Talk of MAP boycott is fast and furious. Do you like the MAP? Did it help ID your child as gifted? Does your child score 99 on every go-round and do you trust the data or do you think it's wonky? Some suggest it's good for advanced learners because it's adaptive and will test out of level, but in my experience 99s must be semi-easy to achieve. Any parents thinking of opting out?I have an APP child in Spectrum elementary.
I've found limited value in the information once they get to upper elementary. Once a child is placed in APP or Spectrum, I'm not sure what value the results have. I haven't seen evidence that the teachers have used them to alter instruction, and do you even want the test driving class content? I want the meeting and exceeding of state standards to be the driving force, not MAP. Beyond initial placement, the only other time they come into play is for 6th grade math placement. Even though it's adaptive, the reading does have a stated ceiling of RIT 245. If a child hits that in elementary, what's the point of more testing? The math can test many more topics, but even then, the sequence doesn't necessarily match Seattle's. I could see some value in the snapshot it gives of a student when they first start the year. It gives a teacher immediate feedback, unlike the MSP. The testing 3x a year, however, is excessive, and I resent the staff and student time that gets devoted to the test. I'd much rather my child be spending time in class learning. To take the test again in Spring, on top of the MSP and EOCs, is just too much.
Anon-It's worth pointing out here that math placement using MAP is proving problematic for 6th grade algebra. There are kids who were placed in Alg 1 in 6th grade who came directly from 5th grade EDM - I don't mean to say that those kids are the only ones struggling, but they missed three entire years of math. The kids coming from APP were just skipped one year. There are kids who are really struggling in that class and some classes are being forced to move more slowly due to kids not understanding the material. I am concerned that some of these kids may start to feel that they are "bad" in math when really it's only that they were badly placed in math.Is Bob Vaughan reconsidering this for next year? No, he wants to see results from yet another test (EOC) before making any changes. Why he thinks math teachers don't know anything is beyond me. Who better to tell him if his placement criteria is working than the current Alg 1 teachers?-get rid of MAP
As a parent considering an alternative math placement, I'm not fully comfortable with MAP as the primary decider. How did placement work pre-MAP and pre-APP split? Is MAP being used simply because it's easier than whatever was done before? Our child is covering the full pre-algebra curriculum (at home), yet I'm still wavering about placement because I want a true algebra-readiness test to confirm placement. I want to know if there are specific gaps or weaknesses that need to be covered.The issue is complicated by my extreme dislike of the district math materials. Avoiding CMP math is a big motivator for accelerating to Algebra 1, yet long term that may not be the best for our child. What I'd really like is better math. I'm not fully convinced about accelerating our child beyond Algebra 1 in 7th grade, yet repeating material with CMP books wouldn't be beneficial. I'd almost like to take an in depth Algebra 1 text and stretch it out over 2 years with the addition of AoPS counting and probability. That would require part-time homeschooling, which is not ideal.
There was a comprehensive placement test for Algebra 1 - specifically designed to test Algebra readiness - prior to the APP split.I believe its telling that the previous test historically only designated 6-10 kids total that were fully prepared to enter Algebra 1 in 6th grade (when APP was fully intact) and now there are multiple classes full of these kids through the MAP qualification??I'm not surprised some kids are struggling - not because they are not smart or capable - but because the MAP did not identify the holes in their learning. MAP is not algebra specific - so no one should be too surprised.-APP MOM
After taking the cog test, we had an unexpected call from a tester who said she would be testing him individually. Today is his testing - on what? Who knows. Anyone know more about this? Both the tester and his teacher said they didn't know why he was taking itt.
On another topic - HIMS is moving to "standards-based" grading, meaning a shift away from ABC letter grades to a 1-4 rating. Our student's class was told they would get 3's (meeting standard), not 4's (working above and beyond standard), for the level of work they are now doing, even though they are already working above grade level. Is this a misinterpretation of standards-based grading? How is this helpful for students? Will classes that are taken for high school credit be graded in the more traditional ABC format?
"HIMS is moving to "standards-based" grading, meaning a shift away from ABC letter grades to a 1-4 rating."Really, that is pretty big news and am wondering why there has been no communication from the principal on this change. (every MS uses letter grades.)Did this info come from staff or student? If staff, I know at least one HIMS teacher who in the past has spread some misinfo along to students, most likely to stir things up.
