January 11. 2021

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Columbia River High School

800 NW 99th ST.

Vancouver WA 98665


Principal/ Head of School - Alex Otoupal

Associate Principal/Curriculum - Rob Duncan

Associate Principal/Activities - Ken Roberts

Associate Principal/Athletic Director - Nick Davies

Report Card

Greetings River Community

Dear River,

As we are beginning to put the finishing touches on our first semester of River Remote 2.0 you will find a massive amount of vital information in our January news.

With a graduation date set for the Class of 2021, I will be dropping in over classroom zooms in the next couple of weeks to get Senior Class input on River's caps and gown. Seniors, commencement will be here before you know it and we will be planning side by side for the next months as we make our way to the finish line.

Class of 2022 and Class of 2023 please take careful note of the information in this newsletter about post high school plans and magnet opportunities within Vancouver Public Schools. There is something for everyone when you consider your plans for taking advantage of the amazing support we have available as you plan. And, don't forget to apply for our Varsity Academic Awards. This tradition and recognition is unique to River.

Class of 2024, as you gear up for Semester 1 Finals, be certain to be proactive with your teachers and seek out help if you need it. Take advantage of every moment you can on your Zoom meetings. Like a good Marvel movie, there is always something worthwhile at the end of the program.

Finally - we welcome applications to the International Baccalaureate for the Class of 2025.

Please note the details involved with the application process. We have expanded our program offerings and I am proud of the evolution of our school wide efforts to ensure "IB for All".

As always, please reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns.

Happy New Year!

Alex Otoupal

Principal/ Head of School

Highlights from our Winter Wonderland

Thank you to our amazing Associated Student Body Leadership, Distributive Education Clubs of America, and all who came out to participate in our first Winter Wonderland.

River's Key Club

Under the leadership of Mrs. Kelly Ramey, the Key Club continues to serve the community. Key Club has been instrumental in replenishing the River Care Closet through donations of food and clothing as well as hosting a sock drive for the Portland Rescue Mission. In the near future, Key Club hopes to implement a virtual or in‑person tutoring program with our feeder Middle Schools to help students get back on track with their on‑line or in-person learning.

Graduation date is set!

The commencement ceremony for the legendary Columbia River High School Class of 2021 is officially set for June 14 at 8 pm. Location: to be determined

Academic "Boot Camp" Support

As we are nearing the end of Semester 1, some students may be contacted to participate in Academic “Bootcamps” on Wednesdays. Identified students may be invited to attend focused in-person work sessions in small pods. In keeping with current COVID 19 procedures, pods will be limited to 4 students per adult. Teachers will be contacting students and families individually to invite them to the optional in-person sessions.

Special Schedule on January 27 and January 29: Semester 1 Final Exams Schedule

Wrapping up Semester 1

Semester 1 will officially end on Thursday, January 28, 2021. In keeping with currently scheduled classes, Remote Semester 1 Finals will be on Tuesday, Jan. 26 and Thursday, Jan. 28. Students should check with each individual instructor to determine if a final semester exam is being held.

Friday, January 29, 2021 is a non-student attendance day, with no classes being held.

Teachers will be finalizing and entering semester grades between January 28 and February 5, 2021. It is anticipated that Semester 1 report cards will be sent out on Thursday, February 11, 2021.

IB Magnet Night and Application Information

We are excited to announce that our IB Magnet applications are now open! Click here to start your application.

Check out our YouTube channel to learn more about the program from the perspective of our Principal, Coordinators, and teachers and staff. We will be adding additional videos throughout the week, including an overview video of both of our IB program options!

Have questions about the program or the application process? Join us for an FAQ session at 6p.m. on Wednesday, January 12th. Use this link to join.

Want to stay up-to-date on all things IB throughout this process? Check out our newsletter that is updated with information and links regularly.

Curious about other VPS Magnet Program Options?

Click here for more information and check out the video below, which overviews each available magnet program in our district.
VPS Magnet Fair 01-06-2021

River Athletics

Last week the WIAA made an announcement to start "Fall Sports" {Football, Cross Country, Men's Tennis, Slow Pitch Softball, Men's Golf, Women's Soccer, Women's Swimming and Volleyball} on February 1.

