Tuesday Open Thread

Yay Ballard High Digital Filmmaking Program!  From SPS Communications:

Two films by students from Ballard’s Digital Filmmaking Program have recently won top prizes at international film festivals. 

Blood Cargo, by Brendan Hickey, Liv D’Arche, Ben Murphy, and Talin Phillips, won Film of the Year at the STARdance Film Festival in Los Angeles. The festival had 380 entries. 

In the Wings, by Marley Rankin, Max Beaulieu and Emma Lee, won Best Short Fiction Film at American University’s Discover the World of Communications Film Festival in Washington DC. Films were judged by college professors and industry professionals. The festival received 125 entries. 

Rainier Beach High School in the News, from KNKX (Editor's note; this was last Friday, not this Friday):
Students at Seattle's Rainier Beach High School will be featured on national television Friday evening, as part of an episode of HBO's show "Wyatt Cenac's Problem Areas."

Colin Pierce is coordinator of Rainier Beach High School’s International Baccalaureate program. Pierce said Cenac approached the school because he heard about its turnaround in recent years, which was featured in a KNKX documentary in 2015. 
The district says that they are getting fewer state dollars for IB and yet I see that Chief Sealth is to come onboard with IB.  Why does the district put in programs that they will not financially support? 

Also on RBHS, they are staging a "walk-in" tomorrow over staff cuts to their building (one position - for IB - has been restored).
Wednesday May 8th, 8:20 am Speak-Out, Walk-In to classes at 8:45am. The Walk-Ins will continue every Wednesday for the rest of the school year until all the positions are restored.
In a first in the country, a K-12 charter STEM school in Colorado has had a school shooting with multiple students hit and two suspects in custody.

From Facebook: The district's Science Department is cancelling Science Fair (again).  This is not a school-based based activity but district-based.  They would never be too busy for football or basketball but academic stardom?  It looks like it. 
The districtwide middle school science fair will not be held this year. With limited staff and resources at the district level to support this event, and waning participation in previous years, the department is focusing its priorities on the best ways to serve all our 12,000 middle school students in SPS. Although the district is unable to offer a district-level event, middle schools can continue to offer a building-level event and encourage student participation. 

The SPS Science Department is currently working to adopt new instructional materials for all students at grades 6-8 for future years. Once SPS has adopted and aligned to a new standards-aligned core science curriculum, the Science Department hopes to collaborate with science teachers and possibly community STEM organizations to develop and offer a standards-aligned, engineering-focused event in the future that is accessible to all students.
Here's what one parent at Facebook said:
Just learned from my 8th grader that District Science Fair (middle school) has been cancelled this year because so many schools are using Amplify that there aren’t enough students doing experiments /project-based science to make it fair/worthwhile. 
If this equity-based district cannot get it together to provide the support and resources for STEM learning so that kids who are interested, it's a sad, sad day.  How is spending money on Amplify going to change this?

Superintendent Juneau attended a parent meeting at Licton Springs last night to talk about the future of the program especially because of overcrowding at RESMS.  Apparently Juneau does not seem to get the Native-focus of Licton Springs which seems odd but that's what is being reported. The first thing that should be done is for the district to take the blame for this mess because it IS their fault.  Apparently, there are several scenarios:

- LS to Webster (and if they went, probably would have to become a K-5).  Webster is way far out in Ballard and so makes no sense (they do say "it's close to the Salish Sea).
- Split Cascadia with their grades 1-3 at Webster and grades 4-5 in the building, sharing with LS.  Dumb, dumb, dumb.
- Send all of Cascadia to Webster (but they note "it won't fit")
- LS to be K-5 and stay at RESMS (but they note "RESMS still overenrolled")

Hey SPS, try redrawing some boundaries to shore up underenrolled Whitman and help overenrolled RESMS.  I think this has been done on a limited basis (like some kids going to JAMS) but this situation needs to be addressed soon.

I note that despite the huge interest in the Science Adoption, not a single Board member is having a community meeting this Saturday.  I wouldn't expect Director Burke to do so as he did have one last Saturday (which I attended and will report on) but the rest of them? Hmmm.

Lastly, readers, for those of you who are new (or just plain don't listen), I am NOT running for School Board.  Never have, never will.  I had one window of time over the last 20 years that I contemplated it but then my husband died and I didn't feel I would be able to do the job justice.  