What is the quality of instruction in the elective classes at Hamilton? What languages are offered? What is PE like? How about music? Are there multiple levels of music offered? How is the instructor?Thanks! Considering APP for MS
Hmm...the standards based grading comment is secondhand based on what a teacher told students. What gives? If it isn't true, then why would the students be told such a thing?
For us, music and language at Hamilton have been great. Music has multiple levels, with the opportunity to place by ability. PE is PE. I wish they had more time outdoors for PE, but they have limited use of the park. Languages are limited to Spanish and Japanese (no French).
RE: individual testing... we got the same call yesterday for our K student saying 1:1 testing is today. When I asked she said it was usually because they scored well on the group cog test. I think it might be to determine eligibility for APP vs SPECTRUM if they don't have other standardized testing available. Any input from parents already IN the system?
Maybe it's only for K students? That certainly would have helpful for my now first-grader.
This article references Whitman and standards-based grading:Standards-based grading
...and more about standards-based grading from Whitman:What is standards-based grading?
The additional 1:1 testing, I believe, is the Woodcock Johnson and it is used to differentiate the highest scoring kids to see if they should be APP or spectrum. My daughter did it 2 years ago.a parent
Interesting read on SBG, which looks like it's coming soon to all MS?Here is one thing that bothers me, right of the bat:"Standards-based grading removes extraneous factors and focuses solely on a student’s academic achievement and continued mounting evidence that indicates a true assessment of the child’s present attainment of the learning targets."I personally think in middle school the extraneous factors (citizenship on the report card) are VERY important to evaulate my students performance. Its about classroom behavior as well as academics. And what does the last part of the statement mean? Why complicate what is now a perfectly sensible system. Go the Source, look at your kids grades and you instantly know what needs to be improved.If you see a 2, what will that mean. Is my student doing D work or C work, how far away are they from a 3? We all know that a 75% is a C and a 79% is a C+ and with a bit more effort you can get that up to a B-.Why do they do this to us?
Yes, I believe the 1:1 is for kids who do well enough on the Cogat to qualify for APP but don't have any achievement scores (e.g. MAP) on record.
Would someone be able to post a list of Seattle Public schools with the Spectrum program? I searched on the District website but their link says the page does not exist. I would like to know what our other options for public school advanced learning are if our child does not end up with the test scores need to get into APP. I think we would try to apply for a Spectrum school during the choice enrollment period if this is the case. Although I'm not feeling encouraged about that considering what I've read regarding Spectrum waitlists and also discrepancies between schools that seem to either have a strong Spectrum program vs. schools that in reality may be have Spectrum "in name only" without much definition. Also, are Advanced Learning eligible kids able to apply for any ALO/Spectrum school in the entire Seattle School District during choice enrollment, or are they limited to only schools in their cluster or some other boundary parameter. I know the distance/sibling/geozone tie breakers would play into the chances of getting a spot in one of these schools, but with the APP testing and eligibility waiting game I'd like to have as much of a back-up plan in place as possible. Any advice or additional info would be appreciated!
To 11:49 asking about music at Hamilton. My 7th grader is in band and has been having a great experience. I really like the band teacher Mr. Rowe. There are 4 levels of band plus several jazz bands. I've also heard very good things about the orchestra program. I think about 2/3 of the students are in either band or orchestra.Hamilton mom
Thoughts on Bob Vaughan's "awesome" quote in the Times? Dw's comments over on the SSS blog pretty much sums it up.
The list of APP and Spectrum sites is at:http://district.seattleschools.org/modules/cms/pages.phtml?sessionid=362f8003898b79e18b9c4c5ea070433f&sessionid=72d8240ef19ca141cd13b18a331703e4&pageid=282900&sessionid=72d8240ef19ca141cd13b18a331703e4and, yes, it's very buried.~APP mom in spectrum program
Parents who are asking about additional testing--do your K kids have MAP scores? We haven't been contacted for more testing, so I'm wondering if my daughter didn't qualify.--K mom
About Dr Vaughan?It seems to me that over the years he managed to loose all the touch of the reality about the AL programs in SPS. It is really said that he is who "runs the programs".
