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Sections > Programs and Student Services Report > PSS Report: October, 2011
PSS Report: October, 2011
Published by Marjorie Graham [Marjorie Graham] on 11/28/2011 (2194 reads)
PSS Report: October, 2011


Director, Susan Kelley

September has been a busy month with staff adjusting to new and additional assignments. In elementary programs the early literacy teachers have had several professional learning sessions and they are working with students and teachers in our elementary schools. The Math consultant and mentor are working with teachers looking at data and providing new resources.

The grade 3 students across the province wrote the Early Language Literacy Assessment (ELLA) last week and the grade 6 students will be writing the Elementary Literacy Assessment this week. Work continues to support students who do not meet expectations on the provincial assessments.

All principals met on September 28th at the NSSDC. Topics for discussion at this meeting included new and updated policies, AESOP, the Attendance and Engagement Pilot, PowerTeacher and a session on accessing SAP.

This year we have 11 schools awaiting the accreditation team. The Department of Education has assured us that they will assign someone to do these visits this fall. On September 23rd a workshop was held for the principals and co-chairs for the 8 schools that have re-entered the NSSAP and are once again examining data to determine where they should focus their improvement goals for this cycle.


Cathy MacNeil, Coordinator

Language Arts Consultant P-12 Audrey Kyte-Murphy and Early Literacy Coach Susan MacDonald

An Early Literacy professional development session was provided to our elementary teachers on September 2 with a focus on some key understandings and beliefs from ‘Catching Readers Before They Fall’.

On September 6 & 7, Cathy Cotton facilitated a session to familiarize teachers with Leveled Literacy Intervention. For teachers North of Smokey who were unable to attend this session, on September 12 Audrey and Susan spent the day at Cape Smokey School with the early literacy teachers from Cape Smokey and North Highlands Schools. Cathy Cotton will also facilitate a session on September 29 & 30 for grade one teachers to discuss the Early Literacy Resources purchased by the province to support early literacy initiative.

The first afternoon session with our Early Literacy Teachers was held on September 23 with an emphasis on “Knowing Our Readers”. Audrey and Susan met twice this month with Cathy MacNeil, Programs Coordinator, to talk about concerns and questions regarding the Early Literacy Support-September 21 & 26.

Audrey met with the Speech Language Pathologists to update them on the organization and delivery of the early literacy support initiative. Audrey informed the group of the oral language kit placed in each primary class in our Board.

Looking forward to October, early literacy professional development will be held at Ferrisview Elementary on October 20.

Mathematics Consultant P-12, Arlene Andrecyk

Marlene Urquhart, Math Mentor, has been in contact with elementary teachers, focusing on providing math resources to teachers as needed. She has also been visiting elementary classrooms and observing student learning to see where resources can best be allocated. She met with Craig Seward, Literacy Support, to discuss the importance of literacy in the mathematics classroom and to develop helpful strategies for mathematics instruction.

Marlene has been updating the Board math websites to keep teachers updated on current CBVRSB and Department of Education initiatives and resources that are available. She has been organizing the Board’s library of mathematics mentoring resources so that she may be able to connect teachers with the materials they need. Marlene will be contacting teachers new to their grade to offer support.

Arts Education Consultant, Lesley Ann Andrews

Arts educators met as a group on September 14 to share information, connect with peers, receive important information, and new resources.

A project is planned in coordination with schools, staff and students in the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board and the Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design, ArtReach and ArtSmarts programming. Students will be involved in creating artwork based on artist Jacques Huburtisse, who is a resident of Cape Breton. This project will culminate in an art exhibit of both student and artist work at the CBCCD in February/March 2012.

ATA/EDANS (art and drama) conferences will take place in Halifax and the NSMEA (music) conference for teachers will take place in Antigonish in October.

New grade nine curriculum in the arts has now been released from the Department of Education. Courses in Band Instruments 9, Exploring Music 9, and Visual Arts 9 are now available. Resources will be sent to schools from the Department of Education with professional development taking place in November.

