full potential. From this basic belief, the Cotter community values four core elements: FAITH - ACHIEVEMENT - CHARACTER - COMMUNITY.

FAITH - we strive to be a spiritually vibrant Catholic community who worships, learns, and reaches out in service together. Confident in our own faith, we embrace people of diverse faith perspectives and beliefs. All are welcome - and all are expected to respect differences and to learn to see the gift in each other.

ACHIEVEMENT - we seek to provide an interdisciplinary, liberal arts education integrating the arts, the humanities, and the sciences so that our students have all the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in the twenty-first century. 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.

CHARACTER - we believe that the activities we offer - in and out of the classroom - encourage students to become whole persons and teach them the value and rewards of commitment and effort. Our activities are designed to help students learn what it takes to succeed in life by setting goals, personally as well as collectively, and to allow each student to reach her or his individual level of excellence. Service opportunities encourage students to know and understand the value and necessity of giving to others in compassionate service.

COMMUNITY - we are a faith-based learning community dedicated to teaching and living the values of the Christian Gospel. Through opportunity and example, we strive to create in our students a strong sense of family and community where they recognize that they are a part of something much larger than themselves.

At Cotter, standards and values - and YOU - do matter!

Cotter Crest

The triangular shield represents the moral strength and integrity that characterizes Cotter students. The Chi-Ro (Greek "P" and "X") represent the name of Christ. The lamp is a traditional symbol for the light of knowledge radiating the flame of truth.

The Latin motto, "Veritatem Vereantur" can be translated to mean "Let them respect the truth." The inspiration for this motto comes from Pope Pius XII's letter on the "Apostolate of the Laity," in which he stated that the primary objective of all Catholic education should be "giving young minds a respect for truth and guiding them along independent lines of thought, indispensable to their intellectual maturity."

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