My K daughter had MAP scores, then did the group cogat, then did the individual woodcock-johnson to qualify for APP. I believe that they can't use only MAP scores for kindergartners for achievement because it's too dependent upon reading. Spectrum qualified kids didn't necessarily get the woodcock johnson, so I assume it's the W-J that differentiates APP from Spectrum.~what I think~
Our daughter will enter Kindergarten in the fall. We are considering our two community schools, Coe and QAE, as well as four private schools. She tested in the top 1% on the Wechsler test. Is APP an option in K? And if so, where in the heck do I find out info? The SPS website is not all that helpful.Thanks for any thoughts..
@what I think, that's how it was before the MAP. Kids who didn't get called back for W-J probably have a CogAT score <98%, but might still be Spectrum-eligible. Heather, APP starts at 1st grade. There is no APP for Kindergarten. I'd talk to principals at each of the schools you're considering and see what their advice is and whether they can meet your daughter's needs.
trying again because I might not have been clear. Before MAP, kids were called back to do W-J to determine if they were eligible for APP versus Spectrum. Kids who didn't get called back didn't score high enough on the CogAT for APP, but might still be Spectrum-eligible. When are letters supposed to go out anyway? Tours are coming up soon! People need to know what their options are!
what I think-my child tested in during kindergarten last year with just cogat and MAP, no W-J(though I agree with above, that's what the 1-1 testing people are getting called about is- they passed the cogat bar, and are either close on MAP so want to retest or don't have MAP scores or something, so they are giving them another achievement test, which is the W-J. It's not a big deal or pernicious or anything, and not getting 1-1 testing doesn't mean anything either.). Not all schools do fall MAP or have winter MAP scores in time for the letters to go out, though.
HIMS does seem to be moving to standards-based grading. The teachers have been receiving training in SBG, and at least one 6G math teacher and one 6G science teacher use it exclusively. The principal has expressed support for the approach in at least one PTSA meeting I've attended. Whether it will ultimately be a school-wide mandatory program I don't know.I'm strongly opposed. Study habits, effort, and citizenship are important parts of what they are learning in middle school, so it is a mistake to ignore those elements when assessing performance. In SBG, you shouldn't even need to attend class--if you can show up on test day and ace the tests, that's all that matters. That's not a lesson I want my kids learning; to the contrary, I've spent years trying to fight against that attitude in favor of hard work and discipline.There is also the critical issue for APP kids of "what standards" to apply. Will they end up with worse grades because they took APP courses rather than regular courses? That's extremely troubling.There is a powerful movement in favor of SBG. Frankly, I'm concerned that some of it derives from the fact that it makes teaching easier (less material to grade, etc.) rather than learning better.
From what I've read, the intent of SBG is that students don't glide by with passing grades if they haven't mastered the content, but they also don't fail if they prove they have mastered the content but perhaps didn't do that extra credit project. They are given multiple opportunities to show mastery (test retakes, etc). It's a concept that seems geared toward helping those students that are low performing, yet it is being applied to all students.For a good student, I think the SBG will have the opposite effect and provide a disincentive to develop good work habits. I don't know how it works if a student is already exceeding grade level standards. When students are told that they are just going to get 3s, for doing A level work that is supposed to be two years ahead, what message is being sent? I'd like to hear more about how SBG will be used in APP classrooms before I pass judgment.
On SGB - From HIMS Principal on the 3rd of December, 2012:Dear Hamilton International Families,Grades matter. Grades matter to teachers, students and families. In the past schools have used grades to compare students to one another, more recently, however, schools are using grades to track student progress towards clearly articulated learning standards.This year several HIMS teachers have changed the way they are grading students. They have begun to more clearly link grades to standards and student achievement. For many of us it is a new way of thinking. We are moving from focusing on what is taught to what is learned, from including non-academic factors to focusing on student progress towards learning targets and from determining final grades by averaging to having final grades reflect what students know and are able to do in relationship to a clearly articulated standard.This week I will be attending a “Sound Grading Practices” conference. I will be joined by two teachers from Hamilton as well as several teachers and administrators from across the Seattle School District. My goal is to learn more about standards based grading and return better equipped to support our teachers, students and families as we transition to having our grades better reflect what students know and are able to do.I look forward to sharing with you what I learn and I appreciate your support as our school grows in this transition.Go Hawks!Cindy Watters, Principal
As a contribution to the SBG discussion: the opportunity to retake tests to demonstrate mastery is critical to the benefits of SBG. However, our experience so far is that retakes at HIMS classes using SBG are not easy. The retakes have to be specially scheduled during homeroom, creating extra burdens for teachers and students. Moreover, I've heard rumor of at least one instance in which a student request for a retake was denied because their grade was already good enough.