Library Services Consultant, Carmelita Cousins

WOW Reading Challenge/Adopt-A-Library

Preparations are underway for the upcoming reading challenges. The Elementary Challenge is from November 14/11 to April 6/12 and the Junior High Challenge runs from January 23/12 to March 23/12. Recently, the Provincial Committee of Adopt-A-Library held their meeting at Florence Elementary to review the rules and guidelines. An executive was elected with Carmelita Cousins serving as Vice-Chair, Gord Hankin (New Glasgow) Chairman, Janice Caviglia (MK Literacy Consultant) as Secretary, as well as representation from the Cape Breton Regional Police, the Cape Breton Regional Library, and a high school teacher. Copies of the revised rules/guidelines will be distributed in early October with an invitation for registration to begin on October 1, 2011 for the elementary division; secondary schools will receive their invitation in early January and will receive their copies of the rules at that time.

This year all participating schools will receive a more comprehensive package at the start of the challenge. This package will include the rules, FYI information brochures, as well as examples of logbooks (elementary) and retelling sheets (junior high). Schools will have more flexibility in their method of recording and validating the books that have been read. One major change that affects the elementary schools is: for every 50 pages a student reads in a chapter book will count as one book; a reduction from 100 pages/chapter book in previous years. This change allows for students whose reading level is low to feel more motivated to participate. Also, all schools will be responsible for their own data entry of their numbers and if a school does not record the numbers on a regular basis, they will be eliminated from the competition. Prizes/incentives will be available throughout the challenge at determined dates/times, and there will be no delivery on an individual basis. As well, as the number of schools will likely increase, the frequency of the prizes given to schools may also diminish. As well, the decrease in “freebies” also enables the warehouse to remain stocked to an acceptable level in the event that the supplies from publishers begin to dwindle.

On October 15, 2011, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., there will be a fund raising event in support of the AAL program at Wal-Mart (Spar Road); no longer called a “Boot Drive”, but has the new name of “Wal-Mart Literacy Day”. This is the first time the Spar Road location will be hosting the event, and another will be planned for the Sydney River location at a future date. The Cape Breton Chapter of the AAL project has submitted approximately six applications for external funding and no grants have been approved at this time. External funding would decrease the local fund raising efforts and also bring in new partnerships to the project.

Active Healthy Living Consultant, Mary Lou Andrea

Preparation is under way for the third segment of training for grade nine Healthy Living teachers on the Fourth R. Fourth R initiatives use best practice approaches to target multiple forms of violence, including bullying, dating violence, peer violence, and group violence. By building healthy school environments, the Fourth R provides opportunities to engage students in developing healthy relationships and decision-making to provide a solid foundation for their learning experience. Increasing youth relationship skills and targeting risk behavior with a harm reduction approach empowers adolescents to make healthier decisions about relationships, substance use and sexual behavior.

Dietician, Debbie Madore

Breakfast Program

All of our schools are coming on board for a new year of breakfast programs. The biggest challenge is organizing volunteers as they are the workers for the program. At this time over eighty percent of schools are up and running for breakfast/snack programs. Sydney River Elementary continues to operate as a snack program, and this seems to work well for them. Shipyard has requested the fruit for snack in addition to the breakfast program, which has been accommodated.

Health Promoting Schools

The same level of funding has been received from Department of Health and Wellness for HPS money. Applications have been made available for schools to complete, with September 30 as the due date for submission.

Golf Tournament

The date for the next golf tournament is June 22, 2012. A meeting was held at the lakes on September 12 for a review of the 2011 tournament and plans for the 2012 event.

Secondary Program Services (7-12)

Debbie McIsaac, Coordinator

Mathematics (7-12) Consultant, Arlene Andrecyk

On September 14, 2011, all high school Math Department Heads had a full day session at the Staff Development Centre. Principals attended the first part of the morning. Debbie McIsaac, Coordinator of Program Services (7-12), and Lynn Crawford, Coordinator of RCH and Assessment were present. Debbie McIsaac discussed the importance of consistency and collaboration among the teachers of the school math department, particularly among teachers teaching the same math courses. Lynn Crawford emphasized the value of these meetings for learning and sharing. Each Principal and Math Department Head were given the 2011 NSE provincial results, board results and individual school results in Math 12 and Advanced Math 12. They were asked to discuss how teachers and students involved in this assessment process can continue to be supported.

During the latter part of the morning, Lennie Comeau, Mathematics Evaluation Coordinator, Nova Scotia Department of Education facilitated a session on the NSE Math. He outlined the results in the boards across the province.