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said…
However much Licton Springs may think they are getting ignored by the district, I note that the superintendent has avoided engaging with the HC / Cascadia community on all topics, and particularly this one. While RESMS and Cascadia has heard nothing, Juneau has had multiple meetings with Licton Springs during this time.

I'm always curious about why they choose the subset of options that they choose to consider. Is moving HC middle school to Whitman off the table? Adjusting more neighborhood boundaries for RESMS off the table? Is moving Decatur back in with Cascadia and giving the Decatur building to LS off the table?

- Neighborhood parent
Anonymous said…
The RES building is just not big enough for a k-8 and a dual program middle school. RESMS is overcrowded, but unable to offer a full breadth of classes to its hcc and gen ed programs (and the gen ed students are significantly poorer than the LS students, who also have the advantage of a very active parent group as well as very vocal activists on their side). I think honestly those kids in gen ed at RESMS need to be considered first. They need the building, and they need enough enrolled kids in the gen ed program to offer a full slate of classes. LS makes that much harder, hcc makes it a little harder(since they do take some classes together, unlike LS which is completely separate). So one of those should go. The native focus was just tacked on to the option school 5 years ago, so it doesn't seem awful to let them have Webster, because honestly option schools do much better when not colocated. Or Webster could maybe become an all hcc middle school,if there are enough Hamilton kids that some could come out. Or, if it wouldn't leave RESMS too highly impacted, all of hcc could move to Whitman- it can't split for the same reason it's not fair to keep RESMS's enrollment low. Not enough students to offer a regular breadth of classes.

Unknown said…
The FB parent raises an interesting point about Amplify not being experimentally based, and isn't Amplify all about "equity" because isn't everything about "equity," and what's less equitable than science fairs?

You have to buy your kid a bunch of stuff (equity), take them places (equity), talk to them about science (equity), tell them to redo their tri-fold because it looks like a Jackson Pollock nightmare (equity), help them rehearse their shtick (equity), make sure they put on clean clothes and wash up before the fair (equity)!

But hey, all you parents who are "close to educational justice" can get together and have your own privileged people's science fair (maybe at the Sons of Norway hall?), and then the activist crowd can excoriate you for being "opportunity hoarders." But at least you can figure out which parent-kid combo is best at science trifolds.

Numbers, what does this mean?

"..LS students, who also have the advantage of a very active parent group as well as very vocal activists on their side.."

And that's bad because....? LS is a very small school so it's not like it's hundreds of parents. Plus, have you seen their population? A lot of Sped kids so I'm not understanding why you see this as a bad thing.

The Gen Ed kids at a school that didn't exist until a couple of years ago have to be considered first? Not sure I agree given that LS has existed in some form for decades and was promised the space.

But I agree that all deserve a full slate of classes but again, this is SPS' folly and they should have to fix it fully.

One of the issues for either HCC middle school or LS middle school at Webster is that there are no science labs and you have to have that (the district says this). Or maybe, just get Amplify and you won't need them at all.

SP, not sure from your tone what you are saying. I think that only kids who want to participate in a school or district-based science fair should. And, those kids who don't have the resources/help to create their project, should get them from the district.

But I do smile at what I hope is sarcasm in your last paragraph.
Anonymous said…
It's not bad that they have an active parent group, but it has meant that the more impoverished RESMS gen ed program has been ignored, since LS is kind of the only one talking. From an equity perspective- the higher needs kids need to come first. The best option probably is and has been for some time LS at Webster. I just hope somebody has the courage to do it.

Numbers, I was at a parent meeting for both RESMS and LS and the LS parents there included one with a child with autism and one with a blind child. I'm not seeing some equity disadvantage. Those children have SPED needs. If you are saying that there may be more children of color at RESMS than LS, you are probably right.
Anonymous said…
Welcome to Seattle. Racial Equity has no room here.
Equality - all kids matter, all lives matter - permeates everything.
God forbids anything "extra" is given to students of color.
Anonymous said…
Also, from the weekly Ballard PTSA newsletter Congratulations to Men's Ensemble, who won 2nd in State at the State Ensemble Competition this past weekend at Central Washington University! For the State Solo Competition, Gabe Zuniga won 2nd place for Tenor Voice and Max Levy won 3rd place for Bass Clarinet! Every one of the seven soloists and seven ensembles who made it to State Solo and Ensemble had incredibly musical and artistic performances and earned ratings of Superior or Excellent.

