Posts Tagged ‘Sweetland School’

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Teaching and Learning Outside

November 17, 2020

You in or out or ?

During the last few months we’ve been hearing about moving the classroom outside since it is safer than being inside during the pandemic. Many teachers patched together how to teach online in the spring, the summer studying how to teach online and simultaneously with students in person. Many are holding their breath that the pandemic doesn’t worsen so they are forced to go full time online once again and I see in the news this morning that is happening in some schools across the state of Maine.

In the Maine Sunday Telegram this past weekend an article was included written by Rachel Ohm about what many Maine school districts and teachers are doing to move learning outdoors. The benefit to students learning visual arts outside are numerous. Close observation for drawing, painting, sculpting and actual experiences with a variety of textures are just two examples that make the curriculum more authentic and engage learners at a deeper level.

PORTLAND, ME – NOVEMBER 13: Katie West teaches an outdoor art class to third graders in the woods at Lyseth Elementary School in Portland on Friday, November 13, 2020. (Staff Photo by Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer)

LYSETH ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

The article includes how art teacher Katie West is using an outdoor classroom at Lyseth Elementary School in Portland. As long as her students are safe she plans to continue teaching outside. Her classroom includes a tarp with waterproof cushions and stumps for students to stay appropriately space. I’m sure some of you are wondering about the winter elements and learners being prepared with the clothing to keep them warm. Fortunately the school district is using some of their relief funds to purchase clothing for students; 500 hats and 1,000 pairs of gloves have been distributed to students. Six-hundred pairs of snow pants are expected to arrive after Thanksgiving. An order of fleece will be cut up into blankets and neck warmers. Katie has received a $1,000 grant to start a gear exchange for the students at Lyseth.

MORE PROGRAMS

South Portland Schools have created over 90 outdoor learning spaces across eight schools for outdoor instruction to take place. The grades K-5 students in Freeport have the option for remote learning with the Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture and the Environment. In Alna the the PK-grade 5 Juniper Hill School has been teaching and learning outside since it was established in 2011 with the school’s focus on nature. At Sweetland School in Hope (where I teach) over the summer a gazebo was built so teaching and learning can take place in a location protected from the elements. Along with the gazebo they have a greenhouse complete with a wood stove that is used for another outdoor learning space.

PORTLAND, ME – NOVEMBER 13: Third grader Gianna Meas works on her painting of a tree during an outdoor art class in the woods at Lyseth Elementary School in Portland on Friday, November 13, 2020. (Staff Photo by Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer)

KATE EHRENFELD GARDOQUI

About a year ago Kate Ehrenfeld Gardoqui wrote an article that was published in Education Week called The Irrefutable Case for Taking Class Outside. She told a story about being at a Teacher of the Year event when someone made this comment to her: “Oh, you do the nature stuff, right? That sounds so fun!” As visual and performing arts educators we can relate to that type of comment, right? Kate works with the Great Schools Partnership and is the cofounder of White Pine Programs, a nature-connection organization in southern Maine. She was a finalist for the 2011 Maine State Teacher of the Year. Needless to say Kate is no slouch when it comes to teaching and learning. She included in her article that teachers who simply don’t know what is taught and learned in outdoor education can’t possibly understand the potential of the curriculum. Her story drives the point home about how we not only have to education children but adults as well.

I heard from Kate yesterday and she said how inspiring the work that Maine schools are doing opening the door to incorporating outdoor learning throughout the school day. She shared information about three schools.

  • Kingfield Elementary, where teacher Selina Green Warren has spearheaded a vibrant gardening program, and principal Johanna Prince has supported many teachers in exploring the possibilities of outdoor learning. LEARN MORE. Selina’s work was started before the pandemic; when teachers at her school started searching for ways to bring learning outside, they realized what an amazing asset Selina’s garden was.
  • Great Works School in South Berwick has also been doing some amazing work on building year-round environments for outdoor learning. Here is an article about LEARN MORE.
  • Kate recently published a blog on the Great Schools Partnership page about some other programs that have been inspiring her. LEARN MORE.