Arlene Andrecyk asked Math Department Heads to have a meeting with the math teachers in their departments to examine the NSE school results, and to emphasize the value of collaboration, consistency, cumulative testing and reflection. She offered to meet with any of the math departments particularly if there were any questions or concerns.

On September 19, all grade 8 math teachers, both French and English, participated in a full day workshop at the Staff Development Centre. Debbie McIsaac, Coordinator of Programs (7-12) welcomed the teachers and told them that she plans to be visiting classrooms. Sharon McCready, Mathematics Strategy Consultant, Department of Education, facilitated the morning session. Teachers were engaged in hands on activities that explored the progression of fractions from primary to grade 7. Sharon McCready gave each teacher resources developed provincially. The feedback was very positive.

In the afternoon, Math Mentor, Marlene Urquhart, did an information session on the Grade 8 Mathematical Literacy Assessment which will take place on June 5-6, 2012. Arlene Andrecyk, Math Consultant, led a discussion on continued support for students that did not meet expectations on the Elementary Mathematics Literacy Assessment (EMLA).

Community-Based Education/Options & Opportunities Consultant, Rhonda Smith

Options & Opportunities:

The Options & Opportunities (O2) program continues to be offered in four high schools: Sydney Academy, Breton Education Centre, Cabot High and Glace Bay High. The students will explore many career options over the next three years. One option is the Nova Scotia Community College. The O2 student can have a preferred seat at any campus by completing several milestones over the course of the three year program. This month, the Community-based Learning consultant and the College-Prep coordinator from Marconi Campus are visiting O2 students in each of the high schools to review opportunities at NSCC and what milestones need attention this year. As a follow-up, the students will visit Marconi Campus for a day on October 12, 13 and 14.

Co-operative Education:

This year co-op continues to be offered as a credit in three of our high schools as well as an integral component of the O2 program. The schools offering co-op as a credit are Riverview, Memorial High and Sydney Academy.

Summer Co-op

This past summer funding support was given by English Program Services to offer students an opportunity to complete a co-op credit during the summer months. There were nine students involved in the Building Futures program and eleven students from Sydney Academy and Memorial completing co-op credits.

Skilled Trades Integration (BEC):

Transportation Trades 11 will be piloted second semester at Breton Education Centre as a component of the Skilled Trades Centre. A PD session on the delivery of TT11 was held on September 12 and 13.

Nova Scotia International Student Program Manager, Kevin Linden

The first two weeks of student adjustment has gone well for our international students due to our dedicated homestay coordinators and school liaison teachers within our district. The homestay coordinators held greet and meet sessions at their homes over the last two weeks to welcome each group of students. The school liaisons have been busy organizing school activities and buddy systems.

On September 16-17th students spent an overnight orientation session at the Inverary Inn, Baddeck. This included sighting seeing of the town, sailing adventure on the Amoeba as well as a kite making session and tour of the Bell Museum. Orientation sessions dealt with issues focusing on culture shock, rules of the program, medical claims, cultural identity of Cape Breton as well as the program review for the year. Many local businesses assisted us in providing information on our community as well as gift certificates for the students. Students received fanny packs, hats and T-shirts from the NSISP. Upon the completion of the program students and chaperones engaged themselves in a picturesque hike of the Uisge Ban Falls.

In October there are two cultural trips planned to Toronto, both are organized through the NSISP. Students will tour Casa Loma, Ontario Science Centre, CN Tower, and the Toronto Zoo. This trip will include an NHL Hockey Game on one of the five days. This year the NSISP added the second trip due to the high number of students who partake in the educational trip from across the province. Our program manager, Kevin Linden will attend the second tour as a male chaperone.

Upcoming educational experiences include an organized Edu Nova Tour of Cape Breton University as well as other university choices here in Nova Scotia. There is an activity day planned for the students in November in conjunction with this tour.

NSISP 449.jpg

French Second Language Consultant, Laurie MacIntosh

French Second Language programs have witnessed increased enrolments this year, especially the junior high Late French Immersion program. There has been strong support for all French programs from the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board, parents, students, and the Nova Scotia Department of Education. The Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board offers grade six Intensive French at four sites this year as well as Core French experimental classes (literacy strategies) at six sites. Teachers involved in these programs have all undergone training and have access to Celeste Foisy Lahey and Laurie MacIntosh as mentors. The first Core French experimental class workshop will take place in Whycocomagh on October 11.

