School Transformation Through a Social and Emotional Learning Based Freshman Seminar

Mr. R. Keeth Matheny, teacher, instructional coach, author, and speaker, Austin Independent School District (AISD), Austin, TX, is a Social and Emotional Learning Model Teacher and has been the driving force behind the creation, implementation, and promotion of AISD’s MAPS (Methods for Academic and Personal Success) program. The MAPS program is designed to support freshmen as they transition into high school by teaching skills to help them succeed in school, relationships, the workforce, and life. Over a four-year period, the MAPS program has helped to reduce freshman course failures at Austin High School by 41%, dropouts by 30%, and discipline referrals by 71%.

Mr. Matheny is a 2015 recipient of a National Dropout Prevention Network Crystal Star Award for Excellence in Dropout Recovery, Intervention, and Prevention. He will be joined on this Solutions program by students from Austin High School.

Viewers of this Solutions program will learn:

  • The value of preventative efforts and why the freshman year is a pivotal moment
  • What Social and Emotional Learning is, and why it is important
  • What MAPS is–the Freshman Seminar and MAPS components
  • Program tips and reasoning
  • What students like best about the MAPS course and lessons

View this student-produced video for a short introduction to the MAPS program and Keeth Matheny.


Brief video from Austin Independent School District on the Methods for Academic and Personal Success (MAPS) program.

COC article by R. Keeth Matheny, with overview of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) and MAPS.  pdf

Article on the importance of the ninth grade year.

Link to meta-analysis on SEL. pdf

SEL pays off 11-1, from EdWeek (study from the University of Columbia).

Link to curriculum Web site used in MAPS course.

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