KATE’S WISH

” On the whole, my deepest wish is that one legacy of this pandemic is that more teachers will recognize the incredible value of learning experiences that don’t happen inside classrooms. There’s been so much loss, but I’m hoping that this might be one silver lining.

There’s plenty of resources available for those considering ‘taking your classroom outside’ I certainly agree with Kate and in addition I know that quality education programs in the Arts are not only providing deep meaningful learning but holding the hope in our hearts and minds that we will get through this pandemic and be better people for it!

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Amazing Materials

September 5, 2020

Wicked deals

If you’re an art teacher and can’t make the sale on Sunday but interested in some materials please email me at meartsed@gmail.com.

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‘Tis the Season

December 17, 2019

Kindness all around

I love the holiday season; not because of the gift gifting so much but because there is a spirit of kindness in the air that compares to no other time of year.

Last Saturday I traveled to Augusta to the Veterans cemetery with three Sweetland School learners and a friend. For a couple of years I’ve considered going to Arlington Cemetery in Washington, D.C. to participate in Wreaths Across America Day. Over 1,600 locations across the US, at sea and abroad participate. The mission of Wreaths Across America Day is to Remember our fallen US veterans, Honor those who serve and Teach your children the value of freedom.

I love knowing that the balsam fir wreaths are created and transported by tractor trailers from Downeast Maine. We arrived at 10 a.m. on Saturday in the pouring rain and found about 200 people crowded at the back of a tractor trailer; each person was handed a box of 9 wreaths.

The act of carefully placing a wreath at the head of every other gravestone, saying the deceased name out loud and having a quiet moment felt like the kindness act of the season. Time stood still each time we placed a wreath and said the person’s name. Needless to say I was so proud of the three young people who took the task seriously and ignored the buckets of rain that didn’t let up throughout. As we drove away there was a feeling of peacefulness throughout the landscape.

There are plenty of opportunities to perform acts of kindness during the holidays, alone or with a group. If possible involve young people in the act – we all know how important it is to be kind and to teach kindness. I think there’s no better way to teach it but by example alongside young people. I hope you’ll pause during the holiday and perform an act of kindness in some way. ‘Tis the Season’.

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Education Reimagined

September 28, 2019

Vision

Education Reimagined is all about transforming education. They’ve been carefully proceeding with their commitment that “learner-centered education be available to every child, regardless of background or circumstance.” Twenty eight educators came together to create Education Reimagined with diverse backgrounds who are committed to future of education.

MISSION

SIMPLY PUT, the current system was designed in a different era and structured for a different society. Our economy, society, and polity are increasingly at risk from an educational system that does not consistently prepare all children to succeed as adults and is least effective for the children facing the greatest social and economic challenges. Conversely, the Internet revolution has created a once-in-a-generation opportunity for new approaches to learning. Our growing recognition of the importance of skills and dispositions is also sparking a shift toward expe- riential learning. In short, we see both an imperative for transformation and many promising avenues for re-envisioning the learning experience.

Recently Sweetland School in Hope was featured in online news for Education Reimagined. Sweetland School is a student-centered school inspired by the Reggio Emilia Approach and by educators and artists such as John Dewey, Elliot Eisner, Lily Yeh, Paulo Freire, Howard Gardner, Alfie Kohn, Sir Ken Robinson. Sweetland School aims to remain open and flexible to change and the needs of the current times and community. Lindsay Pinchbeck is the founder and director and also teaches at Sweetland School. She has served on the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative leadership team.

Read about Sweetland on the Education Reimagined website.

Sweetland School

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Argy’s Journey Continues

June 4, 2019

Walking down memory lane

What a joy it has been during the last few weeks to reflect at the 43 years of my educational pathway. I am fortunate to have selected a career that has provided learning experiences that have expanded my thinking and understanding of how individual learners learn and how we are part of a world of learning connections. I have met and worked (and played) with amazing educators from Maine and around the world.

NEXT STEPS

So, where am I headed next? I have many ideas of what I want to do but I’m going to start by building on the natural next steps.

