The C.O.U.R.S.E.

In 1997, two teenage girls were murdered in Maureen’s hometown of Salem, New Hampshire. Three boys, who were acquaintances of the girls, drove north from a suburb of Boston with the premeditated intention of “seeing what it felt like to kill someone.”

These senseless murders hit close to home for the town’s residents as they felt first hand the horror and confusion that parents in Columbine and other towns across the nation had so recently felt when violence rocked their world. 

Shortly after this incident, Maureen was asked to head up the self-esteem committee of the town’s DAVP (Drug, Alcohol and Violence Prevention program). After reviewing the country’s foremost programs, she realized that there were very few if any programs that addressed the cause of violence among our youth, rather than just the tragic symptoms. So for the next two years she worked closely with teachers in the public high school, as well as with the friends of the girls who were murdered, developing The C.O.U.R.S.E.©


“Self-esteem is not something separate from school performance in reading, math, and social and physical skills. It is an important, integral part of performance.”

– Dr. Stanley Coopersmith, Author, Educator and Researcher

One of the most important factors, and often overlooked key, to successful living is feeling a genuine sense of positive self empowerment. It is the primary element in making appropriate decisions, as well as in building strong character. Only this allows one to lead a happy and fulfilling life. Having a whole and contented relationship with oneself will always be the most important factor leading to success. This alone will increase a students’ involvement and cultivate peak performance. Studies have shown that children who feel better about their abilities, and who expect to do well, perform better in school. Therefore, building self-esteem should not be a secondary, luxury option in school programs, but an integral part of student motivation and learning.

Opening students up to their creativity, interests and talents automatically brings excitement and energy back into the learning process, as well as increased self-esteem and optimism into their lives.

“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.”
~ Albert Einstein

The C.O.U.R.S.E. is a practical, field tested and comprehensive program which translates and expands tools from various highly successful and widely accepted creativity programs Its goal is to open students to their unique potential and promote self esteem.

The C.O.U.R.S.E. is based on four concepts:

  1. Everyone is creative–it is our most basic, innate nature.
  2. Creativity is teachable–or more accurately, it can be relearned.
  3. Anyone can become more authentic and happy by using their creative ability. It is self liberating and allows one to become more “real” which increases their worth and esteem.
  4. Life increasingly rewards creative people who are true to themselves and express that at school, home, and in the community.

The C.O.U.R.S.E. is a workable program of personal excellence, combining forward looking vision with daily achievement. It is a guided encounter with the student’s own ingenuity and one which explores each students’ favorite topic-themselves.

The C.O.U.R.S.E. introduces new tools and ideas each week to help generate creativity as well as achieve more authentic interactions with fellow students, friends, teachers, and, most importantly, their hopes, dreams, and desires.

The C.O.U.R.S.E. combines individual “tasks” with group activities which focus on cooperativeand interactive learning. This continued interaction between students, teachers, and parents while the students explore themselves and unearth their true core serves to bridge the gap, and reduce the perceived separation between them.

Through powerful and practical self-awareness exercises, students discover hidden reserves of power, vision, intuition and passion learning to use them effectively. From this foundation, the students begin to relate more wisely and confidently, regardless of the climate around them, i.e., negative peer pressure, media violence, drug and alcohol abuse, and family difficulties.

The C.O.U.R.S.E. encourages students to develop a personal philosophy of excellence and an inner equilibrium which will sustain them, whatever the future holds.


  1. To instruct students in a form of daily reflection and self-awareness.
  2. To assist them in recognizing and leveraging their strengths to enable them to become more creative and effective in both their school environments and personal world.
  3. To assist them in reframing past failures and disappointments so that they may approach new opportunities from a more emotionally neutral or positive stance


The basic method of instruction is nine week guided experience.

The C.O.U.R.S.E. can either be taught directly to students or used forstaff training (i.e., character development training). The staff training may insure a broader initial impact, as well as allow the staff to more directly adapt the program to the specific needs of their students.

It can be modified to fit into different curriculums or time frames, but all participants will be required to write a daily reflection, and to participate in an additional 2-4 hours a week with a variety of fun, experiential tasks designed to facilitate self-awareness and motivation. These will include: writing, small group discussion, and mental exercises.

Over the nine weeks students will develop an expanded sense of intuition, confidence, and satisfaction.

The C.O.U.R.S.E. curriculum is specifically designed to guide students to a heightened awareness of andappreciation for their own particular gifts and challenges–the basis for enhanced self image and esteem.


The Nine Week Course

Week 1: This is Safe
       Establishing safety and trust within the classroom and mutual support within a group.

Week 2: Everyone’s Unique
       Respecting differences in myself and others

Week 3: Who am I?
       Recognizing and resonating with my best self

Week 4: I can be my best self.
       I am always developing and becoming

Week 5: I really can do or be anything!
       Increasing optimism as a way to embrace endless opportunities

Week 6: I can be happy
       Accepting a sense of abundance and increased joy.

Week 7: I can help others and let others help me.
       Creating a sense of compassion and connection–better understanding of peers

Week 8: I am strong.
       Identifying with a sense of strength and competency.

Week 9: I am part of a good world.
       Connecting with one’s place within the community and the world.

The C.O.U.R.S.E.

Self-Awareness, Creativity, and Leadership Training

The focus of The C.O.U.R.S.E. will be on growth in several areas of personal creativity and authenticity including:

  • The capacity to experience and express a wide range of feelings with liveliness, vigor, excitement, and joy.
  • The self-esteem necessary to expect appropriate entitlements and give reciprocity.
  • The capacity for self-activation and assertion.
  • The ability to acknowledge self-worth and become optimistic.
  • The ability to soothe painful feelings in effective ways.
  • The ability to make and stick to commitments
  • The ability to replace old, familiar patterns of living and problem-solving with new and equally or more successful ones. (This also includes the ability to challenge our own assumptions and diffusing negative memories and feelings.)
  • The capacity to express the real self fully and honestly with another person in a close relationship.
  • The ability to be alone, to honor solitude and to take a personal risk.
  • The sense of personal continuity and “core” self.

The ten keys to personal authenticity are the major components to a healthy real self, and it is our belief that The C.O.U.R.S.E. will help a student grow towards these ideals. It is our additional belief that these capacities represent a set of key skills that will work together to enhance the student’s value to the school and community and to their sense of satisfaction with both school and private life.

To find out more about how to bring this program to your school Contact Axiom