Can we have a thread on a possible upcoming middle school APP split (potentially as soon as next fall)? As many of us are thinking about short term capacity management - and being told to push for an immediate start to the new JAMS, does everyone understand that in order to fill that building, and alleviate capacity at Hamilton, they would likely require a large portion of middle school APP to move to the new school. Maybe I'm not paying close enough attention, but I haven't seen this discussed. Shouldn't we be fully aware of the indirect effects of what we're advocating for?
I've also heard that at least some members of SNAPP have talked about an APP split in order to avoid the whole NE APP getting moved out of Hamilton. This doesn't seem to make sense when last week the reason that a 6th grade academy wouldn't work is because APP students wouldn't have access to 7th and 8th graders, various levels of music, etc - and now it seems in consideration to send 1/2 of the program to JAMS with only a small assignment middle school and a K-8? I wonder if APP parents as a whole know about this? Has it been discussed with the larger APP community? I haven't heard about it spoken much amongst APP parents. - Parent of APP second grader
No, this is the first time I heard about this. And I am really afraid now that parents will make decisions and e-mail their decision to the Board without knowing the basic FACTS about the different options. We hear things from here and there, in the school and in the bus stop, then we read the Newspapers and the Blogs and we think we know what we need to know. But it seems to me that we don't and since there is no more time, the Board decision is on the 23rd, we will make assumptions, send suggestions which could turn out really bad for even our own children.This is just not fair
Okay, a new thread started for that topic, "APP in the NE and capacity planning".
SNAPP PTA is not advocating to move half of APP into JAMS for this fall! I'm not sure where someone would have gotten that idea.In fact, I think there are legitimate concerns that the "do-nothing" option could lead to a split in June, just like happened to us at Lowell.The "do-nothing" option is based on projected enrollment at Hamilton, but what if, in order to avoid an overcrowded Eckstein, more 5th graders than usual opt into APP for 6th grade and thus enroll to Hamilton? Hamilton is making efforts to fit in the X number of expected students, but what if "X+Y" get assigned?I actually think that could be the dangerous scenario where come June, the district says that Hamilton can't possibly fit everyone and someone has to go. At that point, we all know who would be kicked out. None of the options are good, frankly. And even though I've been trying to pay attention for weeks, if not months, even my head is starting to spin trying to keep track of all the possiblities. This is a terrible way to make decisions, by email voting, which is inherently skewed and not representative of the community at large. I can't believe this is how most urban school districts operate. Why can't we do better?
Children of friends-of-friends are attending APP Lincoln part-time and homeschooling part-time, and I heard others did this last year. We're considering it for next year. If you've tried part-time APP elementary, would you post about it? I understand the APP Lincoln principal discourages it, and I've had a lot of helpful advice about how to handle that. I'm more wondering about how it's worked for your child. For example, do you do partial days, partial weeks? How did you sort out projects and homework with their teachers? Do your kids like attending part-time? Thanks in advance.
Anon @ 1:48. Why on earth would you do that? It seems like it would make a lot of extra work for the teachers and that it would make it difficult for your kids to keep on top of what is going on in their classrooms.
Because the math is woefully inadequate. Just a guess.
Anon-You nailed it. That's why we are partially homeschooling. My kid has learned 1 1/2 years of math already this year. We are expecting them to finish 2+ years of math this year and they are getting quality math, not the crap taught in school. My child will be able to look at a math problem and actually understand how to deal with it. The "discovery" math used by this idiotic district does not teach a kid how to break down and solve problems.-get better curriculum
This is Anon@1:48. Yes: It's the math, mainly. Our daughter's pretty far out there even w/in the context of APP. I'd say that's in spite of school. E.g., she ended 1st grade APP w/a lower level of skill than she had a year before she started regular K. And then that affected her general enjoyment of school, her view of her general scholastic competency. Re how it is for teachers to have PT-ers, I don't know, but at the end of the day it's not about what grownups need/want. Of the few kids we know who are PT APP elementary, their parents mainly want their kids to continue liking school, to learn new things, and to not get stressed out in these early years. Their attitude has seemed to help with making it work for all parties. -Contemplating PT
I understand supplementing, but pulling your kid out for part of the day unless it is during math seems counterproductive to his or her ability to follow what is going on in school.
