Fiction Novel Opens the Door to Life Skills in La. District
Starting this April, 1,500 eighth graders across nine middle schools in the Ouachita Parish School System in Monroe, La., will learn the keys of character building and life skills through a new pilot program based on a fantasy fiction novel.
Author and leadership consultant Scotty Sanders says he wrote “Quest of the Keys” to teach young adults the importance of developing personal character and life skills, such as dealing with bullying, responsibility, preparation, and critical thinking. “Quest of the Keys” is a story about Decklen, a young man who is on a journey to the fictional land of Leonesse and is given a locked golden cylinder containing an ancient scroll that he must open. Danger follows Decklen and his companion as they search for hidden keys that unlock the secrets to success and determine the fate of an entire kingdom.
“Decklen opens new scrolls throughout his adventure,” says Cheryl Wicker, a publicist for Sanders. “He applies the skills he learns from each of the scrolls to whatever challenge he’s facing. Each chapter presents questions to readers as to how they can apply those same skills to real life problems.”
Don Coker, assistant superintendent of Ouachita Schools, says that piloting the program, which aligns with Common Core State Standards, seemed like a good fit for the district, not only with the positive response from teachers, but also because Sanders is an Ouachita Parish native. And the book’s lessons mark the first character development program of its kind for the district. Students will begin reading “Quest of the Keys” this spring. “We wanted students to read something that will teach life-long lessons,” Coker says. “Good, moral lessons that our students can use as they progress through their academic careers.”
According to Wicker, the program in Ouachita Parish is the first step toward spreading the “Quest of the Keys” curriculum statewide. Schools in Texas, Arkansas, Indiana, and Kentucky have also stated they wanted to implement the “Quest of the Keys” curriculum for middle or high school students.
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