Collaborative Problem Solving


Students find success at Cherry Gulch Academy because of our collaborative learning approach. They explore topics and content in ways that appeal to their strengths and creativity. Our experienced teachers have combined aspects from several research-based approaches to learning to create a unique flavor. As a result, our students learn to be critical thinkers and learn how to learn.

What is Collaborative Problem Solving?

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

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.

How does Cherry Gulch Academy use Collaborative Problem Solving?

Our staff believes 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 long-lasting for our students. Over time, the children and the adults often learn the skills needed to effectively communicate in a solution-based outcome. This method involves three basic ingredients:

This involves gathering information from the student to achieve the clearest understanding of the child’s concern or perspective about the unsolved 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.

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.

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