The Laramie County School District 1 district goal is, "Students will achieve academic success, graduate from high school prepared for post-secondary education, be career ready, and be responsible citizens." Foundational to that goal are the needs of the children of Laramie County for literacy and ethics. The need for children to be literate is obvious, and reading to children and providing them with books that they can read is key. In addition, children today are looking to the culture at large for simple ethical guidance, and many adults are not always setting a good example. Children often have parents that are working multiple jobs or are otherwise absent, while politicians, celebrities and athletes in the public eye often set poor examples for the youth. When tackling simple ethical dilemmas such as cheating or lying, or more complicated issues such as bullying or when to tell an adult, youth need the tools to make the right decisions. Children, like adults, are searching for direction to do the "right thing."
This Literacy & Ethics Project uses a children's picture book to introduce the Four-Way Test, promoting both literacy and character development, to every 2nd grade student in Laramie County, Wyoming. Andy & Elmer's Apple Dumpling Adventure is the story of a young entrepreneur who starts an apple dumpling business, and with the guidance of a mysterious voice of conscience conveying the Four-Way Test, he turns his venture into a wonderful success and makes friends along the way by employing the tenants of the Four-Way Test. Rotarians read these books to second graders in local schools, follow a provided lesson plan to talk about words that might be unfamiliar to students, discuss how we determine what is right and wrong or why people serve in our communities. A paper-back activity book and bookmark are then provided to each student for them to take home. The workbooks allow the students to revisit and engage with the story, and allow parents to discuss the themes of ethics and community service as well. Also provided to each classroom is a copy of the book for students or teachers to read, and a laminated poster for teachers and students to refer to when they need to make "Four-Way Test" decisions.
This 2nd Grade Literacy and Ethics Project is an ongoing project for the Rotary Club of Cheyenne, and is now in its fourth year. Rotary Club of Cheyenne covers students in two of three triads of Laramie County School District #1 and all of Laramie County School District #2; Cheyenne Rotary After Hours Club covers students in the third LCSD1 triad.