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Crystal River Elementary School

Matthew Koenigsknecht is the newly appointed principal at Crystal River Elementary in the Roaring Forks School District. Inspired by six years of teaching in Denver Public Schools (DPS), he began his pursuit of a Principal licensure and Masters in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the Morgridge College of Education. Koenigsknecht completed a year as a Ritchie Principal Intern at Harrington elementary School in DPS, and has already begun applying his education at Crystal River Elementary. Aspiring leaders in the central mountain region can access the same principal preparation experience through the Mountain Cohort of the Masters in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies program.

Koenigsknecht has developed three strategic priorities for his school: to identify and have fidelity to a mission and vision for the school; to implement high-quality instruction driven by data and supported by professional development and coaching; and, to develop a strong culture for students and staff by increasing their capacity.

Crystal River has successfully implemented the first initiative through Matthew’s leadership. He attributes a great deal of his success to the rich environment and support that the Richie program provided him. “Everything I learned at Ritchie was applicable and really great preparation for the work we are now doing… They taught me to have a vision and every day they stressed the importance of values-based leadership” stated Koenigsknecht.

This post is part of a series of stories recognizing MCE graduates during National Principals Month.

The University of Denver’s Marsico Institute for Early Learning and Literacy is one of six partners with lead agency  ZERO TO THREE who have been awarded a federal grant to administer the National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching and Learning (NC ECDTL).

The grant, awarded by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Administration for Children and Families, the Office of Head Start, and the Office of Child Care, provides $70 million over five years to fund the creation of the NC ECDTL.

A scientific framework will be used to ensure the NC ECDTL’s work will enhance best practices for implementing programs in real-world settings. “The new Center will integrate a developmental perspective in all of its activities reflecting how human brains are built – from the bottom up,” said Matthew Melmed, executive director of ZERO TO THREE. The Center will also develop resources and offer training and technical assistance to Head Start programs, Early Head Start programs, early childhood specialists, and child care lead agencies in order to strengthen their capacity to provide extensive and high quality early care and education from birth to age five.

The prestigious team includes Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, WestEd, Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences at the University of Washington, Child Care Aware of America, and AEM Corporation.

The Center will be supported by a Research to Practice Consortium made up of 18 leading researchers in early childhood, development, teaching, and learning to ensure that its work is based on the latest early childhood research. The NC ECDTL is expected to begin operating in October 2015.

ZERO TO THREE is a national nonprofit that provides parents, professionals and policymakers the knowledge and know-how to nurture development. Founded in 1977, ZERO TO THREE is a leader in the field of infants, toddlers and families – reaching more than 2 million parents each year. The organization brings together experts on parenting, child behavior and development, care and education, and public policymakers to help ensure every child from birth to three years old gets a strong start in life.

On Saturday, September 26, Share Fair Nation (SFN) hadShare Fair Nation another successful year with more than 500 teachers and education leaders and hundreds of families in attendance. This annual event brought together innovators in STEM education and offered engaging, hands-on teaching strategies designed to ignite the imaginations of today’s diverse PreK-12 students.

SFN which began in Denver in 2009 was created by John and Carrie Morgridge, philanthropists leading the Morgridge Fami
ly Foundation (MFF) and longtime ambassadors for the University of Denver. It was designed to provide PreK-12 educators the opportunity to discover emergent technologies and discover firsthand the most effective approaches to delivering 21st Century education.

The morning kicked off with an exciting art performance and presentation by key note speaker, Erik Wahl, an internationally renowned graffiti artist and best-selling author. Erik encouraged audience members to tap into their passion for lifelong learning by exploring the power of creativity to achieve superior performance.

The remainder of the day was filled with engaging interactive sessions for families and educators. At the Ritchie Center Magness Arena, STEMosphere was at full capacity as exhibitors showcased innovation and creativity and guests participated in STEM-oriented interactive exhibits that were hands-on, minds-on adventures for all. With more than 15 exhibitions on the floor, exhibitors ranged from The Denver Zoo to SeaPearch, The Denver Museum of Nature and Science to KEVA Planks.

