Columbia Valley Pioneer staff

Helping vulnerable people in crises is a form of education that Rocky Mountain School District #6 is happy to be involved in.

This was a topic of discussion last week by the board of trustees that is lending its support to the new Columbia Valley “Situation Table.”

This group, established in many cities across Canada, is comprised of several front-line agencies that meet once a week to address situations where people find themselves in acutely elevated risk which could lead to harm. 

In Invermere, the RCMP were awarded a start-up grant in the spring of 2023 to create a Situation Table in the valley, where the school district is a participant. The first meeting was held on December 11, 2023.

In a report by director of instruction Sharon Collin, it was noted that professionals at the Table work collaboratively to support individuals and/or families facing risk factors. These could include mental health, addiction and homelessness. 

Collin explained this confidential group can mobilize multi-agency supports (ideally within 24 to 48 hours) leading to the connection of essential services for the at-risk individual or family. She noted the district can present situations (referrals) and interventions impacting individuals within school communities.

“Our presence at the Situation Table takes collaboration to a new level, building trust and strengthening inter-agency relationships,” Collin explained.

It was noted that principals in the Windermere zone will receive one day of training from Situation Table mentors. This training will help principals understand how to gather risk-based data and report to Table when elevated risk is identified.

Other training will involve school officials from Edgewater, Invermere, and Canal Flats.

Collin said the district is grateful to be a partner of a dedicated community committee. She noted that Matthew Chapman, counsellor with East Kootenay Addictions Services Society, serves as chair.

Situation Tables are up and running in various communities such as Penticton, Kelowna, Prince George, Terrace, Hope and Kitimat.