  • I am working towards creating a fund for Maine arts educators and teaching artists to travel and learn. I’ve had amazing opportunities to travel and every one of them has influenced my creative thinking and doing. I want to support educators who have dreams to travel and learn. I know that when a person returns from traveling that it impacts the learning environment which has the potential to plant seeds and open doors for students. I’m working on the idea with big thinkers and funders. Once I work out the details I will ask you to contribute to the fund. If everyone gives a little we can build the fund more quickly.
  • I will be serving as the director of the middle school at Sweetland School, an arts integrated school in Hope. Lindsay Pinchbeck started the Reggio Emilia inspired school five years ago at the Sweet Tree Arts Center. I have served as an advisor to the school and am excited about the possibilities for the students entering middle school. I will support the teaching team and do some arts integrated teaching as well.
  • In 2016 Lindsay and I traveled to Mpamila Village in Malawi to provide teacher workshops on arts integration. Of course, I gained more than I offered and for the last 3 years continued to support the teachers with 8 other educators providing workshops. My work will go on with Go! Malawi, an organization in Maine that was started by a former student. In July 2020 we will guide the Mpamila teachers to create their own workshops to facilitate at a country wide conference.
  • Malawi led to the innovative work of HundrED and I will continue to share innovative work of the organization. I plan to return to Helsinki this fall for the summit and am especially excited about their Youth Ambassador program.

I will continue to blog through the summer on this blog and communicate with the Maine arts education list-serv about the progress of my work. Please communicate with me at meartsed@gmail.com or through the Maine Arts Education blog below.

WHERE I’VE BEEN 

Like anyone in education we know the paychecks aren’t huge but my life has been rich with opportunities. From the ‘ah-ha’ moments of an individual student’s accomplishment to the excitement of a teacher connecting with other educators and everything in between. When I was teaching every day one thing became clear – hanging out in a middle school art classroom was a continuous learning opportunity and I loved it. My students and colleagues taught me and helped grow my skills and passions as a human being. I received so much than I gave. Being part of an interdisciplinary teaching team where visual art was valued by others as much as I valued it was amazing! When I was recognized in 1995 as the Maine Teacher of the Year I realized how fortunate I was to be honored for such humbling work.

When I left my art room after 30 years it wasn’t easy, teaching was what I knew and loved. But the challenge helped me see more clearly that my mission as an educator was taking a turn. My own son said to me: “Mom, your classroom is just going to get a little larger.” And he was ‘spot on’ (as Rob Westerberg says) about that. Once I fully committed to the work at the state I realized that my “teacher lens” was to guide me. I knew what I needed and wanted as a teacher so I honored that and moved forward collaborating with others to make that happen. Visiting hundreds of arts classrooms in schools across the state was an incredible learning opportunity. The visits led to the 1200 member list-serv and daily communication on this blog.

I AM GRATEFUL

Along the way others continued to collaborate and provide support. I am soooo grateful for the many connections, some of which I mention below.

Carol Trimble

Carol Trimble who was the executive director of Maine Alliance for Arts Education (MAAE) was supportive from day one when I arrived at DOE. Together we brought back the state wide arts education conference and I helped with the first state wide arts education census and other MAAE projects. Carol was and continues to be an incredible mentor with a clear mind who can articulate ideas like no one I know.

Many of you remember David Patterson who sadly passed away from cancer in July 2014 at the age of 50. His wisdom and encouragement taught me to believe in the power of communication to form the community. He pushed, questioned, taught and encouraged me every step of the way. This blog wouldn’t be if it wasn’t for him.

Anne Kofler was the elementary art teacher who taught ‘downstairs’ while I taught middle school ‘upstairs’. She inspired me to go the extra mile and made me a better person in so many ways. She continued to support me, after I left the classroom, to take on the ‘big challenges’ and ‘lean in’. All the while herself, taking on cancer, which eventually took her away in May 2016. Her love for using her travels to inspire her students continues to impact me.