Congratulations to the BHS Robotics team, Viking Robotics, recently returned from the World Robotics Championship in Houston, TX. The team qualified for the world championships by finishing the season ranked 18th out of 151 teams in the Pacific Northwest District, which encompasses Washington, Oregon, and Alaska. At the world championship, the team performed well while competing against over 400 teams from 12 different countries.

MS, neither I or anyone else said that. I pointed out the number of Sped kids in LS (who deserve attention) and, as well, that there are probably more kids of color in RESMS (who also deserve attention).
Anonymous said…
Information for SPS Parents

Amplify Science Field-Test/Pilot-Program (2016-2019)

a Partnership apparently funded by Amplify, and SPS, without SPS Board approval,
involving at least 21 SPS Schools (perhaps as many as 69 SPS Schools)

Curriculum Waivers signed by Senior Staff, and the SPS Superintendent (April-September, 2017)

(Schools/SPS Directors)

1. Aki Kurose (Betty Patu)

2. Cascadia (Rick Burke)

3. Catharine Blaine K-8 (Eden Mack)

4. Cedar Park (Scott Pinkham)

5. Decatur (Jill Geary)

6. Denny (Leslie Harris)

7. Eagle Staff (Rick Burke)

8. Genesee (Leslie Harris)

9. Hamilton (Rick Burke)

10. Hazel Wolf K-8 (Scott Pinkham)

11. Jane Addams K-8 (Scott Pinkham)

12. Licton Springs (Rick Burke)

13. Madison (Leslie Harris)

14. McClure (Eden Mack)

15. Meany (Zachary DeWolf)

16. Mercer (Betty Patu)

17. Salmon Bay K-8 (Eden Mack)

18. South Shore K-8 (Betty Patu)

19. Washington (Zachary DeWolf)
(WMS Teachers field-tested newly-adapted Amplify units, August- December, 2016)

20. Whitman (Scott Pinkham)


Other SPS Schools using Amplify (with no Waivers)

View Ridge (Jill Geary)

An Amplify Contract Bid Statement suggests that there are an additional 48 Schools using Amplify, apparently without Curriculum Waivers.


"Seattle Partnership
Since the 2016-2017 school year, we have partnered with Seattle Public Schools to pilot Amplify Science as a K-8 core curriculum built for the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

Together with Seattle Public Schools, Amplify has planned and implemented a pilot program across 69 schools in grades K-8, serving over 1400 teachers and 30,000 students.

Key aspects of the implementation included continuous collaboration with Seattle Public School leadership and staff on professional development, educator focus groups, and weekly data distribution across all middle schools at the student level. Amplify and Seattle Public Schools have worked in concert especially during the 17-18 school year by providing 10 days of professional development, training of the trainer, and feedback sessions to build capacity in addition to Seattle Public School leadership providing key insights and feedback on future Amplify product and curriculum redesign planning.

Over the past two years Seattle and Amplify have built a strong alignment across teams and continue to provide customized professional services for schools and broad service support to promote adoption and continuity."


SPS Parents, please report on this Blog, if your kids are using Amplify, in Schools other than the ones listed above.

There is a possibility that there is No Curriculum Waiver for using Amplify in your School.


Corrective Actions Now
Vote NO said…
Amplify appears to be a very expensive rental project. After 10 years, it appears Amplify evaporates.
Ed said…
This just in:

"Two students opened fire on May 7 inside a charter school in an affluent suburb of Denver not far from Columbine High School, killing a teenager, wounding eight and spreading minutes of terror before they were taken into custody with no injuries, authorities said."
So Please said…
There's just no way Licton Springs can have problems, because it's located in north Seattle and north end schools are all privileged. If Licton Springs had a problem its PTA would just buy their way out of it. That's what schools in the north do. Because privilege.
Anonymous said…
"The district says that they are getting fewer state dollars for IB and yet I see that Chief Sealth is to come onboard with IB."

Um, Chief Sealth has had an IB program for more than 10 years.

