Skip To Main Content

About Our School

The oldest continually occupied School Site, what is now Cottonwood Elementary, (or parts of the Cottonwood / District Stadium Site) began in 1882. Since then the site has been an Elementary, Middle, and High School.  This building (minus several renovations) is the original Andover High School from the 1950’s.  The gym is the oldest part of the Andover School District.  In 1978, AHS was built in its current location and this building became AMS, where it stayed until 1996.  From 1997 to 1999, the building served as an intermediate center for all 4th and 5th grade students in the district.  Cottonwood was established in the year 2000 because Andover patrons in 1998 believed in small neighborhood schools and creating opportunities for more students.  In August of 2000, teachers and staff came together from Martin North, Martin South and the Intermediate School to form a new team of dedicated educators at Cottonwood Elementary.  About 270 students attended Cottonwood in that first year. 

Now in 2023, we are home to about 430 students in grades Kindergarten to Fifth and 90 staff members.   Our staff population has remained consistent, ranging from 25 to 35 certified staff members and 15 to 50 support staff.    Our socio-economic percentages have ranged from 18 to 33% free/reduced lunch.  Our ethnicity percentages are 90 to 95% Caucasian.  We have about 25% of our population who receive Special Education services.  We continue to be dedicated to serving students and their families and working together to accomplish our mission.

Cottonwood’s mission statement reads: We will work together at Cottonwood Elementary to be responsible, respectful, and resourceful life-long learners. We will do what is right. This mission guides our daily work and shapes our long-term goals. Our staff is willing to adapt, learn and make changes to meet the needs of our students. Programs have been added over the years to facilitate that mission and to help kids become more responsible and respectful. An example includes the Second Step curriculum, which encourages positive friendships and builds problem-solving skills. We know not every child comes to school ready to learn, so we provide support to help them adjust. We know relationships before rigor isn’t just a phrase, but a good way to start each day. 

To continue building relationships and adding to our resourceful learners theme, we started Explorations time. Every student chooses between a host of activities taught and run by CES staff. Because of the number of opportunities, our students are able to work in small groups of 10-12 students of mixed ages. From origami, Irish dance, trick shots and magic to a walking club and yoga, students are able to start the day with an engaging activity: one that they have voice and choice. Explorations began in 2019 as part of our school redesign, and the activities help students find their passion and work with learners and educators they don’t typically see. We also have an all-school assembly on Friday mornings called Rise and Shine,  that allows us to build connections. During that time, we celebrate birthdays and student successes. It reinforces the family environment and connections at CES.

Our school continues to be a place of opportunities for students, engaged learning that inspires students, and a committed staff whose positivity and love for their work is clearly evident. We are dedicated to helping each child grow through a thoughtful use of resources, a commitment to respect, and a push towards responsibility for self and others. We know life-long learners are grown, with deep roots and strong branches.