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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 Columbia River High School Community:

We are happy to report that we had an extremely successful and energetic Homecoming Week last week. Events were packed into our annual Spirit Week with our theme: Area 51. Athletic teams and activities took us into the late evenings and in addition to some exciting league competitions and wins, we had a wonderful turn out for our Homecoming Dance on Saturday.

River students continue to achieve in the classroom room and this is on display at the Tuesday, October 8 VPS Board of Directors meeting (and noted below in the caption). Students who have participated in the National Merit Scholarship Testing/Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Testing (PSAT/NMSQT) in the 2018-2019 school year have been recognized as they move forward in the Merit Scholarship competitions for their respective classes. We are very proud of their work!

River students in the Class of 2022 have been invited to participate in the School Day PSAT on Wednesday, October 16.

As you plan ahead for the next weeks, please be certain to set time aside to participate in our Fall Parent/Teacher Conferences on October 17 and October 18. Progress reports will be sent home this week and there is no better time to check in with teachers about progress. Please continue to look for more detailed information regarding PSAT (grade 10 only) and conferences (all River students) over the next several days.

Remember that Friday, October 11 is a statewide in-service day. This means that teachers may be participating in professional learning at various locations. There will be no classes and most offices will be closed. The main office at River will be open on Friday, October 11.

Friday, October 18 will be a very busy day at River. In addition to Parent/Teacher Conferences, River will be hosting about 100 esteemed educators at the the regional Northwest Association of International Baccalaureate Schools' fall conference on Friday October 18 and Saturday, October 19. This is a professional learning opportunity for IB teachers from IB schools in Montana, Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska. I am sharing this because we have a chance to showcase our school and our IB Programme. We are certainly grateful for the opportunity and the chance to highlight the outstanding work of our IB Diploma Program Coordinator, Julie Nygaard, and our IB teachers.

Alex Otoupal, Principal

Columbia River High School


Come support the football team on October 18 in our final home game of the season! We will recognize our senior cheer leaders at halftime.

Soccer and Volleyball have big league matches against Ridgefield, today, October 8!

Slow Pitch Softball, combined with Heritage High School, is having a great season. They beat Skyview last night, 7 - 4.

Cross Country will be at the Hole in the Wall Invitational this weekend, where our athletes will have a chance to showcase their improvement this year.

Boys golf and boys tennis both have league districts next week!

Make sure to stay up to date on the schedule by going to and following @ColRiverSports on Twitter.

Go Chieftains!

Nick Davies

Associate Principal/Athletic Director

Columbia River High School

CR's New Football Coach
National Emmy Nomination
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Commended Students in the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program

Arianna Boles and Miles Miranda (pictured above) have been named Commended Students in the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program. A Letter of Commendation from Columbia River High School and the National Merit Scholarship Program was presented to these scholastically talented students by Principal Otoupal this week.

About 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation are being recognized for their exceptional academic promise. Although they will not continue in the 2020 competition for National Merit Scholarship awards, Commended Students placed among the top 50,000 scorers of more than 1.5 million students who entered the 2020 competition by taking the 2018 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

National Merit Semifinalists

The Vancouver Public Schools board of directors will give special recognition at the Oct. 8th school board meeting to three Columbia River High School students who were named 2020 National Merit Semifinalists. Abby Kinney, Noel Sims and Elizabeth Zimmerman are among the approximately 16,000 Semifinalists in the 65th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million that will be offered next spring.

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Congratulations to the following students (pictured above) who scored in the 95th percentile or higher nationally on the PSAT last year in 10th grade. These students have been invited and pre-registered to sit the 11th grade PSAT to support their opportunity to qualify for the National Merit Scholarship. Great job students!

Jillian Allmain

Bridgette Bromell

Jenna Chinn

Rileigh Chinn

Hannah Choi

Devan Cochell

Ellie Davidson

Brady Decker

Dominick D'Emilio

Nathan Gassaway

Grant Geschke

Quinn Goaring

Jasper Klamfoth

Joshua Like

Gracie McGraw

Samantha Myers

Xia Webster

Levi Williams

Jaycee Williams

Maia Wolverton

U.S. Senate Youth Scholarship Award Nominee

CRHS 12th grade student, Noel Sims was recently selected as a nominee for the U.S. Senate Youth Scholarship Award. Students were selected during their AWSL (Association of Washington State Principals) leadership camps this past summer. This is an extraordinary honor!

Nominees will go through an interview process in which two students will be selected to represent Washington State next spring in Washington D.C.. Along with the week long trip, the two winners will receive a $10,000 scholarship. The program and scholarships are made possible by the William Randolph Hearst Company.

Congratulations Noel!

News from Echo Moran-Prince/Prevention Intervention Specialist

October is National Substance Abuse Prevention Month.

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) reports the following facts about drug and alcohol abuse:

  • Approximately 25 million Americans, age 12 and older, are current using illicit drugs.
  • In 2013, an estimated 8.7 million people, or nearly 23 percent of individuals aged 12 to 20, reported drinking alcohol during the past month
  • In 2012, alcohol was a factor in approximately 31 percent of deaths from motor vehicle accidents
  • More than 17 million Americans, aged 12 and older, are classified as dependent on or abusing alcohol.

Prevention aimed at teenagers is particularly important due to the process the brain is going through at this time in life. Neuroscience studies have discovered that the brain is going through a complex development process during adolescence, which lasts until around the age of 25. Evidence suggests that the young prefrontal cortex of the brain, the region responsible for making judgments, is one of the reasons teens are at risk for experimenting with drugs and alcohol. Abuse during this time can have a lifelong effect on the brain’s ability to control impulses.