Catherine, myself, Rob

Catherine Ring and Rob Westerberg took a chance when I invited them to travel to NH in the summer of 2010 for the New England Institute on Assessment. I am so grateful that they did – I continue to learn from both of them! Together we created the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative (MAAI) by listening to the needs of the field, reviewing the research, brainstorming and planning. The first MAAI leadership team represented PreK-higher education and helped launch the idea without funding in place. There were tears in my eyes when I heard Jeff Beaudry say “we can sleep on the floor and eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches if we have to, there’s no turning back now.” And, launch we did with 18 amazing teacher leaders at Maine College of Art for the 4-day summer institute. At the end of the institute the teacher leaders made it clear that we weren’t moving into Phase 2 without a place for them.

Phase I Teacher Leaders

Since that first summer, the initiative has grown into a strong leadership program, influencing and inspiring, and the shift in assessment practices around the state took hold. When we traveled to Washington, D.C. for the Teach to Lead summit in August 2015 MAAI shifted to the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI). Teachers with high expectations for themselves and a passion for learning – teaching other teachers has been the foundation of the success. Educators willing to share their ideas, use research, build on their knowledge, and support the network has worked well for Maine. Title II funds helped to support the summer institutes, critical friend days, mega conferences, winter retreats, stipends for participants, and statewide conferences over the next several years. The partnerships and associations with the Maine visual and performing arts organizations and institutions has been an enormous part – too many to name all of them. Thank you all!

In 2013 i moved to the Maine Arts Commission and the work (and play) of MALI expanded to include teaching artists and community arts organizations. They have provided a broader view of arts education. We’ve all been enriched by their participation in MALI. Linking arms with the greater community of arts and arts education is another way to support learners of all ages in their educational paths. I am especially grateful to the 108 teacher leaders and teaching artist leaders who continue to do amazing work in arts education and as artists!

There are so many more individuals and organizations to thank but this blog post could go on for pages. The people I mentioned are ‘giants’ and every day I stand on their shoulders and fortunately continue to learn from them!

BEYOND MAINE

Throughout the 13 years at the state I’ve had many opportunities to connect with and learn from others outside of Maine. Presentations and workshops at regional and national conferences about MALI, serving in leadership roles with the State Education Agency Directors of Arts Education and the State Arts Agency Arts Education Directors, and serving on the educational council of the Americans for the Arts have provided me ongoing chances to learn from others.

Mpamila teachers in Malawi

My work in Malawi has been amazing. I originally emailed a former student about her work with Go! Malawi and asked if she could use my skill set. From there the idea developed into creating arts integration workshops. I am forever grateful to Lindsay Pinchbeck who agreed to travel to Malawi in 2016. The collaboration that we’ve formed has influenced all parts of my life. She has definitely made me a better teacher, artist, and person. Spending 10 days providing arts integration workshops for the teachers in Mpamila Village opened my eyes to so much about the world. For the last 3 years we continue to support the teacher workshops and have had 8 educators use their expertise in Malawi. In addition we’ve sewn hundreds of dresses and pants for the children in Mpamila School. This work has taken place with friends, family, and colleagues from all over Maine and in other states across the country. I am so grateful to the many who continue to contribute by sewing and contributing to purchase the materials needed.

Malawi led to HundrED when our Malawi project was selected and Lindsay and I were named Ambassadors for the program. We traveled to Helsinki, Finland last November for the HundrED summit and met people from all over the world doing AMAZING work. The network is expanding and I encourage all of you to check out their site and consider applying to be an Innovator, deadline June 30.

CONTINUE – STAY IN TOUCH

I hope that our paths will continue to cross since my work in arts education will continue. Please feel free to reach out using my gmail address at meartsed@gmail.com. I will be blogging throughout the summer and perhaps beyond. Your work in arts education is critical to continue to make the world a better place. Thank you!

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Sustainability Festival

May 11, 2019

Sweet Tree Arts

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Lindsay’s Helsinki – Part 2

November 20, 2018

Lindsay’s notes

This is the second post about our travels to Helsinki for the HundrED Innovation Summit earlier in November. Yesterday’s post gives you a glimpse. Today’s post, below, was written by Lindsay Pinchbeck who is the founder and director of Sweet Tree Arts Center and Sweetland School located in Hope. Thank you for your contribution Lindsay – in her own words…. 