Two students (Sarah Cameron and Sarah Keough from Riverview Rural High) will participate in the Nova Scotia-Québec Student Exchange Program this year. This exchange offers an opportunity for senior high school students to engage in real life interactions in a French community so as to enhance his/her understanding and appreciation of the French culture and at the same time develop strong French communication skills.

Several Professional Learning Communities will continue meetings this fall. PLCs have been established to support both junior high and senior high French Language Arts teachers. Laurie MacIntosh, French Consultant, is supported by Suzanne AuCoin, Teacher Leader (Malcolm).

Two French Second Language pilots will be carried out in the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board this fall. Suzanne AuCoin along with Laurie MacIntosh attended a training workshop in Halifax on September 14. Suzanne will pilot “Littératie en Action” in grade nine French Language Arts. Sean Duggan (MacLennan) and Claudette Cordeau (Rankin) will pilot new resources with our junior high French experimental classes.

Vocational Education Consultant, Ken Collier

Registrations are completed for the vocational programs and we are looking forward to another successful year. Meetings with all the classes are presently taking place. These meetings explain the commitment that is needed for students enrolled in our vocational programs, and the expectations that we have of the students. We find that this is an excellent way to begin the school year.

Discussions are taking place with General Motors of Canada regarding the donation of a used vehicle to our Motor Vehicle Repair Program. This vehicle will allow the instructor to teach and demonstrate areas of the curriculum without the pressure of having to return the vehicle to its owner. We are hoping to have an agreement this week.

Plans are underway for the Skills Nova Scotia Competitions taking place in the new year. These competitions give our students the opportunity to showcase their skills, and possibly represent our province at the national competitions. Dates still have yet to be established. We are anticipating another successful year.

A meeting was held with the contractor who will be installing the dust collection systems in our school. The preliminary work will start this week with the installation of the ductwork. The units themselves have not yet arrived, however we are hoping that they will be here soon.

Students from the Radio and Television Broadcasting are preparing for two upcoming events at the Membertou Trade and Convention Center. Students will be participating in the Disco Ball fundraiser and the Travis Tritt concert. These events allow our students to obtain very valuable experience in their field of study. Three students from last year’s class worked the Steve Earle and BTO concerts earlier this month.

English Second Language – Millie George

The ESL support consists of written, oral, and communication English skills. Students are also given support with their classroom assignments and tests. The number of students requiring ESL support has been increasing over the past number of years due to the increase in the number of international students and newcomers. The students are at varying degrees of English proficiency.

In September all the ESL students will have written the Oxford Placement assessment which includes two sections on reading comprehension. Students will also do writing and communication assessments to see at which level they are presently. The assessments are repeated at the end of each semester. This assessment is used to assist with developing lessons that will help support the students in the ESL classroom and the various disciplines.

ESL Teacher, Patsy MacQueen

The base school for the ESL program is now Shipyard Elementary and the materials/resources have been relocated from Sydney Academy. The wide range of elementary material made available at Shipyard has made planning and preparation for this level much easier and more efficient. It is greatly appreciated!

Files of returning students have been updated and testing of new NSISP students was underway almost immediately. The programs for many of our returning students have begun. ESL school packages and letters of introduction have been distributed to almost all schools /students. While waiting for the survey results, I visited most schools where I thought there would be returnees. Even if all names are not submitted, knowing which schools I will be servicing allows for a more accurate, if not exact, “first” schedule. Not all of the schools have returned the ESL Survey, so my schedule is still being finalized. To date, I will service a total of 40 students, from 13 schools across our board, all but 7 being Newcomers!

Millie and I agreed to continue with the division of schools/students as was in place last year. Millie George will service most high school students, while my concentration of students will be from the junior and elementary schools. Again, this leaves Millie with the great majority of NSISP students, and a larger range/number of schools for me. The huge geographical area involved, as well as many conflicting school schedules to work around, is a scheduling challenge, to say the least. As well, the 6-day cycle does not fit with the high school’s 4-day cycle, but we work around this as best we can. I try to explain, as do the teachers, that ESL cannot be every day.

