Dorm Guidelines

Here you will find a typical daily schedule of life in the Cotter Residence Center.


The typical school day for a dormitory student will provide for spiritual, physical, and mental growth. The daily schedule is as follows:

7:00AM - 8:30AM Breakfast

8:45AM - 3:20PM School Day

3:20PM - 5:45PM After school study time, athletics, activities, and free time.

5:30PM - 6:30PM Dinner

7:00PM - 8:30PM Open Gym & Cotter Fitness Center

8:30PM - 10:00PM Quiet Hours on Floors for Study Time

8:30PM Gaming capability turned off

10:00PM Curfew for all on school nights (Sunday - Thursday or school nights)

11:00PM Lights Out & Internet Capability Off (Sunday - Thursday or school nights)

Clean room checks are done once a week on Tuesdays or Wednesdays. The expectation is clothes are in the closet or dressers and garbage/recycling has all been taken out to garbage and recycling bins provided on each floor.

The third Wednesday of the month is our required floor meetings at 9:30PM held in floor lounges.


We have a structure within our boarding program called “dorm families.” It is one thing to go off to college and live independently within a dormitory setting, but it is an entirely different decision to leave your family at 14, 15, 16, and 17 years of age to go live in a dormitory. It can be very overwhelming and we take great care in the decisions we make involving all students in our program and making sure they are supported as a whole child, not just as a student in the classroom.

Dorm families are based off of interests and can be changed at semester if a student would like to change their focus of interest. Example of how a family focused on outdoor activities or food may function…

  • October - Trip to Apple Orchard
  • November - Hike through local state park
  • December - Ski/Snowshoe
  • January - Snowman Contest
  • February - Sledding & hot chocolate
  • March - Walk around Winona lakes
  • April - Boat ride & camping
  • May - Picnic & kickball

Each month two family members decide on a new type of cuisine/food to cook. Maybe each month is a different country, some that aren’t even represented at our school. Potentially invite others into their dinners such as school staff or local students.

Families become a place where the students can safely explore new ideas, are challenged in thinking, learn new tools in community living, and have a consistent small group meeting taking place to stay connected and engaged. Groups are a mix of ages, backgrounds, and personalities just as any family would be. Families meet once a month for their activity, dinner, or gathering and each one is challenged to do a service project as a group. Gatherings are not optional and students are expected to be at all events unless otherwise communicated and excused by their staff leader. It is important students understand they truly do matter, it does matter if they show up, and we notice if they aren’t there. Each has a unique set of skills and qualities they bring to the family, without them, the family is not complete.