Columbia River High School

Columbia River High School
Columbia River High School
Vancouver, Washington, United States
Coordinates 45°41′38″N 122°40′44″W / 45.694°N 122.679°W / 45.694; -122.679Coordinates: 45°41′38″N 122°40′44″W / 45.694°N 122.679°W / 45.694; -122.679
Type Public 4-year
Established 1962
Principal Christina Iremonger
Staff 122[1]
Enrollment ~1300
Mascot Chieftain
Colors Purple and Gold
The main entrance of Columbia River High School

Columbia River High School is a public high school in Vancouver, Washington, United States. It is part of the Vancouver School District (VSD). The school was opened to students in 1964. Columbia River has over 1,300 students.[2] Columbia River is a magnet school in the VSD for the International Baccalaureate Program.



In September 2006 the Vancouver School District announced the names of students who earned recognition as National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists. Of ten recipients, nine were students at Columbia River.[3] Two students were recognized as semifinalists in September 2007.[4]

In June 2010 Newsweek magazine listed Columbia River High School in its annual list of “America’s Best High Schools,” which includes 1,600, or about 6 percent, of the nation’s high schools. CRHS was listed 1,573rd nationally and 32nd out of 32 high schools listed in the state of Washington.[5]


As of 1 October 2006, 1317 students attend Columbia River High School. Of all students enrolled, 1183, or 85 percent identify themselves as White; 80, or 6 percent identify themselves as Asian; 56, or 4 percent identify themselves as Hispanic; 31, or 2 percent identify themselves as Black; and 15, or 1 percent identify themselves as American Indian. Among all grade levels, 16 percent of students are eligible for federally subsidized lunch. One student is enrolled in the English Language Learning program and 132, or 9 percent of all students receive Special Education. English is the primary language spoken at home for 95 percent of students. It is followed by Spanish, Vietnamese, and Russian, which are each spoken by 1 percent of the student body. Of all students, 35 percent are enrolled on boundary exceptions.[2]

Compared to the Vancouver School District high school populace as a whole, Columbia River students are more white, more likely to speak English at home and less likely to be eligible for subsidized lunches.[6]

Standards-based Assessment

In Washington state, the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) is administered annually to students in the tenth grade. For testing administered in spring 2006, 91 percent of Columbia River students met reading standards, 68 percent met math standards, 90 percent met writing standards and 50 percent met science standards.[7] This compares favorably to the District pass rates of 80, 48, 78 and 30 percent for each of the respective subjects.[8]

Columbia River passed in all areas of Adequate Yearly Progress.[9]

According to the most recent School Improvement Plan for Columbia River, a large achievement gap exists in WASL results between races. For example, 90 percent of Asian students passed the math section of the 2003 WASL; this compared to a 46 and 21 percent pass rates for White and American Indian students respectively.[10] Results for Black and Hispanic students are not reported.



Chieftain Stadium hosts all home football games

The Columbia River Chieftains teams play in the Greater St. Helens 3A League. In 2007, the football team won the 3A Greater Saint Helens League Championship. The 2007 3A GSHL Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year were both Columbia River football athletes.

Cross country

The boys' 1965 (Fall season of 1964) and 1971 (Fall season of 1970) cross country team coached by Lee Cave won the State Cross Country Championships and were a power in the State until 1984. They later won academic state championship in 2001. In the same year the girls team won the district championship and placed third at state.[11]

Track and field

The Columbia River boys track team placed second in the combined able-bodied and wheelchair category at the 2007 WIAA 3A state track and field championships. The Columbia River Girls track team won the three A state championship in 2010


Columbia River won the 1984 Washington State 3A championship headed by coach Curt Daniels.

They also won the State Championship (3A) in 1989. Columbia River was the runner up in the 1986 Washington State 3A championship and also in the 2004 and 2005 Washington State 3A championship. Currently the Chieftains have won back-to-back district titles in 2008 and 2009, placing top 16 in the state in 2009. In 2010, the Chiefs went 18-8 making it to the Final Four in the 3A State Tournament held at Safeco Field. They played league rival Camas High School in the state semifinals, losing 3-2 on a game winning double in the bottom of the 11th with 2 outs recorded.

Fastpitch Softball

Columbia River won the 1992 and went back-to-back in the 1996 and 1997 Washington State 4A championships. Columbia River were runners up in the 2005 Washington State 3A championship.


Columbia River won the 1969 and 1986 Washington State 3A championship. Columbia River were runners up in the 1979 Washington State 3A championship.


Columbia River won the 1991 4A and 2000 3A Washington State championship. Columbia River were runners up in the 1981, 1982, 1987 and 1989 Washington State 3A championship and also in the 2002 Washington State 3A championship.


Columbia River won the 2009 3A Washington State championships with coaches Alicia Green and Allison Sparrow. In 2010 they won 2nd place at the 3A Washington State Championships, and in 2011 took 3rd.


In the 2009-2010 school year, the Chieftains won the girls 3A soccer state championship.

Columbia River in the News

Columbia River gained national media attention in December 2002 after a visit by Washington senator Patty Murray. In a question and answer session with the class of teacher Gary Lorentzen,[12] Sen. Murray stated: "We've got to ask, why is this man so popular around the world?" referring to Osama bin Laden, "Why are people so supportive of him in many countries that are riddled with poverty?" She elaborated that bin Laden had been "out in these countries for decades, building schools, building roads, building infrastructure, building day care facilities, building health care facilities, and the people are extremely grateful. We haven't done that." The remarks later became a political issue in her 2004 race against Republican challenger Rep. George Nethercutt.[13]

Capturing Solar Energy

Solar panels were installed at Columbia River High School on May 26, 2010. The panels were purchased by a grant through the Clark Public Utilities Green Lights Program. Under peak sun conditions, the panels will produce 2,160 watts of power. Under typical Vancouver conditions, this relates to 2,400 kilowatt hours per year.[14]

Notable Faculty

  • Al Bauer - former Washington State legislator.
  • Lee Cave - Washington State Coaches Association (WSCA) Hall of Fame for Cross Country (1981) & Track (1996); coached two state champion Cross Country teams (1964 & 1970).
  • John McKibbin - former Washington State legislator.

Notable alumni


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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