Confused-Don't do it for your kid then. My child is fine with it and has no problem understanding what is happening around them.My child has told me they appreciate missing math at school. They are challenged and learning at home.-partial homeschooler
Any thoughts on how good of a fit APP Lincoln is for very high-IQ kids who demonstrate average processing/completion speed? and nearly no extrinsic motivation? Thanks.
Can anyone tell me who to contact about homeschooling for one subject in middle school? I'm trying to get the ball rolling.And, anonymous at 7:30, you've described my kid, and we are struggling in APP middle school. Hence the homeschooling... Though mine is also challenged with attention and organization, so if yours isn't, APP may work better for you.--7th grade mom
Part time homeschooling in middle school:Let the registrar know in the Spring that you intend to part time homeschool for the upcoming school year. It makes it easier to schedule a late start or early realease. Note your intention on the class choice sheet. Prior to the beginning of the school year, get a "Declaration of Intent to Provide Home Based Instruction" form from the homeschool center (now called Cascade Parent Partnership Program). Submit the completed form to CPPP and a copy to the registrar at your school. You can also do it right before the semester.That's about the extent of it. Your child will need to be dropped off late or picked up early. Another alternative is taking more electives to maintain a full 6 period schedule and transportation. I'd contact the CPPP for the paperwork details and the school for scheduling details and other info.
That's great information and would be good for more people to see, so I started a new thread, "How to partially home school in APP", to talk about it more. Please move discussion on that topic over there.
Re: 7th grade APP this yearWe're finding the work load for a particular class is on the heavy side and our child feels compelled to stay up late trying to meet deadlines (not healthy). We're having battles about needing to just go to bed.Anyone else?
Re: 7th grade APP this year--yep, that's where we are too. My attention challenged son is spending a disproportionate amount of time trying to deal with one class. I wonder if it's the same one you're struggling with? It's a World Cultures class. (Would be LA/WC, I guess, but we're in a split block.)Thanks for the homeschooling advice, anonymous!--7th grade mom
Yep. Different section, same issue. Our child is methodical and a bit of a perfectionist. Directions and due dates tend to be unclear or changing, which add to the challenge. Then there's the requirement to do everything in pen, so it gets done in pencil first, then copied over in pen...anon@1:52
7th gr APP LA/SS seems to be A LOT of HW, I agree. There are 2 teachers, Ellison and Moriarty. Can someone weigh in on whether the HW overload (as i see it) is equivalent in both teachers classes? My son has Ms Ellison and he routinely puts in 1 1/2 hrs or more reading, studying, taking notes, writing essays every night. Plus weekends. Somehow I would feel better about this if Mr Moriarty's class had the same workload, perhaps it is the curriculum. This all in addition to all other classes HW, so IMO too much.
Like I said, my son is in the split block--Ellison for WC and Moriarty for LA. I don't know whether it's the subject or the teacher but the hw workload is much lighter in Moriarty's for us--for which I am thankful. He did tell me that LA was going to be more of the driving force in the block second semester, so we may be seeing more hw from him then--I don't know. He's been great, though, my son really enjoys working with him.--7th grade mom
Isn't there a problem with the curriculum, or its delivery, if some kids are spending 1-2 hours on HW a night, in middle school, just for one core class? What percentage of the class finds it doable? My child's observation was if one student is able to do the work, it is then assumed by the teacher to be reasonable and doable. The work itself isn't hard, it can just be very time consuming. In science - which my child says is challenging in a good way - the work requires thinking and effort, but most work can be done in class. My child feels like there is more learning, comparatively, despite less time spent outside of class. My child is spending disproportionately more time on LA/SS, but can't tell me much about what they have learned. It's frustrating.
