Columbia River Weekly Newsletter

September 10, 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

A message from the Principal

Dear River Community,

Monday will be an Early Release schedule. This time is set aside by Vancouver Public Schools so that our teachers can work in groups answering four general questions:

  1. What do we want students to learn?

  2. How will we know they have learned it?

  3. What will we do when they do not learn it?

  4. What will we do next?

I am pleased to report that our River faculty is deeply engaged in reflection on these four questions in their Professional Learning Communities and in striving to use our data and wealth of experience to inform our instructional practices. That is a long way of saying we are constantly looking for ways to improve. It is an iterative process, meaning that just like anything we try to improve we are constantly looking at results and trying new ways to get better.

Throughout the year we will be meeting in these groups and for your planning, I am including the future days set for Early Release below.

Additionally, please note that we have changed the format of our Back to School/ Curriculum Night this year on September 27. This will be a remote and semi-synchronous event this fall.

You will be receiving more information next week. At this time our plan is to pre-record our classroom teachers’ presentations and to continue to have our staff communicating with you via email.

Finally, looking ahead to our Parent/Teacher conferences in October, we will be utilizing to set up conferences with families via zoom. More details to come regarding conferences as well.

Thanks in advance for your flexibility as we are nearly midway through this unique September start up.


Alex Otoupal

Principal/Head of School

Reminder: Early Release Schedule on Monday 9/13/21

Future Monday Early Release Days for the 2021-2022 School Year:

September 13, 20, 27

October 4, 11, 18, 25

November 1, 8, 15, 22, 29

December 6, 13

January 3, 10, 24, 31

February 7, 14, 28

March 7, 14, 21, 28

April 11, 18, 25

May 2, 9, 16

Senior Parking!

Class of 2022 please complete this needs assessment: access form here.

Junior Parking!

Class of 2023 will receive a similar survey on Tuesday, Sep 14, 2021

School Picture Distribution & Picture Make-Up Day

School pictures will be distributed on Tuesday, September 14th. If you placed an order through Lifetouch please plan on picking up your pictures during lunch. Lifetouch will be distributing pictures during both first and second lunches.

Additionally, Picture makeup day will be held on October 13th.

Student Technology & Resources

Any student who still needs to check out a school chromebook for class should swing by our indoor concessions stand between 7 am - 2:15 pm to check one out. Students can also get school devices repaired and renewed at the indoor concessions stand.

Every River student needs a signed Responsible Use Policy for the year. If you haven’t had time to sign it yet, you can access it here or we have paper copies available in English, Spanish, Russian and Chuukese.

We encourage students to update their chromebook password if it is still set to their birthday so they can secure their school Gmail and other accounts. Students can update passwords any time they need to here. It will change their Canvas and Google passwords but not their Skyward passwords. Students can find more information on how to use their school chromebook in the Columbia River Toolkit in Canvas. Our tutorial videos are also available here if you have access to YouTube on a personal device.

Parents and guardians can sign up to be an observer in their student’s Canvas account. You will need to use a pairing code that is within your student’s account. If you signed up as an observer last year, your account is still active. You can find more information here.

Students who need to return materials from last year are welcome to swing by indoor concessions to drop off books, calculators and other items on their library account.

Student Schedules and Classes

One of the challenges of starting off the school year is attending to student schedules and the school master schedule. Our aim is honoring student course requests from Forecasting in the spring, while creating effective class sizes. As you and your students may have noticed, some classes are quite large these first days of school. We anticipate that in the coming weeks we will need to add additional classes and make adjustments to student schedules. We will notify students and families when this change occurs. Our goal is to make changes that will impact class size and honor student course requests.

PSAT October 26, 2021: Free PSAT for all 10th Grade

This year in an effort to maintain and increase access and equity for all students, Vancouver Public Schools will again pay for all 10th grade students to take the PSAT (Preliminary SAT). The PSAT is a practice college entrance exam most closely linked with the SAT.

Columbia River will be hosting the PSAT for it's students on Tuesday, October 26,2021. Testing will occur during the school day at Columbia River, starting at 7:30 am. All 10th grade students will be automatically registered and expected to participate in the PSAT, unless they choose to OPT OUT. 10th grade students and parents will be emailed later this month with the link to the OPT OUT form and more PSAT information. This is a great opportunity for students to take a version of the practice college admissions exam.

