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The Costs (and Benefits!) of Implementing CPS

As every educator knows, implementation of a new program, academic or behavioral, can be a costly endeavor, not only in terms of dollars, but also in terms of time and other resources.  As a result, educators often feel the frustration of being trained in the “latest thing,” only to have the training notebook end up on a shelf gathering dust months later.   Research clearly demonstrates that the typical one-day introductory training, affectionately known as the “train and hope” model, can increase one’s knowledge and skills, but rarely leads to sustainable changes in implementation.  However, adding a coaching component (which typically involves weekly case consultation, modeling, practice, and troubleshooting) can substantially increase the level of implementation (to as much as 75 – 90%  according to Joyce and Showers, 1993).  Of course, adding a coaching component also can add considerable cost.  But does it really?

Recently, when we were conducting a training for the Department of Education in New York City, an audience member raised this very question.  How much does it cost to implement this model in a school or school district in a comprehensive, sustainable manner?  Our response?  Considerably less than it costs to send even one or two challenging students to an intensive out-of-district placement.  According to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the cost of such placements ranges from $32,000/year for a program in a public collaborative, to $51,000/year for a private day program.  Placement in a private residential program can average $105,000/year.  And this doesn’t even include the transportation costs.

Now, to be fair, there are certainly many students who need these more intensive placements.  However, if the implementation of an evidence-based approach such as Collaborative Problem Solving leads to one or two fewer students needing an outside placement, the implementation has more than paid for itself in the first year alone.  And a multi-year implementation project can result in certified, in-house experts who can continue this level of training and consultation in a self-sufficient, self-sustaining manner with little additional outside costs.

If you would like more information about training and consultation cost and availability, please contact us at 617-643-6030.

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