contentsWinona MN Chamberads



Established in 1861, Winona Area Public Schools (WAPS) has been serving the learners of the City of Winona and its surrounding small towns for more than 150 years. Started as a district for the City of Winona, the school’s board of directors were representatives of prosperous and booming Winona businesses. By 1967, the city and county schools were consolidated. Business leaders continue to be strong partners in school governance and support. Throughout our history, the Winona Area Chamber of Commerce has been instrumental in garnering support for contract settlements and referendums and in establishing business-education partnerships that give real-life application to education. Since its inception, WAPS has been linked to its business community and the residents of the district and is a proud Winona Area Chamber of Commerce member. Working in concert, it is understood that quality education is a community commitment.

The Winona Area Public Schools education system serves a continuum of learners, from our quality, comprehensive, compulsory education for students in preschool through grade 12 to educational, social and recreational learning opportunities for adults.


The district is made up of five elementary schools serving students in grades K-4. New in 2011 is the STEM choice program housed in one of our elementary schools. Winona Middle School serves students in grades 5-8 and our flagship, Winona Senior High School, provides strong education and enrichments for students in grades 9-12. The Winona Area Learning Center is an alternative learning facility for 6th-12th grade students in need of a non-traditional approach to education.

Through its Community Education programs, district residents have an opportunity to participate in adult literacy coursework and GED preparation, after-school and enrichment programs, preschool classes and an early childhood family education program that boasts the 2011 MN Teacher of the Year. Over 8,000 district residents participate in Community Education offerings annually.

An effort is underway to unite the district with early education programming providers in our area to create a PreK-Grade 3 effort that will provide a transition to school that better assures student success. This is just one more example of how Winona Area Public Schools works with the Chamber members of our area to make great things happen here.

There is no doubt that our relationship as mutual stewards of the community good will continue long into the future.

Cotter Schools: Celebrating 100 Years

Cotter Schools: Celebrating 100 Years

Cotter History
With the 2011-2012 school year, Cotter proudly celebrates its Centennial year. The school opened its doors on September 5, 1911, and was named for the diocese’s first bishop, Bishop Joseph Cotter. Beginning as a boys’ school directed by the Christian Brothers, the operation of the school was turned over to the diocese of Winona in 1952. At this time, Cotter became co-educational, combining with Cathedral Girls High School. In 1953, a new Cotter building was erected, and in 1992, with help from an endowment from the Hiawatha Education Foundation, the school moved to its current location on the former campus of the College of St. Teresa. Through its many changes in the past 100 years, Cotter has never wavered in its mission to spread the “good news” and to uphold the finest traditions in Catholic education.


We Are Cotter – A Community of Faith
We are proud of our Catholic heritage. Our faith-based learning environment provides a solid ethical foundation essential to the development of character and leadership in life. Cotter offers the freedom to express faith, explore spirituality and nurture a sense of hope and purpose. Classes begin with prayer in the belief that faith is important as students learn to care about one another and the world. As a Catholic community, we focus on opening doors in the minds and hearts of students and instilling in them the knowledge of self-worth and spirituality necessary for their success.

We Are Cotter – A Community of Learners
Cotter’s classrooms are collaborative, energized and inspiring. Students are engaged in serious discovery. From our Learning Center program for students who may need extra academic support to our Advanced Placement and honors programs, teachers are focused on the learning needs of all Cotter students.

At Cotter, the pursuit of higher education is rewarded. The investment made in a Cotter education reaps a unique benefit. Because of the forward thinking and generosity of the Hiawatha Education Foundation, each graduating senior is offered a renewable, four-year scholarship to help pursue their post-secondary educational endeavors. Since 1992, nearly $7 million has been disbursed.

We Are Cotter – A Well-Rounded Community
Cotter’s students are encouraged to broaden their life beyond the classroom experience through participation in co-curricular activities that nurture their athletic, artistic, competitive or expressive self. At Cotter, we firmly believe that participation in activities outside of the classroom encourages relationship building and allows us the opportunity to teach students the values and rewards of teamwork, commitment and effort.

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