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Collaborative Problem Solving is an effective, transparent, systematic, and collaborative method of conflict resolution. The philosophy behind CPS is:

“Kids do well if they can, if they can’t, we adults need to figure out why, so we can help!”

How does Novitas Academy use Collaborative Problem Solving?

Our staff, here at Novitas Academy believe in the power of solving problems collaboratively with our students. Our goal is to engage the student in problem solving which is solution oriented. Solutions are more durable for our students, and (over time) the child and often the adults as well, learn the skills to effectively communicate in a solution based outcome. This method involves three basic ingredients:

  • Empathy: This involves gathering information from the student to achieve the clearest understanding of the child’s concern or perspective about the unsolved problem.
  • Define the Problem: involves entering the adult/staff concern or perspective on the same unsolved problem into consideration. Now we have both view points; staff and student.
  • Invitation step: Involves having the staff and student brainstorm realistic solutions with the end goal being to arrive with a plan of action that is mutually satisfactory.

What is Collaborative Problem Solving?

Collaborative Problem Solving was developed by Dr. Ross Greene and Dr. Stuart Abilon at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. Novitas Academy is proud to use a modified version to meet the needs of our students and unique environment.

Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) is an approach to understanding and helping children with behavioral challenges. The CPS model views behavioral challenges as a form of learning challenge or developmental delay. Typical children who will benefit from CPS are:

  • Lacking crucial cognitive skills, especially in the domains of flexibility, frustration tolerance, and problem-solving.

The CPS approach teaches students to resolve issues in the future without the intervention from their parents. It builds the kind of collaborative relationships that are key components to effective problem-solving in a boarding school or in a home. CPS keeps things calm, solves problems, and changes lives. CPS blends nicely with our relational approach, heart of peace way of being, ruler approach, and joining with the student to help them reach their goals.


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