On September 22nd, a meeting of ESL teachers and consultants was held. Sonja Stewart, EAL/ESL consultant with the Halifax board, delivered the new handbook called Newcomers’ Guide to Nova Scotia Schools. This book is meant to help parents understand our education system and its expectations. This book should be distributed to principals and will be translated into other languages. When translated into another language, this handbook should alleviate one of the most frustrating situations for classroom teachers of Newcomers. Many have voiced their concerns/frustrations when trying to communicate information to the parent/s of Newcomers. Often these parents do not have the language skills to understand information concerning the school, their child, etc. Ms. Stewart also shared some of the implications increased immigration is having/will continue to have, on schools and programs in Nova Scotia. Ms. Stewart also clarified the use of EAL (English as another language), ESL (English as a second language), and the dual name EAL/ESL, currently used. My understanding is the department will be adopting EAL, but the dual name is a bridge to lessen confusion.


Rick Simm, Coordinator

Assistive Technology/SIS-TIENET Consultant, Sheila Kublek

The first couple of weeks in September were busy ensuring that new students entering the school system and students transitioning to new schools had appropriate hardware and software in place. The assistive technology consultant would like to acknowledge the support from our Operations department in building a variety of adaptive equipment for several students.

During the summer months all high schools were upgraded to Kurzweil v. 12 Web License. The web license will allow both students and teachers to access this software outside of school hours and school environment. Professional development is planned for the schools at the end of September 2011. As well, all grade five and six classes at the elementary level had one license of Co Writer 6 installed on one computer in each classroom. All resource and learning disabilities rooms received two licenses of Co Writer 6 on computers. Professional development for this software will take place with all elementary resource and learning disability teachers early in October.

A degree of on line support has been provided to schools for the Support for Students database. Most of the support revolved around teacher access and transitioning of students.

As a result of TIENET meetings late in August all provincial TIENET facilitators were requested to collaborate on a provincial adaptations template. The collaboration took place through online conversations and sharing of electronic documents.

IEI Consultant, Tracie Collier

The IEIE focus for the 2011-2012 School year is Grade 5 teachers in the CBVRSB. Classroom Desktops are currently being upgraded. Pilot projects utilizing Net books in Grade 5 classrooms are also a focus of the IEI project this year. Organizing the Professional Development plan for Grade 5 teachers is a priority for September.

IT PD/SIS Consultant, Kurt Kublek

All schools in the CBVRSB are now using Power School as their Student Information System. Our 14 Phase 1 schools are running well and the Parent Portal is Open. Phase 2 Schools are adjusting well to the change and are accessing support to assist with this transition. The SIS team provided voluntary Professional Development and/or assistance with School setup for 3 days in August and is currently fielding questions from School personnel.

Adult High School, Heather Patterson, Principal

We are off to a very busy start to the school year and increased interest in the Adult High School program. Incremental funding has been received from the Department of Labour Advanced Education to allow for a teacher to organize and plan job readiness training. This is the second year we have received the funding and with the loss of a teaching position in the program, it has allowed all four sites to remain in operation. Without extra money students from our BEC location would have to have been relocated to another site or referred to NSCC ALP to further their studies.

The New Waterford site is reduced to one teacher from two to handle the mix of 25, new and returning students. We have four teachers in Glace Bay and Sydney respectively and two in our Northside site. The Sydney enrollment is very high and more desks had to be brought in. We continue to struggle with space limitations in the rented Southend Community Centre and classes are at their maximum physical space right now in that building.

I am meeting in early October with the Department of Labour and Advanced Education acting director, Michelle Thomason who is coming to Sydney to discuss the new Adult Education Act and various issues at play in the province regarding adult programming. I will report on that meeting in my next report.

Adult Evening Program

Registration was held last week over four nights in Sydney, Glace Bay, New Waterford and Sydney Mines. We have lost our woodworking classes this year because of restrictions to the use of Southside Learning Centre facilities. I would hope that a new home could be secured for February classes since it is a very popular class. Registration was very strong for Math 12 and Chemistry 12. A second class was set up for the math with one class running from 4 to 6:30 pm followed by the 6:30 to 9:00 class. We do not have space in our Adult High in Sydney to offer more classes as all nights are fully occupied. Credit courses and GED preparation classes begin on Monday night and general interest and computer classes begin the first week of October.