Just not helpful.
You know, I read something that led me to think this was just starting even though I could have sworn CS had IB; thanks.
Eli said…
Maybe everybody here knows this, but Licton Springs the school is named for Licton Springs the place a few blocks north which was spiritually significant to the Duwamish people living here then and now. This was part of why Licton Springs the school was nominally planned into the design of this building. The horrible historical resonance of displacing them to take their territory is one part of what's wrong in all this, on top of the practical issues.
Anonymous said…
How many students are in the RESMS HCC program? By how many students is Whitman underenrolled? If HCC were relocated to Whitman, would that solve the capacity issues?

There's no reason HCC MS needs to be next to an HCC ES site. There are, however, multiple reasons for a native-focused MS to be on the Licton Springs site--the geography, and the murals.

I'm curious why moving HCC isn't on the district's list of options? Did they consider it and toss it for some reason, or did the idea not occur to them? Although I hate that HCC is often the capacity balancing solution, it often IS the capacity balancing solution.

The Board needs to step up and own that the Board creating this problem by assuring that the option school would have a place on the LS site--so they need to keep that promise and come up with a solution that allows them to stay.

keep promises
Keep promises, if you read the post, moving Cascadia, which is HCC, IS on the list.

Now why moving HCC at RESMS over to Whitman is not being considered is something I don't know. I can't recall at the RESMS meeting I went to last year if the numbers didn't pan out. Anyone?
Anonymous said…
I am out of town for both of these Seattle City Council District 3 candidate forums but I recommend anyone concerned about Zach DeWolf's performance on the school board try to attend one of these events and let your voice be heard. The August primary will narrow down all the candidates to the top two for the general election. Current council person Kshama Sawant likely to be one of the top two candidates.



Mad Dad
Anonymous said…
It's odd that IB is getting the credit for the RBHS turnaround when that turnaround happened before any IB class had ever been taught. Having a functional and rigorous credit retrieval class was the reason for the turnaround initially. Perhaps IB kept that going? I know this because I was the credit retrieval teacher at RBHS that year and I worked incredibly hard and with great intensity supporting those students.

-Mr. Theo Moriarty
Anonymous said…
@Mr. Moriarty,

My son always said that if he came into a lot of money he'd give a big chunk of it to you to start a school. He thought you had a great vision for how things could be, and he saw that you truly cared about your students' learning and success. I doubt he ever told you that.

Thanks for your time and dedication--and here's hoping you still have the passion for teaching when he strikes it

Anonymous said…
Can anyone speak to the rationale for "protecting" Rainier Beach from underenrollment and Betty Patu's role in that? What has the district done to strengthen the school other than artificially freezing wait lists at other, evidently more desirable, schools such that kids at RBHS have no exit option?

concerned parent
Anonymous said…
We don't want you to win but we do want you to run. You have a big mouth and loads of excesses for not running. Please run!

Anonymous said…
"Maybe everybody here knows this, but Licton Springs the school is named for Licton Springs the place a few blocks north which was spiritually significant to the Duwamish people living here then and now. This was part of why Licton Springs the school was nominally planned into the design of this building. The horrible historical resonance of displacing them to take their territory is one part of what's wrong in all this, on top of the practical issues."

Fake News folks! Having lived next to LS for 45 years I have never seen a single Duwamish tribe member show up and take care of the place. The place was know for mushrooms in the 80s and smelly water.

Why do people keep perpetuating the spiritually significant myth about Licton Springs?

--Get Real
Concerned Parent, the district did put in IB. They are getting a new building. The RBHS kids are the ones who spearheaded the push for ORCA cards for all high school kids.

I do think it was wrong to not fill Cleveland and Franklin when they had room. It does appear that some kids have left, probably for charter schools.

But that school has very deep roots in the community and it would have been folly to not try to support it. Their grad numbers are good and the new building should help.

Get Real, the murals at Wilson Pacific were there for decades so your theory doesn't hold much water. The district owned the land; if someone were to show up and try to "fix" anything, the district could have them removed.

.."loads of excesses?" At least learn to spell.
juicygoofy said…
I'd support moving the HC program currently at RESMS to Whitman. Most of the students in HC at RESMS live in the Whitman service zone anyway. I should clarify and note that I do NOT recommend "splitting" any HC kids to Whitman. The whole cohort needs to stay together for viability. Licton Springs could stay where the actual Lictons Springs are and would even have room to grow. Middle schoolers from the RESMS neighborhood who are comparatively lower income get to stay at RESMS in a beautiful new building. HC students stay with a viable cohort, and their PTA money helps out Whitman's run-down building and reputation.
Anonymous said…
Any word on what happened at the Board's Budget Work Session last night?