In 2016 I traveled to Malawi with Argy. 

We shared professional development with 12 teachers from the village of Mpamila and neighboring primary schools. We introduced arts integration ideas and used the arts to learn and build community. The experience was life changing, and pushed me to reconsider my own teaching practice and my daily actions. I continue to believe travel gives us the ability to step back and see with fresh eyes what we knew all along, it allows us to trust our intuition, see new perspectives and build new friendships and new ideas. 

On the flight home Argy and I began dreaming about other places we might travel to keep growing and learning. Finland, the antithesis of Malawi, was on the list. 

Two years after our trip to Malawi (last week), Argy and I had the great privilege to travel to Helsinki for the HundrED education summit. HundrED’s manifesto – 

The purpose of education is to help every child flourish, no matter what happens in life.

In a fast changing world focusing on traditional academic skills will remain important, but that is not enough. To thrive as global citizens, children must be equipped with a breadth of skills.

We were invited to be a part of their Ambassadors program to share our arts integration work in Malawi. 

Discussions around ideas of implementing change and many inspiring projects and innovations were shared. It was a highly positive environment, with passionate educators focused on implementing new practices to engage mind, body and soul in relevant work. A focus on sustainable practices was clear and a strong message of student centered work and listening and responding to our children was heard loud and clear. Many educators shared passionately their ideas to better the world through their efforts as educators. The invented word of the conference was ‘Humblitious” created by HundrED founder and creative director Saku Tuominen. Innovations and Educators were indeed both humble and ambitious.

In my journal I noted down these key questions and ideas swirling around the summit. Notes were gathered from discussions, presentations and panels. Many of the ideas and conversations felt so supportive of my own work in a school and community arts center that honors questions over answers, new thinking, listening deeply, and valuing each experience.

What kind of attitude is needed to make change happen? – Listen, be open, We know so little, don’t assume we know anything.

How can we support every child to flourish? – Always ask this question

What is the purpose of school?- Self discovery and Life long Learning

Honor the past, change with the children, make room for new ideas

Change with the children and listen to the children. 

Every drop of water leads to an ocean of change. 

Humbilitious – Humble and Ambitious ideas. 

I do not assume to believe any of these ideas are easy to put into practice and I do not assume to have the answers but in my own work and practice in the arts and education I know I have grown and continue to grow each day by not knowing the way, reflecting back and trusting the process. More than anything the practice of learning, then relearning and learning again how to listen to the children and valuing them as capable, active contributors to our world is the work that is the most challenging and most rewarding.

Lindsay Pinchbeck can be reached at sweettreearts@gmail.com

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Story Slam

October 25, 2018

Congratulations Kaitlin

The story tellers at Sweet Tree Arts fund raiser at the end of an amazing evening of stories.

Laughter, tears, surprise, wonder – all emotions I felt last Friday night at the Sweet Tree Story Slam. How I got here was the theme provided by Lindsay Pinchbeck, founder and director of Sweet Tree Arts Center and Sweetland School in Hope. Each story was amazing and had the 100 or so folks in attendance sitting at the edge of their chairs. Our own Kaitlin Young, music teacher from Sedomocha School in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Teacher Leader, and Maine’s 2018 Teacher of the Year was amazing as she shared her story of an amazing year.

The event was held in the barn at Hope Orchards – a cozy spot to spend a Friday night after a long and busy week. The tasting of apples, eating and drinking of apple cider and pie topped off the night. The story slam was a fund raiser for the greenhouse that the school is purchasing. If you’d like to contribute contact Lindsay at sweettreearts@gmail.com.

If you’re considering holding a Story Slam with your students or perhaps for a fund raiser go ahead, don’t hesitate – its a great opportunity for learners of all ages. Not to mention a great way to bring community together around a topic on a cozy Friday night!

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Storytelling in the Arts Classroom

August 27, 2018

How might you use storytelling?

At the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Summer Institute “Storytelling” was the overarching theme. It was interwoven in many aspects of the 3 days.

