December 2019

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Columbia River High School

800 NW 99th ST.

Vancouver WA 98665


Principal - Alex Otoupal

Associate Principal/Curriculum - Rob Duncan

Associate Principal/Activities - Ken Roberts

Associate Principal/Athletic Director - Nick Davies


Greetings River Community:

In a few days we will be taking time off to celebrate this season of gratitude and as we close the calendar year of 2019, I want to thank you for the energy and focus you all bring to our collective efforts to work with the young men and women at Columbia River High School. There are countless metrics to measure the success of a public high school and as principal, I take great pride in our tradition of excellence at River. For decades, River has achieved success at the highest levels in the classroom, on the stage and on the field. It is always a joyful time during mid December when our alums return to say hello and share their success after leaving us and moving forward.

Tomorrow at 6:30 pm in the Forum, River IB will host a panel of graduates that will be moderated by IB Coordinator Julie Nygaard. Alums will share their stories of transition from high school to university. I encourage parents and current students to join the conversation and soak up the wisdom of experience these former students have to offer.

As the International Baccalaureate Magnet, I ask your help in getting the word out that on January 9, 2020, River will host our annual Magnet / Open House for incoming students (yes, it is already time!). Magnet applications will be available beginning January 10. Please follow this link for more information regarding the process of perspective students.

Over the next several weeks, we will continue to pack up and brace for the beginning stages of our remodel. In our effort to reduce impact and disruption, we are planning for late January to begin moving a handful of select classrooms. It will be after Semester 1 is complete before we make significant moves and re-assign parking spaces. There will be much more information to come in January on this effort. Until then, we will prepare for finishing Semester 1 on January 23. As you plan ahead, keep in mind that January 24, 2020 is a non-attendance day for students and Semester 2 begins on January 27.

In closing, on behalf of the River Faculty, I wish you a joyful and relaxing Holiday Season.

Alex Otoupal, Principal

Columbia River High School

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Congratulations to River's Girls Soccer Team! 2019 2A State Champions!

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River's Jazz Band

Congratulations to River's Jazz Band for taking first place in their group at the Skyview Jazz Festival held on December 7th, 2019. A picture of the group performing is shown above. Way to go River!

Start Practicing for the School Day SAT

Once again this year, Vancouver Public Schools will offer 11th grade high school students the opportunity to take the SAT exam free of charge, as part of SAT School Day in March of 2020. This is the fifth year VPS will participate in SAT School Day, which enables students to take the nation's most widely-used college entrance exam during the school day.

Students can start preparing now for the SAT with FREE practice lessons, and FREE practice tests on Khan Academy.

More information regarding the specific SAT School Day date and registration procedures will be sent home in early 2020.

If you have questions about the SAT School Day, please contact your student's counselor, or visit the Student Pathways Center.

Washington Music Educators Association’s All-State bands, choirs and orchestras

The following students from Columbia River were named to the Washington Music Educators Association’s All-State bands, choirs and orchestras:

  • Brent Hall, violin, All-State Orchestra
  • Hannah Choi, violin, All-State Orchestra
  • Rina Ishii, string bass, All-State Band
  • Olivia McClellan, flute, All-State Band

Their teacher is Dave Keckes-Chartrey.

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Project Lit Community

Project Lit Community is hosting a free screening of The Hate U Give in River's Forum on Thursday, December 19th from 2:30-5 pm. Come share some snacks, enjoy a great film and connect with Project Lit before you head into the holidays. Thank you to River's Boosters for supporting this event!

News From the Intervention Specialist

Dear Families of CRHS,

Did you know December is intoxicated driving awareness month?

*Car crashes are the No. 1 killer of teens in the U.S.

*Most teen crashes occur on the weekends, when teens are too busy having fun to pay attention to their driving.

*Eight teens die every day in DUI crashes.

Parents and family have the greatest influence over a teen’s substance use. Studies show teens who live in households with strong boundaries and rules surrounding substance use are less likely to use illicit substances.

Talk to your teen and talk often!

If you have any questions or concerns surround your teen’s substance use please feel free to contact Echo Moran-Prince, our Intervention and prevention Specialist.



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News from Our School Nurse on Illness and Handwashing

Just a reminder, if your student has vomiting, diarrhea, and/or a fever they have to remain out of school until it’s been at a full 24 hours since the last episode of vomiting or diarrhea, and fever free for 24 hours without temperature lowering medication (Tylenol, ibuprofen, aspirin).
(If they have a Norovirus diagnosis then they have to remain out of school a full 48 hours after the above symptoms resolve.)

