School Overview


The Moorhead School District honored Dorothy Dodds, a Moorhead High School graduate and educator, by naming the district’s newest kindergarten through fourth grade school Dorothy Dodds Elementary.

Dorothy Dodds was a pioneer in early childhood education in Minnesota over a long and distinguished career. After earning her elementary education degree at then Moorhead State Teachers College (MSTC), she earned a master’s degree in education.  

She taught kindergarten at the MSTC Campus School from 1949 until 1972, when it closed, She then joined MSUM’s education department until retiring in 1986. She died in December 2012.

“What is a legacy? A legacy is planting seeds in a garden you won’t see. We thought it important to honor the work of somebody who spent their life working in that K-4 sector. We were just blown away by the legacy she has left.”

Brian Cole  

   School Naming Committee Member and Teacher at Horizon Middle School


Art Project


Dorothy Dodds held its first art night for first graders in early 2020.

First grade students and their families were invited to the school to create an art project with their art teacher, Mrs. Nelson. 

Mrs. Nelson and her art colleagues presented a lesson in collage. Each family received a bird of their choice and creatively colored the bird with magazine pages. Students and families worked together to create some amazing bird art.

Book Club

Book Clubs

Each school year, two rounds of Book Clubs are conducted for our high readers in fourth grade. The literature chosen for this Book Club are rich texts with in-depth themes and characters. Students will often be introduced to unique settings and crucial times in history, adding another element of enrichment. These book clubs meet daily for three weeks and connect to some kind of new and innovative project, incorporating advanced technology skills. Conversations are rich and thinking skills challenging and creative.

Professional book clubs are available for staff. Often the books are award winning with various types and levels of books explored. Sometimes books revolve around a theme, such as, diversity or historical significance. These book clubs help staff to explore literature with “mirrors and doors” thus enriching students' lives.

Daily News

Daily News

Dorothy Dodds has a morning broadcast called “Dorothy Dodds Daily News.” The purpose of the broadcast is to unite the school with a common message.

Each broadcast contains monthly themed character trait messages, school songs and important school news. The broadcast is a fourth grade project, in which students are the broadcasters, improving their ability to read and effectively communicate, thus gaining confidence and school ownership.

Staff are encouraged to be creative and use the broadcast to promote committee, department, school and district events. 

Lego Club

Lego club

Lego Club was developed from a partnership with a local business, parent and media staff. This project began with a team of six first-graders. The complete curriculum of Lego Wedo 2.0 was donated by John Deere with the support of a parent and John Deere employee.

Each week the students and staff met for one hour. The program lasts between 12-16 weeks. Based on Lego's annual theme, students work on projects that build on the theme. The main goal of Lego Club is to teach students how to be creative problem solvers and how to work in teams, while exploring the basics of Engineering and Computing.



Makerspace materials or “STEAM kits” are designed to encourage students to think and create through making, tinkering, art and engineering real things based on an individual's interest.

Each STEAM kit contains materials, lesson plans and book connections. They can be checked out from the Media Center or used in the Media Center Makerspace. The kits vary and contain “low tech” activities, while others have greater components of “high tech”. All Makerspace items have been funded from grants (Moorhead Legacy Education Foundation), donations and PTAC funds.


Music Programs

Each year, music students at Dorothy Dodds Elementary participate in a music program. Music programs are designed to showcase music skills, enhance learning and strengthen connection to community. 

Third grade students have extra-special opportunities during their music program. They study the master composer, Tchaikovsky, and his masterwork piece, The Nutcracker. Students have the choice to audition for acting and movement roles, and all students are in the choir.

Fourth grade students have the opportunity to learn about accompaniment instruments, including the ukulele and keyboard. Students participate in a self-paced keyboard lab where they begin developing skills through teacher guidance. They end the unit with a recital for their classmates. Students also learn to sing and play the ukulele and demonstrate their skills to Kindergarten students through an interactive sing-a-long at the end of the unit.

Track Meet

Physical Education

A highlight for our students year is the end of the year track meet and field day. The fourth grade participates in an “All City Track Meet” at Jim Gotta Stadium. All students in fourth grade from Robert Asp, S.G. Reinertsen, Ellen Hopkins, Dorothy Dodds, Park Christian and St. Joseph are represented.

The third grade does their own track meet at Dorothy Dodds. This is good practice so they know how a track meet is run to get ready for the “big” one as a fourth grader.

We also do “Fun in the Sun” day for K-2 students. For this event, the Phy Ed, Music, Art & Health (PEMAH) team gets together and organizes a fun and unique experience for each grade level. 

Student Leadership Team

School Leadership Team

Dorothy Dodds Elementary has a strong Student Leadership Program with many outstanding student leaders. Every year, there are 30-40 students who are selected to participate in this program. The students selected are students who have shown leadership potential and are good role models for other students. The students leadership program is run by the school counselor and psychologist. 

The group meets twice per month after school from 2:40 - 4 pm. During this time, the student leaders learn and develop their leadership skills. The students are all expected to help with ongoing volunteer jobs and opportunities throughout the school year. Some of the leadership opportunities for our students leaders have included:  

  • Training to develop leadership skills, with a focus on: anti-bullying, problem solving strategies, spreading kindness and gratitude

  • Pairing with younger students as peer helpers for classroom activities

  • Organizing special events at the school such as school spirit dress-up days and our annual “DDE Spring Fling”

  • Greeting visitors to the school and giving tours 

  • Fundraising and community service projects