Is anyone going to the Capacity and Enrollment Work Session tonight?

juicygoofy said…
Oh, and I am going to take a guess that the reason the district did not offer moving HC to Whitman as an option, is that they just split HC from Hamilton to RESMS. 2 years working to build up a program, only to move it, seems like an obvious error (though it was.)
Anonymous said…
As a parent of a future HC RESMS student (current 4th grader) I also would support a move of the entire HC cohort to Whitman over overcrowding at RESMS. Has the district actually queried parents about this as an option? Of course, RESMS is more "central" so that should be a consideration.

NW Parent
Arnie said…
RESMS isn't more central for HCC middle school students:

Currently Whitman and RESMS area HCC go to RESMS, right? Why not locate the program at Whitman instead?

Hamilton was too full, so they geosplit HCC students to RESMS when it opened. Eckstein was too full so they moved the program to JAMS. If RESMS is too full, why not move the program to Whitman?
All good questions - why the district isn't moving to enroll more kids at Whitman AND help RESMS with their overcrowding is the mystery.

Perhaps all will be revealed at today's Work Session. I won't be there.
Anonymous said…
The murals were never at Licton springs they were at Wilson Middle school. Big deal there are murals. There's graffiti too, whats does that tell you?

-- Stop conflating
Anonymous said…
Seattle Parents and Teachers,

The Minutes of the IMC (Instructional Materials Committee) Meeting, approving the proposed SPS Science Curriculum Materials, are still missing from the SPS Website. When did the IMC Committee meet to approve the Curriculum Materials? Who attended the meeting? What issues were discussed?

Important to Note: The IMC Committee for the current Science Curriculum Adoption Process was NOT approved by the SPS School Board. How did this happen? How did the Board allow this to occur?

Now, there are no minutes of the IMC Meeting on the District Website. The SPS School Board should acknowledge this fact at the next School Board Meeting. Before Public Testimony begins.

So much for Transparency and Accountability.

No IMC Minutes, No Board Approval of the IMC, No Board Oversight.

The Regulatory Code of Washington (RCWs) does apply to SPS Staff, SPS Board Members, and the IMC.


RCW 28A.320.230
Instructional materials—Instructional materials committee.
Every board of directors, unless otherwise specifically provided by law, shall:
(1) Prepare, negotiate, set forth in writing and adopt, policy relative to the selection or deletion of instructional materials. Such policy shall:
(a) State the school district's goals and principles relative to instructional materials;
(b) Delegate responsibility for the preparation and recommendation of teachers' reading lists and specify the procedures to be followed in the selection of all instructional materials including text books;
(c) Establish an instructional materials committee to be appointed, with the approval of the school board, by the school district's chief administrative officer. This committee shall consist of representative members of the district's professional staff, including representation from the district's curriculum development committees, and, in the case of districts which operate elementary school(s) only, the educational service district superintendent, one of whose responsibilities shall be to assure the correlation of those elementary district adoptions with those of the high school district(s) which serve their children. ...

"With the Approval of the School Board"

RCWs are Relevant
Anonymous said…
The meeting minutes had been posted earlier. A friend looked them up on the wayback machine. I hope that helps.

- transparency matters
Tired Mom said…
Wait, they posted them and then took them down? What kind of transparency is that?
Anonymous said…

It is a “SPS SPECIAL DOUBLE SECRET” transparency.

I couldn’t find the minutes using the wayback machine (it tends not to capture PDFs that are attached). And yes, posting and deleting is tell tale sign of impropriety and/ or illegal activity.

The real answer: is it is NOT transparent (obviously).

The next trick SPS will deploy is to wipe the slate clean as in ‘redevelop’ their web site and break thousands of links. They’ve done that 3 times in as many years to make themselves king of the memory burn hole.

Double Ungood
Anonymous said…

eattle schools got national attention on Friday night in an episode of HBO’s Problem Areas, hosted by comedian Wyatt Cenac.

The episode focuses on Rainier Beach High School, where the PTA has $2,000 in its coffers, compared with the $3.5 million at Roosevelt High School in the city’s much wealthier and whiter north end.