At the Morgridge College of Education, teachers and education leaders had an opportunity to participate in 20+ hands-on Classroom Intensives. These sessions were filled with thought provoking and interactive activities and discussions on topics such as Design Thinking, Heart Lab, Game-Based Learning, and Problem-Based Learning. Attendees were able to receive University of Denver Certificates of Completion for Contact Hours for sessions they attended.

Lessons learned at SFN extend beyond the event as attendees carry back to their schools, fellow teachers, and classrooms the new and creative education methods they learned, propelling schools across the country toward even greater 21st Century learning opportunities. “Share Fair Nation exemplifies Morgridge College of Education’s commitment to life-long learning through professional development. We believe that as a College, our responsibility to teachers extends beyond pre-service to ongoing teacher development and support through innovative, hands-on learning.” Said Karen Riley, Dean of the Morgridge College of Education.

The exciting day came to a close at the Morgridge College of Education with attendees joining Share fair Nation founder, Carrie Morgridge, outside for prizes, which included Ipads, Chromebooks, Kindles, STEM kits, subscriptions, and much more.

Dr. Julie Sarama, the Morgridge College of Education’s Kennedy Endowed Chair and Curriculum and Instruction professor, will be joining the Design for Impact in Early Childhood Education Initiative, funded by New Profit and its Early Learning Fund. Led by Yvette Sanchez Fuentes, former director of the Office of Head Start, this project brings together a network of scholars, program and policy leaders, communities, and support organizations to develop, implement, and evaluate variants of a comprehensive design for an early education program for three to four year olds. The goal of this initiative is to develop and test effective, adaptable, and holistic support models for early education programs that are based on contemporary evidence. The pilot program is scheduled to launch in 2016.

Dr. Sarama is a leading curriculum designer for early childhood education, particularly for mathematics instruction. She is the co-creator of the pre-K math curriculum, Building Blocks, Building Blocks Learning Trajectories (BBLT)—a teaching tool for early math educators—and the forthcoming Learning and Teaching with Learning Trajectories (LT2), a web application that updates BBLT to reach an even wider audience.

nick cutforthDr. Nick Cutforth, Department Chair and Professor of Research Methods and Statistics, is helping to improve physical education practices in underserved, rural, and low-income Colorado schools through a community-engaged research project, Healthy Eaters, Lifelong Movers (HELM). Obesity has been identified as the biggest health threat to U.S. children according to the Institute of Medicine. Alongside Dr. Elaine Belansky from the University of Colorado’s School of Public Health, Dr. Cutforth aims to turn this around with HELM, partnering with K-12 schools to implement evidence-based, school-level environment and policy changes. HELM has two proven approaches: AIM (Assess, Investigate, Make it Happen), which promotes healthy eating and physical activity in students; and the Physical Education Academy, a professional development program for teachers that increases the quality of physical education. Initially funded by the Colorado Health Foundation in 2010, HELM provides participating schools with the training, equipment, and monetary resources needed to implement healthy changes.

While AIM encourages healthy behavior for the entire day, the Physical Education Academy focuses on P.E. class and introduces teachers to the SPARK program, an evidenced-based P.E. curriculum, which involves teaching traditional games and sports in innovative ways, and more small-sized games and activities that cater to the individualized abilities of students. “We’ve introduced a new kind of P.E.,” says Dr. Cutforth, “which engages all the children, not just the athletes.” As a result P.E. classes provide more opportunities to increase moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) among students.

Currently in his fifth year with the project, Dr. Cutforth’s work has shown significant improvements in the quality of physical education programs and teachers’ instructional practices. For example, in the 17 San Luis Valley elementary schools that participated in the P.E. Academy, the quantity of MVPA in P.E. class increased from 51.1% to 67.3% over a two-year intervention period, resulting in approximately 14.6 additional hours of physical activity over a school year. He says, “PE teachers are disguising fitness in the form of fun activities, so the kids are much more engaged, and the teachers are spending less time on classroom management.”