The earlier a person uses drugs or alcohol, the more likely they are to develop addiction to drugs or alcohol. In fact, NCADD reports that children who use drugs or alcohol before the age of 15 are five times more likely to develop alcohol or drug dependence and addiction issues.

Individuals, adolescents included, with substance abuse problems can also suffer from a dual diagnosis, which is the presence of a mental health condition, like depression or anxiety, along with addiction. Some studies suggest that as many six in 10 people with substance abuse disorder have a mental illness. This can be particularly challenging because regardless of which came first, both conditions make the other worse. Treatment must address both issues in order for a person to gain a strong foothold in recovery.

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If you feel your student is in need of intervention, please contact:

Echo Moran-Prince

Prevention Intervention Specialist

Columbia River High School


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IB Exams

IB Exam Registrations must be completed by October 18.

If you have any questions, contact Julie Nygaard at

Mock Trial

Are you interested in the law? Do you enjoy acting, debate and critical thinking? Are you a mega-fan of shows like Law and Order or Criminal Minds? Do you want to make some amazing new friends and have a blast doing it? Mock Trial is the club for you!

Students are coached by local attorneys Bruce Colven and Emily Sheldrick at least one evening a week to prepare for county competition in February. Mock Trial is sponsored by YMCA and scholarships are available to help pay for competition fees.

The first official team meeting is Thursday, September 26th, in the Gallery, from 6 pm to 7:30 pm.

Questions? Come meet us during the Club Fair, or contact team advisors Ms.
Ferguson,, or Mr. Burton,

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Courts For Kids

Students from Columbia River High School are invited to participate in this year’s Courts for Kids 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: 10/3, 11/7, and 12/5 (Thursdays)

Time: 7 p.m.

Where: The Megabite - 6920 NE Hwy 99

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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 Wednesday, October 16, 2019. 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 complete the OPT OUT form. This is a great opportunity for students to take a version of the practice college admissions exam.

The PSAT will also be open to 11th grade students by invitation only. This group will include 11th graders who had a NMSQT qualifying score in 10th grade and students new to VPS who did not test last year.

10th grade students wishing to Opt Out should use this link: and complete the form.

All registered students and their parents/guardians will receive PSAT practice information and updates via email.

Questions about the PSAT should be directed to Chad Waldman, Assessment Coordinator (

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If your student is a member of the National Honor Society, here are important dates to remember for this school year. Our meetings are held in the Forum 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

November 7

December 5

January 9

February 6

March 5

April 9

May 7

June 4

There is also a concession opportunity on Thursday, October 24 to raise money for NHS activities. Parent volunteers are needed. Time slots range from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.

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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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Great Job Opportunity

If you are a parent or guardian of a student and want a job that matches your child’s schedule, becoming a bus driver is the perfect job for you. In addition to being on the same daily schedule as your student, you will be able to spend holidays and summer vacation together. Please consider starting a great career with a good wage and benefits.

So, if you like to work with children, are a good driver and are looking for a good wage job, please go to VANSD.ORG. Look under the Employment tab for more information. You can apply on-line from home or come to Transportation Bldg and apply on-line with our assistance. If you have any questions or need any assistance with the application process, please call 313-4800. We, here at Transportation, are more than happy to assist you.

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

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

College and Career Center Staff

Career Guidance Specialist-Morgan Parker

Clerk-Cindy Harrington

Changes are coming soon to the CR College and Career Center! Watch for more information coming next week!

Watch for changes coming to the College and Career Center

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

FAFSA Intervention Workshops

During the October 14, 21, and 28 Interventions the CR College and Career Center will be hosting FAFSA workshops. Seniors may sign up to attend any one of these events to start or complete their FAFSA applications.

Financial Aid Night at CRHS

October 15, 2019, 6:00 PM, Gallery at Columbia River High School

This will be a Washington State University A-Z Workshop held at Columbia River High School. You do not have to be planning to attend Washington State University. Parents and students will learn all about the financial aid process.

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Other Financial Aid Events/Resources

Need more help with Financial Aid?

Here are some great additional resources.

College Goal Washington

October 16, 21 and 30, 2019 from 5:00 to 7:00 PM

Washington State University Vancouver Campus

Seniors and their parents have the opportunity to receive one-on-one assistance with their 2020-2021 FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). This is a free event. Students do not have to be planning on attending WSU Vancouver.

See the College and Career Center for more information.

WSUV A-Z of Financial Aid and Scholarship Workshops

These workshops will be held multiple times until December.

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

Visit the WSUV website for more dates/times.

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 College and Career Center. These visits are not just open to seniors. Additional visits are being added daily, for the most up to date information see the College and Career Center Website:

October 9 Washington State University-Pullman

October 10 Eastern Washington University, Western Washington University

October 14 Washington State University-Vancouver

October 16 Multnomah University

October 17 Grand Canyon University

October 21 Carroll College

October 22 University of Washington-Seattle

October 23 Whitworth University

October 25 Gonzaga University

October 28 Linfield College

October 29 Northern Arizona University, University of Hawaii Hilo

October 30 Cornish College of the Arts, George Fox University, Portland Community College

November 1 Montana State University

November 4 Seattle University

November 5 University of Portland, University of Washington-Tacoma, Willamette University

November 6 Concordia University

Portland National College Fair

Sunday, October 27, 2019 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Monday, October 28, 2019 9:00 AM - Noon

Oregon Convention Center, Portland, Oregon

This is a free opportunity to meet one-on-one with representatives from over 300 colleges and universities. Attend workshops about topics like financial aid and other college admission related information. Visit the Counseling/Resource Center to talk to a counselor about choosing a major, financial aid scholarship information, and more. To save time register prior to attending at

Take a friend, parent or event both! Open to all grade levels.

Class of 2020 Scholarships and Awards

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

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 11/2, 12/7, 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 10/26, 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