While this is great news, we are still in the planning phases of getting this going. According to the Governor’s guidance it is very possible we will not be able to start on February 1. As a result, we are going to hold off on opening FamilyID until we have more concrete direction.

There are many questions left unanswered. As we learn more, we will share all relevant information in our weekly communications and on twitter. Athletic Directors in SW Washington are working hard to ensure there are opportunities for our athletes. We continue to be optimistic!

Help is on the Way!

A Virtual Resource Room is available for students served by an IEP. It is open Mondays - Fridays, 7:30-8:30. For more information, contact your student's case manager. Check out this resource to find out how to access the resource room.

Apply for Varsity Academics!

Juniors and Seniors:

The CR Varsity Academic Letter program honors students who have consistently shown a high regard for academics, citizenship and involvement in the school community. After the completion of their sophomore year students may apply for the CR Varsity Academic letter award.

Check out the requirements for Varsity Academics below, and if you believe you qualify, complete this form by January 31st!

1. Students must have a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher based on at least 4 semesters of high school courses; the most recent 2 semesters or coursework must be from Columbia River High School.
2. Students must have no truancies.
3. Students must have no discipline referrals and no violation of Vancouver Public Schools Drug and Alcohol policies.
4. Students must have participated in a school club or organization for at least one semester or an athletic activity for one season.

We will hold a virtual ceremony for all students who applied and qualify in February.

College Application Workshops

Seniors -- would you like support in applying to one of our incredible Washington universities? Washington State University Vancouver (WSUV), Central Washington University, and Eastern Washington University are offering virtual opportunities to work with an admissions counselor on the application process.

Washington State University Vancouver: January 13th, 10:30-2

Drop in any time in this window. Register by end of day Tuesday, 1/12, and have a GPA of 2.0 or higher to receive a same-day admissions decision! Use this link to register.

Central Washington University: January 20th, 12-2

Drop in any time between 12 to 2 to get support in completing your application for CWU! Use this link to register.

Eastern Washington University: January 27th, 10-12

Drop in any time between 10 to 12 to get support in completing your application for EWU! Use this link to register.

Upcoming College & Military Visits

We're excited to announce several college visits coming to you virtually!

Click the links below to pre-register.

Wednesday, 1/13

WSUV Application Workshop, 10:30-2 PM (drop in any time)

Thursday, 1/14

Clark College, 12:10 PM

Wednesday, 1/20

Academy of Art University, 10:30 AM

Multnomah University, 11:15 AM

Central Washington Application Workshop, drop in any time between 12 and 2

Wednesday, 1/27

Eastern Washington Application Workshop, drop in any time between 10 and 12

Wednesday, 2/3

Military Information Session, 8:00 AM

Looking for different colleges? Check out our blog post to see what others are coming up.

Did you miss a visit that you wanted to attend? Check out this document with videos from many of our frequently attended colleges. Not seeing one on there you want to know more about? Reach out to us!

Future Me Podcast Episode 3: Military Options

Check out our new Future Me Podcast focused on understanding the military. Hear from guests from the Army, Air Force, and Marines, as well as one of our very own VPS counselors who served in the military!
VPS Presents - Future Me: Episode 03

Still Unsure About How to Pay for College?

Join us for a Financial Aid Help Session on Thursday, February 4th from 6-8p.m. Receive help from VPS staff and Washington State University staff in completing the FAFSA or the WASFA!

Click here to sign up for the session.

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Interested in Learning More about the Trades?

Did you know that you can make great money, even if you don’t go to college? Did you know that in an apprenticeship, they train you on-the-spot, WHILE you get paid?! We call this “earn while you learn”. Some apprenticeships even pay for tuition at a college! Would you like to consider going into a trade or apprenticeship that has these benefits? Hear what it’s all about directly from the people working in those trades!

Click on each link below to pre-register for an event. If you want to learn a little bit about what any of these are about before signing up, check out these videos!

Tuesday, 1/12 @ 12:10 PM
Sprinkler Fitters

Tuesday, 2/9 @ 12:10 PM

Tuesday, 3/9 @ 12:10 PM
Operating Engineers

Tuesday, 4/13 @ 12:10 PM

Tuesday, 5/11 @ 12:10 PM

Check Out our Industry Insider Series!

