Back to School – August 2019

Greetings River Community!

It is almost Monday, August 5th which marks the official return to work for Vancouver Public Schools Principals.  With the start of a new year, I could not be more thrilled to welcome you to 2019-2020!   I am certain this will be our best year yet!

We have had a very busy summer on campus and in the neighborhood around River.  As many of you know, NW 99th Street – our south entrance to campus- received a face-lift.  The road has been replaced in large patches and smoothed out.  Motorists must always exercise extra caution around school zones.  All too often, bicyclists and community members traveling on foot, inevitably get tangled with cars and this leads to safety concerns and often results in injury accidents.  Please be safe.

As we prepare for our remodel and the resurfacing of campus parking, we will all need to be extra careful and plan for delays as parking is re-assigned for River Faculty and student parking spaces are temporarily reduced.  We will continue to rely on our Faith Based Partners at Columbia Christian Church to assist with our parking overflow to our southwestern corner.

On any given day this summer, we have had roughly 100 students, coaches, teachers and office staff plugging away and preparing for the fall. These groups have been working in the weight room, on the artificial surface in the stadium, on the gym floor and in the Media Center making up coursework.  It has been a summer of grinding and growth.  For me personally and professionally, these groups’ efforts have been an inspiration on a daily basis.  This work will pay off in the fall as we compete and strive to be out best on the field and in the classrooms.

A handful of River Faculty are making transitions this summer — here is a list of new faces / new places this fall:

As announced in June, Tony Liberatore (Associate Principal/Athletic Director) will be moving to Fort Vancouver High School.  Nick Davies will be joining our administrative team.  Previously a math teacher and track/ football coach at Jesuit High School in Portland, Mr. Davies will oversee Athletics, Safety/ Facilities and math as Associate Principal at River.

In July, it was determined that Dave Bennett (College and Career Specialist and Career Related Pathway Coordinator) will be moving to the central office and will serve as Vancouver School District Director of Safety and Athletics.  A replacement for the position at River is yet to be determined.

Richard Taylor (Building Operator) will be moving to the central office as well to serve as Building and Grounds Assistant Crew Leader.  In the short term, Kerry “Hollywood” Grant will be our interim until we determine replacement.

District Resource Officer Parker Ikert (Security) was activated by the National Guard this summer and will be with his unit in the Middle East for the next several months.  We are so grateful for his sacrifice, his bravery and his commitment to the service of our country!  We wish him a safe and speedy return.  We will know the replacement for Parker in mid-August as well.

As you think about and prepare for returning to school, please follow this link to a very general list of school supplies for incoming students.  Some coursework will require specialized supplies and materials. We are committed to ensuring that there is no extra burden on families. We have resources to assist ranging from school clothes, food, and hygiene supplies to pencils and pens. Please let us know your needs and we will connect you with our share closet through our Counseling Center. Special thanks and shout out to our Faith Based Partner Messiah Lutheran for all they give our students and families!

You will recall that VPS high schools will be migrating from the 1:1 iPad experience to the Chromebook this fall.  Faculty will be training and preparing for the transition. Many of you know my mantra:  “It is not the tool; it is the learning”.  Throughout June and July,  I worked with teachers and principals from all over the country through our partners at AVID and The Dynamic Learning Project on the many aspects of digital learning.  I am nearly bursting with excitement about what the future holds for our community of learners at River.

Some reminders for incoming 9th graders and LINK Crew/ Frosh Orientation…. All 9th graders please report to J Hoover Gym at noon on Monday, August 26th.

For those participating in athletics, be sure to register through Family ID.

Please continue to look for more updates from our team at River in the next few weeks. Have a great wrap up to your summer.   I can’t wait to see you on the first day of school  on August 27th!


Alex Otoupal – Principal

Alex Otoupal 2019 CR

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Occasional essays, reflections and information regarding Columbia River High School from the Principal's Office.

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