Talk to your child about using good handwashing with plenty of soap and warm water, for at least 30 seconds of hand scrubbing. Wash every time before eating, after using the bathroom, and playing outside.

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Courts For Kids

There are still a handful of spots open in our Courts for Kids spring break trip to Costa Rica!!

For more information on the trip, please stop by Ms. McAnally’s classroom (610) to receive an informational packet and links to the sign up forms. You can also email Ms. McAnally directly at with your questions.

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Calling all Orchestra and Band Parents!

Did you know that the orchestra and band are planning a Disneyland trip this coming spring?

There have been a number of fundraisers the past couple of years to help pay for music program events, including saving up for Disneyland. We’d love your help!

Please join us at an upcoming Music Association meeting, which for the remainder of this year will occur the first Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. at The Megabite in Hazel Dell.

If you cannot make the meeting but would like to help please ask your music student about the upcoming apple and coffee fundraisers, or email the Music Association board at

Thanks for your support!

What: Upcoming Music Association Meetings

Date: 11/7, and 12/5 (Thursdays)

Time: 7 p.m.

Where: The Megabite - 6920 NE Hwy 99

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National Honor Society

If your student is a member of the National Honor Society, please let them know that our meeting location has been changed due to construction. We will be meeting in the Media Center beginning with our January meeting. Our meetings are held at 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. to give everyone an opportunity to meet. Members can only miss two meetings before being removed from the membership role, so it is important that they attend. If you have any questions, email Ms. Fitzpatrick at

Remaining meeting dates are:

January 9 February 6

March 5 April 9

May 7 June 4

Earn World Language Competency Credits with AVANT

The World Language Competency Credit Program is a way to earn credit for a language you already know. Please see the flyer below for more information. You may also download the flyer below to print.
Earn World Language Competency Credits with Avant

Mark Your Calendar - Important IB Dates

Dec. 4, 6:30 - 7:30 in Forum - IB Global Student Conference with CAS Trips informational meeting

Dec. 18 6:30 - 7:30 in Forum - IB Student Panel (IB Graduates return from college to answer student and parent questions about the IB program and the benefits)

Jan. 9, time TBD, IB Magnet Open House

Horticulture/FFA Sale

Horticulture/FFA will have holiday wreaths and centerpieces available for sale starting December 3rd. The cost will be $10 each. Please email to place an advance order.

Columbia River High School Plastic Recycling

Columbia River High School will recycle plastic again this year. Recycling bins for plastic are located in Room 503, and both the main east and west building entries.

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Care Closet

Did you know Columbia River High School has a Care Closet? If you are a family in need of non-perishable food items and/or clothing please contact
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Counseling Center Staff

Freshman Counselor-Rachael Howington

Sophomore Counselor-Jennifer Waller

Junior Counselor-Alexis Bruce

Senior Counselor-Lou Gill

School Psychologist-Chad Waldman

Clerk-Gina Gasser

Student Pathways Center Staff

Pathways Coordinator-Morgan Parker

Clerk-Cindy Harrington

Running Start Students High School and Beyond Plan Completion

Running Start students need to complete their High School and Beyond graduation plan. This is a state of Washington graduation requirement.

Drop by the Student Pathways Center for help.

Sophomore Pathway Planning, Class of 2022

In January the Sophomore History classes will be working in the Student Pathways Center with their counselor, Jennifer Waller. They will review their transcripts and looking at courses which they will be taking to fulfill graduation requirements. They will also be working with Morgan Parker the Pathways Coordinator. Morgan will be going over the many options which will be available to students after they graduate including colleges and universities, community colleges, trade and technical schools, and the military. Students will be introduced to the new career planning tool Xello!

Seniors 2020!

Seniors if you need help planning for next year or completing the High School and Beyond plan for graduation? Go to the Student Pathways Center and sign up to get help during Intervention.

Did you know that you can get free money for college and trade schools?! We’re here to help you figure it out! Join us during Intervention Periods to get help completing the FAFSA and researching other ways to pay for training and education after high school. Come see us in the Student Pathways Center to arrange for a pass!

What Pathway Will You Take?

Thinking about what comes after high school? Unsure about what you want to do? Want to learn more about what’s out there? The Student Pathways Center has options! Each month, the Student Pathways Center has a unique career pathway focus - come visit to test out hands-on activities of different career paths you can take.

