Dear River,

The instructional faculty at Columbia River High School just spent two days in professional development. The purpose of the two planning days is for general review of district wide efforts and planning implementation of the “big ideas” on our campus at Columbia River High School. At most schools, this means a review of planning sessions centered on reviewing handbooks and ensuring things like “gum-chewing-in-class rules” are somewhat aligned. In my decade at River, I have seen teachers take a nugget or two of inspiration from meetings and head off to their rooms for set up; bells soon ring and off we go….

This year – in thinking about our usual “back to school workshops” – everyone craved something different. I am pleased to report that well planned and well executed professional learning was delivered and received. The summer’s time out of the classroom, away from “the grind”, has led to deep thinking and reflection (as one would expect of such professionals) of what is possible for our students at River. Our efforts and essential questions remain rooted in ensuring that ALL students experience a sense of belonging and support while we assure equity of access to excellence.

Our teachers are refreshed and focused. We are ready for our first day of school on August 31. We know this start will be unforgettable. We are committed to delivering excellence daily moving forward. I remind you that we have multiple measures in place to ensure everyone’s safety. Beyond this, River is poised to challenge your child’s intellect and ready to provide support along the way in these extraordinary times.

We have a challenging future ahead as we re-model, re-group and re-frame our systems at Columbia River High School and we push ourselves to create – not just a new but a better“normal”. What better time than now and what better place than here?

I thank you – in advance – for your support!


Alex Otoupal,
Principal/Head of School