In Seattle, rich PTAs enhance schools by paying for extra teachers and programs. When there’s a budget shortfall, the PTAs plug the budget holes.

But that’s not a reality for Rainier Beach, where most of the students are low income.

Does Roosevelt HS really have 3.5 million in their PTA coffers?!

Anonymous said…
No. The alumni foundation does, but Roosevelt PTA, parents, and school have no input into how they spend their money, which is mostly on scholarships. The PTA has about 20k. Neither funds staff. There is no plugging of budget holes, frankly. I am fine with the idea that these kids need less because they come from more privileged backgrounds, but they are just genuinely getting less in terms of staff and class size. Not backfilling.

RHS mom
Anonymous said…
To quote from the RHS PTA president's letter:

"First, your figures for Roosevelt High School’s assets may not be correct, and are definitely misleading when reported as a whole, rather than by source. The Roosevelt High School Foundation has amassed an endowment of $2 million (including investment growth) over the last 14 years. Over that time it has distributed $650,000 to the school, and is now granting $90,000 per year. The Roosevelt High School PTSA has a budget of under $20,000 this year. The Foundation and the PTSA are completely separate entities - the PTSA has no say in how Foundation funds are spent, and vice versa. While your article says, “The schools fundraising groups have nearly $3 million in assets,” the title of one of your graphics is “What each Seattle PTA has in assets and income,” leading readers to incorrectly believe at a glance that $3 million represents RHS PTSA assets.

Second, while your graphics, when explored carefully, do show that Roosevelt High School assets aren’t used to pay for staff, the article’s title and initial focus on Roosevelt High School, subsequently followed by broad brush statements, implicates Roosevelt in using PTA funds for staff hiring. In fact, the RHS PTSA and the RHS Foundation have explicitly rejected using funds for hiring staff. Furthermore, the Washington State PTA, with which RHS PTSA and many other Seattle area PTSAs are affiliated, under Resolution 4.13 specifically “advises affiliated PTAs to use their resources to enhance every student’s educational experience through funding of programs and activities outside of the regular school program rather than by providing resources for additional staff during the school day.”"

Anonymous said…
High schools usually have multiple funding sources for extra curriculars, and RBHS is no exception. In addition to a PTSA, they have a foundation (http://www.rbhsfoundation.org/), an alumni association (http://www.rbalumni.org/), and they recently raised $42K for sports (https://www.seattletimes.com/sports/high-school/rainier-beach-baseball-team-did-some-fundraising-to-build-whole-new-program-establish-pride/), etc.

When you look at "PTA funding," always ask if you're comparing apples to apples, because often with minimal digging you'll find oranges.

Anonymous said…
I think KUOW needs to issue a correction. They are not comparing apples to apples. If they are going to consider all funds for RHS then they need to do the same for RBHS.

I have said, time and again, that the real money in high schools are the booster clubs and foundations. PTAs don't raise that much as compared to those entities. When I was co-prez at RHS, we only raised about $28k which, for a large high school, is not that much.
Anonymous said…
People it seems like to make assumptions that play into schema's and stereotypes that create dichotomies between people. That pit white against black, create a rich and poor narrative that pit one against the other.

In reality there is always gray. There are the people in the middle for example who are not rich or poor. There are FRL kids and also homeless kids who are at the more affluent schools as well. Some of them are also white. 12% of Roosevelt's population qualify for FRL, in a school of 1946 that's 233 kids.

Schools with higher FRL populations also do receive various free and subsidized programs from outside entities in Seattle. For example we are at a different school that is losing a really great program that is free at other schools with a higher FRL population. Our school had to pay for it, but can't afford it for next year. Our local Universities also target higher FRL high schools for many programs as well.

But there are people who are attracted to the simple, I don't know why. But they play into stereotypes and sensationalize our strongly held biases.

This includes making history simple. In reality history is also extremely complex and very very messy. Often there are not simple dichotomies. Here is just one small example. Many people are aware for example that blacks were redlined and terribly discriminated against in Seattle's housing. However if you try to teach that also Asians, Jews & Italians were redlined, that people who are now considered white were considered in-between people to the anglo-American whites in the past, likely it will not be understood as it does not fit neatly into their current world view. There are countless examples like this one from history that go ignored.


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