Re: 7th grade APP LA/SS - Just for another perspective, my son also has Ellison, and he does not find the homework to be excessive. He certainly doesn't spend nearly the amount of time you describe on it on a regular basis. That said, he is not a perfectionist and won't spend 50%+ of his time to get an additional 5% on his grade (something I had a problem with when I was his age).He did say that due dates sometime change, but when they do, they are always pushed back to allow for more time, so he didn't think it was unfair. Another 7th grade HIMS Mom
I'm going to try to post here once again. I'd basically given up, thanks to the captcha difficulties. Greg, you asked in another thread about it, but when I tried to post a comment I could never get past the captcha. Ironic, huh?Any thoughts on how good of a fit APP Lincoln is for very high-IQ kids who demonstrate average processing/completion speed? and nearly no extrinsic motivation? Thanks.Did your child do the WISC-IV? If so, and they scored exceptionally high on the cog stuff with the exception of processing speed (PSI), then you should read: WISC-IV Technical Report #4, paying attention to issues with PSI/WMI and the use of GAI rather than FSIQ. Yes, this is a lot of acronyms, but you should go read it. It's not uncommon for some highly gifted kids to have issues with speed, due to things like perfectionism, committing the answer to paper, etc., and this technical report addresses some of the issues.Where it falls short is if a child has issues with processing speed, but doesn't have issues with working memory (WMI). This should indicate a child that is no less capable (and in fact, slightly more capable) than a child with low WMI and low PSI. In any case, I hope you find something useful in that document. Unfortunately, unless policies have changed in recent years, the AL office won't look at GAI, only FSIQ, which is not best practice, according to the makers of WISC-IV.The issue of no extrinsic motivation might be a bigger deal, frankly. There are definitely kids in APP that aren't particularly motivated, but they are part of a cohort of mostly very motivated kids. For some kids, being immersed in that environment can be a motivator in itself, but if not, it can be frustrating to be around so many other kids that are always going to do Whatever It Takes to get that A+ on every assignment. Nothing surprising here, you'll just have to think carefully about the fit for your child on a very individual basis. Good luck.
Acceptance into APP is based on MAP (or ITBS or WJ or some other achievement test) and CogAT. Are the scores you're discussing part of private testing? We did the district testing and don't even have that measure. If it doesn't factor into the admission, should it factor into whether or not APP is a good fit?If wishes were horses, etc, APP would be about challenging one's mind, not one's organizational skills. Quality vs quantity. Unfortunately, what APP is or should be seems to vary with the teacher. There's no defined curriculum or delivery model. Some seem to think APP is about more work. Some provide more challenging work, which is for what I'd hope. Some provide little challenge and little work. Is it any different than the district as a whole? You really never know what to expect year to year.When asked whether it's a good fit for someone with "very high-IQ" who demonstrates "average processing/completion speed" and "nearly no extrinsic motivation," it's hard to say. Define motivation. Motivation to learn or motivation to get good grades? They don't always go hand in hand. Having been with APP for several years, we still ask if it's a good fit. Our ideas of what it was or should be or could be don't match the current reality of the program.in APP
dw, I'll try turning off the captcha for a while, let's run an experiment and see how bad the spam gets, if it's not too bad I'll leave it off.
Another discussion around WISC and processing speed, related specifically to gifted identification (and a bit more readable):Who are the Gifted Using the New WISC-IV?
Evergreen explicitly states that processing speed should not be used to measure gifted ness according to best practice, and so they only accept GAI. Our private tester wrote in our report that our child's FSIQ was invalid because of a 30 point difference between processing speed and the other measures. Both were qualifying scores, but really, SPS should follow research and look at GAI.
dw, ran the experiment with turning off captchas, spam flooded in. So, that's not going to work.
I just managed to leave a comment in another thread, so I'll try again here. The spam situation is unfortunate. Like I said earlier, I've pretty much given up on posting here, although I am obviously trying again now. Might I suggest asking Melissa Westbrook (or Charlie Mas) how they manage it on the Seattle Schools Community blog. It took a little effort to tweak the filters, I think, and they still get the occasional spam they delete manually, and the occasional post that gets filtered, but it seems to be working for them.Also, Wordpress seems to have a much better assortment of tools to make managing these things easier. Heck, I wouldn't even mind seeing a moderated forum (although you still need to deal with spam, it's just a little easier and the spammers are less motivated), but I'm not sure how well that would be liked overall. Just some thoughts.Crossing my fingers as I click Publish.
dw, Thank you for your response to my question re high IQ/avg processing/little extrinsic motivation. We're reading up re the factors you mentioned, and the technical report. Thanks for taking the time and for your insightful advice. -Learning
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