Our Industry Insider series is a chance for you to learn about great careers that you may have never known existed! On Fridays during lunch time (11:40-12:10) you can hear directly from professionals working in these industries! Make sure to register in advance.

Tuesday, January 12th: Landscape Industry

Join us during lunch (11:40-12:10) to hear from Corey Peterson from Pacific Landscape Management and Al Shay, a Horticulture Professor at Oregon State University.

Click here to register in advance! After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Friday, January 15th: Clark County Food Bank

Join us during lunch (11:40-12:10) to hear from Aubrey Ka'ahanui from the Clark County Food Bank. Aubrey will be talking with us about her role as the Volunteer Coordinator, as well as volunteer opportunities available at the Food Bank.

Click here to register in advance! After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Friday, January 22nd: Chiropractor

Join us during lunch (11:40-12:10) to learn more about what it's like to be a chiropractor. Karis Cooper graduated from Hudson's Bay and opened her own chiropractic practice in 2006!

Click here to register in advance! After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Friday, February 5th: US Army Corps of Engineers

Join us during lunch (11:40-12:10) to learn more about what it's like to join the US Army Corps of Engineers from mechanical design engineers Yuliya Nikiforets and Ryan Sonders!

Click here to register in advance! After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Friday, February 12th: Watershed Alliance

Join us during lunch (11:40-12:10) to hear from the Executive Director of Southwest Washington's Watershed Alliance, Sunrise O'Mahoney. Check out more about the Watershed Alliance on their website!

Click here to register in advance! After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Cascadia Technical Academy

Interested in trying Cascadia Technical Academy your junior or senior year? Cascadia Technical Academy is a hands-on half-day program. Students choose a career pathway of interest and spend half of their school day onsite in one of Cascadia Technical Academy's programs and half of the school day taking courses at CR.

Want to learn more about what programs they offer? Check out the videos below to learn more!

CTA will offer a virtual tour process for students this year. A link will be available soon to join ino on that process. For now, save the date: February 17th!

Cascadia Tech Academy: Find Your Greater You
Sophomore Presentation

Running Start Information Sessions

If you are considering Running Start for your junior or senior year, let your counselor know check out the information below on the program and on available information sessions.

About this event: These optional information sessions are for students and their families who want to know more about beginning the Running Start program in the 2021-2022 school year. You’ll hear current Running Start students describe their experiences in the program and learn about eligibility, enrollment steps, placement options and tips for academic planning. There will also be a designated Q&A time at the end of the event.

What is Running Start? The Running Start program allows high school juniors and seniors to earn college credits while completing their high school education—saving students money while advancing their education. Students are able to attend college, at minimal cost, while still living at home as a high school student.

Virtual Running Start Information Night Dates (All nights are optional and provide the same information.):

  • Monday, January 25 at 6:30pm

  • Tuesday, February 9 at 6:30pm

  • Wednesday, February 24 at 6:30pm

  • Thursday, March 18 at 6:30pm

Location: Zoom Webinar

Registration: Register to attend on Eventbrite for a link to the Zoom webinar and reminders as the meeting approaches. All Eventbrite registrations will receive a packet of information and a link to the meeting prior to the event. You can also find links to the Zoom Webinar on the Running Start webpage.

Schedule Appointment with the Student Pathways Center

If you want to talk individually about your plans for after high school or need support with any planning, please schedule an appointment! We're here to help.


Vancouver Public Schools is an equal opportunity district in education programs, activities, services, and employment. The district does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, sex, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, including gender expression or identity, age, families with children, honorably discharged veteran or military status, the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal. The district provides equal access to the Boy Scouts of America and other designated youth groups. The district complies with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 402 of the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Act of 1974, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Older Worker Protection Act, and all other state, federal, and local equal opportunity laws. You may contact any of the following people at 2901 Falk Rd., Vancouver, WA, 98661, or by writing to them at VPS, PO Box 8937, Vancouver, WA 98668-8937 or by calling 360-313-1000: ADA & Affirmative Action/Title IX Coordinator––; Title VII, 504–; IDEA–; Title IX Elementary–; Athletic Equity & Title IX Secondary– This notification can be provided in the appropriate language for communities of national origin and minority persons with limited English language skills by contacting 360-313-1250.