We Want Your Input!

We are adding new workshops to help you get ready for life! We want your input on what workshops will be helpful for you -- College 101? Applying for Apprenticeships? Creating a Rockin’ Resume? How to Get a Job? Come let us know what you need and we’ll make it happen!

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Xello replaces Career Cruising

Beginning this year students will be using Xello to complete their High School and Beyond Plans. The Seniors and Juniors have already been introduced to this new learning tool which is "much more fun" and "more user friendly" than the previously used Career Cruising or, so students say! The Sophomores and Freshman classes will soon be learning about and exploring Xello too!

Financial Aid for the Class of 2020

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) opened up on October 1, 2019. Families will report income from their 2018 tax return for students entering college in the fall of 2020. Students planning to attend college at a four year, two year, or technical school, will want to file FAFSA early (in October). Filing your FAFSA is free, and filing early will ensure that you don't miss out on aid that you qualify for. You can get a head start on filing by creating your FSA ID. Both students and parents will need one. Get started and learn more at
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Other Financial Aid Events/Resources

Need more help with Financial Aid?

Here are some great additional resources.

WSUV A-Z of Financial Aid and Scholarship Workshops

These workshops will be held multiple times through December.

You do not have to be planning on attending WSU Vancouver.

Visit the WSUV website for more dates/times.

Class of 2020 Scholarship Opportunities and Reporting Awards

As Seniors receive scholarships and awards throughout the year, the Student Pathways Center wants to know! Use this link to report your great news!

Many local scholarship opportunities are posted on the Student Pathways Center website, do not miss the opportunity to apply for these great scholarships with very small applicant numbers. Scholarships are a fabulous way to pay for colleges, universities and trade schools.

College Representatives Visiting CR this Fall

During the school year many college representatives will be visiting CR. Students have the opportunity to sign up for these visits in the CR Student Pathways Center. These visits are not just open to seniors. Additional visits are being added daily, for the most up to date information see the Student Pathways Center Website:

SAT/ACT Testing Dates

The SAT and ACT are used by college admissions offices in the selection process of prospective students. Students are required to take one or the other as part of their college application. Students may register on-line at and/or

SAT Basic Test $49.50 and with writing $64.50. The test dates are 3/14, 5/2 and 6/6. See their website for more information.

ACT Basic Test $52.00 and with writing $68.00. The test dates are 12/14, 2/8, 4/4, 6/13, 7/8. See their website for more information.

Columbia River will again offer the SAT School Day at no cost to current juniors on March 4, 2020. If students wish to test again, or at another time they should register online using the information above.

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2019-2020 School Calendar

2019-20 school calendar

NOTE: Every Monday from Sept. 9 to May 18 is a 40-minute early release, when school is in session, excluding holidays.

August 2019

Aug. 27 – First day of school

September 2019
Sept. 2 – Labor Day, no school

October 2019
Oct. 11 – In-service day, no school
Oct. 16 – Parent conferences, 2-hour early release – elementary schools only
Oct. 17 – Parent conferences, 2-hour early release – middle and high schools only
Oct. 17 – Parent conferences, no school – elementary schools only
Oct. 18 – Parent conference, no school – all schools

November 2019
Nov. 11 – Veterans Day, no school
Nov. 27-29 – Thanksgiving break, no school

December 2019
Dec. 23 - Jan. 3 – Winter break, no school

January 2020
Jan. 20 – Martin Luther King Day, no school
Jan. 24 – Semester break, no school **

February 2020
Feb. 17 – Presidents Day, no school

March 2020
March 30 - April 3 – Spring break, no school

April 2020
April 16 – Parent conferences, 2-hour early release – all schools
April 17 – Parent conferences, 2-hour early release – elementary schools only
April 17 – Parent conferences, no school for middle and high school only

May 2020
May 25 – Memorial Day, no school

June 2020
June 9 – 2-hour early release**
June 10 – Last day of school, 2-hour early release**

** If schools are closed due to weather, the calendar may change. Snow make-up days, in priority order, are June 11, 12, 15 and Jan. 24.

Vancouver School District – Non-Discrimination Statement

Vancouver School District – Non-Discrimination Statement 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/ADA – Kym Tylelyn-Carlson/Tamara Shoup; Civil Rights and Title IX Coordinators – Human Resources – Kathy Everidge; Elementary – Debra Hale; Secondary – Chris Olsen