Student Handbooks

Student Handbooks were distributed. Here is a link to the Handbook Quiz for any students who have not completed the quiz.

Sports and Activities Fair

River’s asynchronous Sports and Activities Fair has been moved to Friday, 9/17/2021. We will be on an Assembly Schedule for this activity.

COVID Safety - What to expect at River to start the school year

As we get closer to the school year, we are updating the ‘River Playbook;’ similar to last year’s version. Here is similar information - River Playbook Slides. Here are some key points to know about Columbia River:

  • We will be on a regular 6 period schedule with all students back in the building!

  • Masks are required for everyone who comes into the school and social distancing is expected when possible.

  • Students will be 3 ft apart whenever possible. Teachers will remain 6 ft whenever possible.

  • All classrooms will have seating charts.

  • We will be back to eating lunch in the commons and courtyards.

  • At this time, we are no longer doing attestations or temperature checks.

  • Many COVID/School questions can be found on the district’s FAQ Page

Safe and Healthy Classrooms Update

The school district will be posting specific COVID-19 case notifications on our website, You can find the information on the bottom right of the page. The district will be doing the same thing on the district website through the VPS COVID Dashboard. Additionally, here is a link to the district’s detailed health and safety plan.


Go to the 2021-2022 Playbook to learn more about important procedures for the start of the 2021-22 school year.

School Supplies

If your student needs school supplies please call the school at 360-313-3900 and ask for Cheri Chavers.

New Logo Information

Rapids Branding Guide - Detailed information on our logo and how to use it.

Remodel Photo Update

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The graduation ceremony for the Class of 2022 will be held at 5:00 pm on June 13, 2022. The location is yet to be determined.
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Watch out for a special Senior Information Newsletter coming the week of 9/7/21.

Monday Clark Question Hour

Check out this overview video from Clark College, showcasing the programs offered and information on how to enroll. Q&A Sessions available via Zoom on Mondays 3-4pm beginning September 13th. Click here to enter the meeting.

Apprenticeship Program Opportunity

Interested in a program that will work toward an Aerospace and Advanced Manufacturing Apprenticeship? You do not need to be a current Cascadia Tech student to apply, however, you must be 16 or older. See flyer below. Cascadia will be having an information session on Thursday, September 9 from 4:00-5:30 PM.
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Trade School Open House

Are you more of a hands-on learner? Perry Tech might be the right fit for you. They are holding a virtual open house on September 15th from 4-5pm. See flyer below for more information.
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Women In Advanced Manufacturing and Mechanical Careers

This roll-up-your-sleeves event is designed specifically for women to learn about the exciting career opportunities that are available in advanced manufacturing and mechanical. You will preview each program in our industry-standard labs and participate in hands-on activities led by Clark College professors. Get your questions answered and explore the fulfilling careers that women can have in the Automotive, Diesel, and Welding fields. We look forward to having you on campus! Explore the exciting opportunities for you in these fields: Automotive, Diesel, and Welding Clark College expressly prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, perceived or actual physical or mental disability, pregnancy, genetic information, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, creed, religion, honorably discharged veteran or military status, citizenship, immigration status, or use of a trained guide dog or service animal in its programs and activities. Learn more at If you need accommodation due to a disability in order to fully participate in this event, you should contact Clark College’s Disability Support Services Office at 360-992-2314 or 360-992-0901 VP, as soon as possible. Closed-toe shoes and long jean pants are required; long-sleeved shirts are recommended. Safety goggles will be provided.

RSVP here.

Scholarship Hot List

Click this link to see available scholarships. Bookmark this link to keep updated on current opportunities.

Looking for Scholarships?

Complete a profile on and be emailed updates with scholarship opportunities you are eligible for.
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.

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The Vancouver School 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 and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts of America, and other designated groups. You may also contact any of the following people by writing to them at Vancouver School District, PO Box 8937, Vancouver, WA 98668-8937, or by calling 360-313-1000: 504 – Steve Vance; Civil Rights and Affirmative Action – Janell Ephraim; ADA and Title IX – Kathy Everidge; Title IX Elementary Schools – Kristie Lindholm; Title IX Secondary Schools – Jim Gray.