About DCMS

D-C Middle School Mission

The mission of the Dassel-Cokato Middle School is to encourage a positive attitude towards learning while preparing students with transferable and meaningful skills for life in a global society.

The Dassel-Cokato Middle School program is designed to meet the special needs of middle level students. The program strives to be transitional in nature, providing students the "bridge" between the self-contained classroom of the elementary school and the departmentalized curriculum of the high school.

We Believe the Dassel-Cokato Middle School Should:

  • meet the unique needs of early adolescents.
  • be child centered.
  • reflect the values and priorities of the community, parents, and students.
  • provide students the opportunity to explore a wide variety of interests and skills.
  • offer many opportunities for students to be successful physically, socially, emotionally, and intellectually.
  • recognize and reward their successes.
  • encourage individual differences and attempt to meet unique student needs.
  • develop in students a respect for themselves and others.
  • develop in students a sense of interdependence and belonging.
  • emphasize academically challenging experiences that fosters thinking, problem solving and develop an attitude for life-long learning.
  • emphasize an allied arts curriculum that stimulates creativity, enjoyment and knowledge.

To achieve the broad goals of this vision, the Dassel-Cokato Middle School recognizes the importance of the environment in which children work. If we expect them to develop individual capacities in a wide variety of activities, the setting must be flexible and allow for risk taking. Worthwhile social attitudes can only be expected where both the children and adults have respect for one another, are friendly, and care for each other's needs.

D-C Middle School Characteristics

Teacher Advisor Program: A program that will build student social skills, develop a sense of belonging, teach group skills, encourage self respect and appreciation for others and provide instruction in study skills.

Academic Programs: Emphasis should remain on the acquisition of basic and more advanced skills even though more attention is given to developing the child socially, emotionally and physically. Assurance of mastery of basic skills, remediation of special needs, enrichment programs extending the basic curriculum and gifted program activities are all key components.

Allied Arts Programs: Early adolescents have individual strengths and talents that can be developed only through instruction in areas of art, music, physical education, home economics and industrial arts. Co-curricular and extra-curricular programs should emphasize broad student participation to enable each and every student a chance to participate in their area of interest.

Positive Recognition Philosophy: Realizing that no one does anything for nothing, that there must always be some payoff, it is better to recognize and reward positive student growth so that positive behavior and attitudes are fostered.

Interdisciplinary Team Planning: Team planning facilitates integrated studies as well as allows teacher the opportunity to develop specific programs for students with unique needs. It takes full advantage of teacher strengths and makes home and student communication more feasible.

Flexible Scheduling: The schedule must allow teachers and students the freedom to control the amount and kind of instruction required to ensure student success. It must permit teacher advisor time, interdisciplinary team planning, exploratory programs, the development of interdisciplinary units and time for implementing the positive recognition philosophy.

Community and Parent Involvement: Members of the community and the parents will ultimately decide the quality of our service; therefore, being responsive to the community and parents can not only help us reach our goals, but can help us become accountable and ensure our success.

Student Support Groups: Providing for the social and emotional needs of students supports classroom instruction and makes student success more likely. Guidance that is flexible and personalized will enhance the other programs in the school.

Interdisciplinary Units: Interdisciplinary education, encompassing academics and allied arts, will increase students' understanding of the world they live in and develop their use of higher level thinking skills. These units will also foster reference and research skills as well as promoting the use of visual aids, media center resources and other skills needed for continued lifelong learning.

Student Organizations: Clubs and organizations offer students the opportunity to explore, expand and develop new interests while providing application of social and group skills. These activities develop a sense of belonging and bring a positive attitude about school.

Teacher Support Groups: Teachers must be actively involved with their colleagues in planning instruction and in developing improved teaching methods. While empowering the staff, there must also be training and support programs that permit individual staff growth and personal development.

Orientation Program: Programs to help students and parents function in a new situation are critical to the success of the middle school. These programs should offer a time for developing student-teacher-parent relationships, conveying information about program offerings and sharing the school and classroom vision.

Parent Education Programs: Because parents play such an important role in their children's social, emotional, intellectual and physical attitudes it is necessary to actively involve parents in their children's education. It may also be necessary to train the parents to be more effective in their role of teacher and provide support for them as they attempt to deal with their early adolescent.

D-C Middle School Teacher Attributes

In order to reach the goals implied in the Dassel-Cokato Middle School Vision and to successfully implement the Characteristics of the Middle School, the middle school teacher should have:

  • A willingness to conduct a teacher advisor group of students.
  • A belief that it is better to recognize and reward positive student growth, than it is to focus undue attention on the negative.
  • A willingness to share teaching methods and techniques with fellow colleagues in team planning process.
  • A willingness to try different ways of presenting information for students.
  • A willingness to cooperative learning, develop lessons appropriate for different learning styles, and use other appropriate methods that will help enhance students' chances for success.
  • A willingness to become involved in teaching exploratory program for students.
  • A willingness to involve the community and parents in the education of their children.
  • A willingness to get involved in summer writing time as needed.
  • A willingness to change and take risks.
  • A belief those students are more important than the content.

Character Building Pillars

RESPECT: Showing genuine concern for yourself, others and the world around you. ..

RESPONSIBILITY: Being accountable for your actions and accepting the consequences of those actions.

RESILIENCY: Rebounding from significant stresses with a positive attitude and sense of balance.

INTEGRITY: Reflecting trustworthiness, honesty and self-discipline.

COMPASSION: Willing to share and give aid or support to all people; caring.

UNDERSTANDING DIVERSITY: Realizing that everyone is unique and that all have their strengths and limitations.


In the early 1990's a group of local school representatives, parents, community members and ministers met to determine a common set of acceptable character traits that could be taught in our schools and that would coincide with the beliefs of our two communities. The result of this effort was the identification of six Character Pillars. Almost 20 years later, these six, excellent Pillars still provide the basis for character education in our school district.