After discussion with Susan Kelley and Arlene Andrecyk regarding the gap in student knowledge when it comes to taking Math 12, new criteria has been set up and a Math Refresher has been developed. Students who need Math 12 to further their post secondary studies now will have the opportunity to refresh their math knowledge and skill in this 10-week course before tackling the strenuous curriculum of academic math 12. We are testing this course starting in October with a small class and will assess its potential as it works along. The night school math teachers are meeting with Arlene to work on a curriculum that will bridge the knowledge gap of adult learners. By starting it later than the math 12, students who are feeling overwhelmed may drop back into the refresher and then pick up the credit in February.


Charles Sheppard, Coordinator

School Services

The following is a summary of activities for the month of September from the office of the Coordinator of School Services:

1. School Liaison Officers (SLO)

This month I had the opportunity to meet with members from senior management along with the school board chairperson and superintendent to discuss the SLO officer program. There will be four (4) police officers in eight (8) schools for the 2011-12 year. Also discussed on the agenda was the SLO program itself which will have more of a curriculum based program component which will see the officers visible in the classroom acting as a additional resource for the teachers and students. The following schools will have a SLO in them;

· Sydney Academy/Sherwood Park Education Center

· Riverview/Breton Education Center

· Memorial High/Malcolm Munroe Jr. High

· Glace Bay High/Oceanview Education Center

2. Attendance Management and Classroom Engagement

I had the opportunity along with Ms. Debbie MacIsaac, Coordinator of Jr./Sr. High to meet with all of the high school principals to discuss the new policy on attendance management and classroom engagement. This program will be a two year pilot and all high schools are participating in the program. Guidelines are in the draft stage.

3. Schools Plus Program

Ms. Kerri Fernandez has been hired as the new School Plus Facilitator and has started in her new position September 12, 2011. Update on the program to follow next month.

4. Community Meeting on Bullying-Glace Bay, N.S.

Attended a community meeting held by the UNIA Hall Committee on bullying. There were over 100 members from the community present and representatives from senior management of CBVRSB and Board members were also in attendance. I had the opportunity to explain the programs that are being offered in our schools.

5. Policy Committee Meeting

Met with members of the policy committee to review and revise board policies that will be presented to the board members.

6. Other

Fielded a number of calls from parents and principals on subjects pertaining to bullying, school transfers and school attendance.


Cathy Boudreau, Acting Coordinator

During the month of September, on-site support for students and teachers has been provided to facilitate student transitions (from Community-to-School, Elementary-to-Jr. High, Jr. High-to-Sr. High, and from Grade level-to-Grade level). All Student Services Consultants have participated in the on-site support for these students.

New requests for Teacher Assistant Support have been received and continue to be reviewed and processed by the Student Services department.

Preparations for the October 3rd and 4th, 2011 Professional Development sessions for Guidance Counselors, School Social Workers, Educational School Psychologists, Speech-Language Pathologists and Student Services Consultants have been finalized. Dr. Alan McLuckie, Family Therapist, IWK Health Care Centre, will do presentations on “School Mental Health, Disruptive Behavior, ADHD and Family Interventions”.

Final preparations are being made for the November 28th, Professional Development session for all employees of the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board. This PD session emphasizes mental health and is being offered in partnership with our colleagues at Child & Adolescent Services. The keynote speaker is Dr. Duncan McKinlay, Psychologist from Ontario.

The IPP Lead Team participated in a 1½ day in-service on the Adaptations Modules update and is preparing to deliver sessions to staff during the school year.

The Crisis intervention Team roster has been updated to reflect current staffing following consultation with Crisis Intervention Team Leaders.

The ASD Consultant has done STAR training at a new school site and continues to support the programming of students on her caseload throughout the school district.

The Student Services department continues to build and strengthen partnerships to provide appropriate programming and support for all students. The liaison with Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services personnel continues and will be fostered via the joint delivery of sessions by Mental Health and school board personnel (School Psychologists and Guidance Counselors) on November 28, 2011.

Third year nursing students are present in Learning Centers throughout our district as part of their practicum program.

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