Community Problem Solving

Ever Thought About Making a Difference in Your Community?

Community Problem Solving (CmPS) bridges the gap between school and the real world. Students involved in CmPS learn powerful lessons about creating change, dealing with local authorities and organizations, and making a positive impact. In CmPS, students initiate a project by identifying real problems and implementing real solutions in their community – local, state, national, or even global. CmPS projects are student-driven and produce young leaders ready to solve problems they may encounter throughout their lives. Top projects are invited to the International Conference, held each year in June.

CmPS and Project Management

FPS received a grant from the Project Management Institute Education Foundation in 2023. As part of this grant, FPS has created a “Guide to Project Management Implementation in CmPS”. The Guide includes tools to support CmPSers through project documentation and competition. Click here to download your FREE copy >>

Community Problem Solving Students
Why Community Problem Solving?

Community Problem Solving (CmPS) is a component of the Future Problem Solving (FPS) program, in which students initiate a project by identifying real problems and implementing real solutions in a community. CmPS projects are student-driven and produce young leaders ready to solve problems they may encounter throughout their lives.

Community Problem Solving:
– engages students in the real world using independent thought and action
– asks students to apply the problem solving process to real and current problems in their communities
– stimulates critical and creative thinking skills
– fosters collaboration and teamwork
– develops cultural agility
– encourages students to develop a vision for community improvement

Students who complete CmPS projects see many benefits, such as:
– opportunities for real life application of critical and creative thinking
– practice identifying and addressing real problems
– an increase in self-efficacy and agency
– increased engagement in their local communities
– the development of project management skills
– more choice and voice in their own learning
– community service beyond service learning or volunteer hours
– deep, authentic learning and application of the problem-solving process

And importantly, students develop agency through the implementation of the problem solving process within their communities.

The Future Problem Solving Process in CmPS

In CmPS, the Global Issues Problem Solving model is adapted. In Global Issues Problem Solving, another FPS component, students follow a definite linear progression from one step to the next. In CmPS, the process might be considered circular, with neither a beginning or end. The creative problem solving process easily applies to the real world. The steps are adapted as students will use these steps through planning and implementing their Action Plan. Students will revisit the problem solving process many times throughout the project.

How to Select a Project?

In Community Problem Solving, students decide the focus of their project. Coaches assist, guide, and facilitate the discussions and decision making, but do not determine a project’s focus. Student agency is key to successful implementation of Community Problem Solving. This component allows students opportunities to realize their power in creating lasting change within their communities.

Genuine student interest should guide the identification of an issue for a project’s focus. Topics often emerge from personal experiences and a personal connection from the student(s) often improves engagement and commitment.

Guiding Questions While Choosing a Project Focus/Topic:
– Is the topic/area of concern student initiated?
– Is the team inspired to make real change?
– Will this topic sustain our interest for the long term, or the entire school year?
– Is the team passionate about this?
– Do we see a pathway to make a measurable impact?
– Will there be community support for the project?

Choosing a Community Focus:
Students determine the specific community that will be the focus of their efforts. It can vary considerably in size. Coaches can help guide students to determine how to narrow down the scope of the project.

CmPS Project Elements

There are three elements for project completion. Each element builds on or supplements the previous element. All three elements are required for the International Conference. Affiliates may have different requirements for Affiliate Competition.

The Project Proposal: In the Proposal, students analyze their Area of Concern and develop the Action Plan they intend to implement in their identified community.

The Project Report: Students describe the implementation of their Action Plan, and how they adapted their plans as needed, and how they impacted their community.

Supporting Materials: Students complete a Portfolio, create a Promotional Video, develop a physical Display, and participate in an Interview. Students use these elements to creatively present their project in multiple media.

Students are evaluated on each element throughout the Proposal, Report, and Supporting Materials. Student work is evaluated based on the criteria within the scoresheet. The criteria are separated by categories or steps within the evaluated element. Student work will be evaluated holistically for creativity, student engagement, the use of the problem-solving process, and communication.

Our Impact

Global Future Problem Solvers

FPS Students from more than 37 states and 14 countries.

Over 250,000 students globally have participated in the last decade

Over 250,000 students globally
have participated in the last decade!

Promotes Written and Verbal communication skills

Promotes both Written and Verbal communication skills.