Storytelling session led by Jake Sturtevant and Lindsay Pinchbeck

Falmouth High School and MALI Design Team member Jake Sturtevant and Sweetland School founder and director and MALI Design Team member Lindsay Pinchbeck provided a workshop on Storytelling and they set up a Story Corps tent where teachers could visit during the institute and have a conversation, similar to the National Public Broadcasting Story Corps.

We listened to musician and MALI Teaching Artist Leader Tom Luther tell his story of the stroke he had almost a year ago. He worked his way back and to almost full recovery using a ‘beginner’s mind’ and his music.

Brian Evans-Jones and Kris Bisson

MALI Teaching Artist Leader Brian Evans-Jones and Marshwood Middle School music educator and MALI Teacher Leader Kris Bisson shared their story of their incredible collaboration during the 2017-18 school year where they composed a song about an all but forgotten bridge in South Berwick.

Elementary visual art teacher and MALI Teacher Leader Elise Bothel shared her story and research on self-care tools and how they are enriching her life and positively impacting her teaching.

A panel on Leadership included stories from Catherine Ring, co-founder of MALI and art educator, teaching artist and MALI Design Team member John Morris, MALI Teacher Leaders: music from York Middle School Jen Etter, visual art from Brunswick High School Jenni Driscoll, and music from SeDoMoCha school and Maine’s 2018 Teacher of the Year Kaitlin Young. All unique!

Stories in the Leadership session

In a recent edition of the eSchoolNews from NAfME music educator Lori Schwartz Reichi reflects on her college wind ensemble rehearsal when her conductor would pause to tell a story. She wondered why he would take time out of rehearsal to share details of his personal life.

Years later when she started teaching it made perfect sense to her. The stories her professor told were intentional ‘pauses’ in the rehearsal. READ the entire article and learn more about the power of storytelling in the music classroom. (Storytelling has potential in any classroom)!

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New England Institute Courses

March 18, 2018

Encountering the Arts, Music assessment, G/T 

  • Encountering the Arts: Choice, Voice and Creativity, (hybrid) taught by Lindsay Pinchbeck – April 7 to June 9, 4.5 CEUs
  • Assessment in the Music Classroom, (online) taught by music educator, Jake Sturtevant – April 2 to June 11, 4.5 CEUs
  • Educating Gifted & Talented Learners, (online) taught by Grace Jacobs – April 2 to June 18, 4.5 CEUs

Encountering the Arts: Choice, Voice and Creativity – April 7 to June 9

You can join Lindsay Pinchbeck, MALI Design Team member, in her very own school, Sweetland School in Hope, and learn some wonderful strategies to incorporate into your classroom right away. Sweetland School is s a project based elementary program inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach. Drama, Movement, Music, Poetry, Storytelling, and Visual Arts will be integrated across content areas: Math, Science, Social Studies, Reading and Writing.

Work with colleagues, build relationships, and ask questions of the professor, in person, for two Saturdays and have the convenience of doing the rest of the coursework online. Encountering the Arts: Choice, Voice and Creativity is one such hybrid course.

Assessment in the Music Classroom – April 2 to June 11

This online course taught by music educator and MALI Design Team member Jake Sturtevant provides looking closely at assessment practices through a collaborative and fine-tuned lens. It can provide unique opportunities for growth. Connecting new assessment practices to instruction can bring exciting changes to how we approach our students and their learning.

Participants will discuss how best to apply recent music assessment work to their own unique situations in their own school music programs. This will lead them to create a personalized plan for implementing new strategies. Assessment in the Music Classroom will provide a great opportunity to look closely at assessment practices.

Educating Gifted & Talented Learners

This introductory course provides foundational information relating to the field of gifted and talented education (i.e. history, laws, etc.), details characteristics of gifted students from various populations, describes how such students are identified and assessed, and presents up-to-date, research-based pedagogy relating to curriculum design and instruction.

It may be applied toward the 690 (Gifted & Talented) endorsement for the State of Maine teachers. Join Grace Jacobs for this Educating Gifted & Talented Learners online course.

If you have questions contact Catherine Ring, Executive Director, New England Institute for Teacher Education.

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