Collaborative Problem Solving® (CPS) is an evidence-based, trauma-informed practice that helps students meet expectations, reduces concerning behavior, builds students’ skills, and strengthens their relationships with educators.
Collaborative Problem Solving is designed to meet the needs of all children, including those with social, emotional, and behavioral challenges. It promotes the understanding that students who have trouble meeting expectations or managing their behavior lack the skill—not the will—to do so. These students struggle with skills related to problem-solving, flexibility, and frustration tolerance. Collaborative Problem Solving has been shown to help build these skills.
Collaborative Problem Solving avoids using power, control, and motivational procedures. Instead, it focuses on collaborating with students to solve the problems leading to them not meeting expectations and displaying concerning behavior. This trauma-informed approach provides staff with actionable strategies for trauma-sensitive education and aims to mitigate implicit bias’s impact on school discipline. It integrates with MTSS frameworks, PBIS, restorative practices, and SEL approaches, such as RULER. Collaborative Problem Solving reduces challenging behavior and teacher stress while building future-ready skills and relationships between educators and students.
Traditional school discipline is broken, it doesn’t result in improved behavior or improved relationships between educators and students. In addition, it has been shown to be disproportionately applied to students of color. The Collaborative Problem Solving approach is an equitable and effective form of relational discipline that reduces concerning behavior and teacher stress while building skills and relationships between educators and students.
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Collaborative Problem Solving aligns with CASEL’s five core competencies by building relationships between teachers and students using everyday situations. Students develop the skills they need to prepare for the real world, including problem-solving, collaboration and communication, flexibility, perspective-taking, and empathy. Collaborative Problem Solving makes social-emotional learning actionable.
The Collaborative Problem Solving approach integrates with Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) in educational settings. CPS benefits all students and can be implemented across the three tiers of support within an MTSS framework to effectively identify and meet the diverse social emotional and behavioral needs of students in schools. Learn More >>
Our research has shown that the Collaborative Problem Solving approach helps kids and adults build crucial social-emotional skills and leads to dramatic decreases in behavior problems across various settings. Results in schools include remarkable reductions in time spent out of class, detentions, suspensions, injuries, teacher stress, and alternative placements as well as increases in emotional safety, attendance, academic growth, and family participation.
Educators, join us in this introductory course and develop your behavioral growth mindset!
This 2-hour, self-paced course introduces the principles of Collaborative Problem Solving® while outlining how the approach is uniquely suited to the needs of today's educators and students.