In 2013, HELM was refunded by the Colorado Health Foundation and has expanded to schools in southeast Colorado. HELM’s reach now extends to more than 15,000 kids in some of the poorest counties in the state.

Kitchen-150x150Dr. Richard Kitchen, Kennedy Endowed Chair and Professor in the Curriculum & Instruction program at Morgridge College of Education (MCE), aims to advance equity and diversity in education through Access in Mathematics for All (AMA), a project funded by the National Science Foundation’s Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program. “The goal of the program,” says Dr. Kitchen, “is to recruit talented students of color and low-income students to come to DU to study mathematics, to encourage them to become mathematics teachers and return to their communities to serve as educators.”

Dr. Kitchen and his fellow researchers—Dr. Nicole Joseph and Dr. Alvaro Arias, also from DU, and James Gray from the Community College of Aurora (CCA)—are developing an infrastructure that will provide academic and social support for future students in AMA. The team has built relationships with CCA and Aurora Public Schools to recruit potential students through a pilot tutoring program, host math talks focused on the importance of mathematics and mathematics education, and integrate existing services at DU to better serve future AMA students.

To augment the impact of AMA, Dr. Kitchen and his team have submitted a second proposal to the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program for $1.45 million to fully fund five students in MCE’s Teacher Education Program each year for five years.

AMA addresses a critical need for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) teachers, as identified in the National Science Foundation Authorization Act and the America COMPETES Act. The program also supports the National Science Foundation goal to “Prepare and engage a diverse STEM workforce motivated to participate at the frontiers.”

Doctors Julie Sarama and Doug Clements, the Morgridge College of Education’s Kennedy Endowed Chairs and Curriculum and Instruction professors, as well as Dr. Heather Ryan, Library and Information Science assistant professor, will present at the University of Denver’s Pioneer Symposium on September 25-26. During this two-day event, DU accomplished alumni and distinguished professors will present lectures and host panels and keynote speakers who will discuss a range of critical issues.

Doctors Sarama and Clements will lead a session entitled “The Surprising Importance of Early Math,” where they will discuss five research findings about early mathematics: its predictive power, children’s math potential, educators’ understanding of that potential, the need for interventions, and what we know about effective interventions.

Dr. Ryan’s session, “Preserving Our Digital Cultural Heritage” will address new challenges in maintaining access to our digital cultural heritage over the long term, and the “digital dark age.”

The Pioneer Symposium features a wide array of topics, including “The Right to Health in Practice: Lessons and Challenges,” “Film as Religion,” “Mental Illness and the Courts: Myths, Challenges, and… Hope?” among many others. DU’s Chancellor Rebecca Chopp will kick off the event during a welcome luncheon and panel discussion on September 25. View the full event schedule here.

The Pioneer Symposium is in its eighth year and open to everyone–alumni, parents, friends, and students of the University.

EVENT DETAILS:

Date: Friday, September 25 through Saturday, September 26, 2015
Time: 10 am to 6pm on Friday and 8 am to 2 pm on Saturday
Location:
The University of Denver
2199 S. University Boulevard
Denver, CO 80208
Cost: $40 fee covers all sessions and lunches on Friday and Saturday

Follow the personal journeys of a group of high school students in Los Angeles who have been identified as “twice exceptional”–gifted or highly gifted individuals with learning disabilities or differences. The Institute for the Development of Gifted Children at the Morgridge College of Education will screen the film, “2e: Twice Exceptional” on Thursday, October 1st. The event is co-sponsored by Jeffco Public Schools, Denver Public Schools, and the Ricks Center for Gifted Children.

“2e: Twice Exceptional” features illuminating and thought-provoking interviews with students, parents, teachers, psychologists, and therapists to present an honest, up-close look at what it’s like to be—or to be the parent or teacher of—a young person who’s both gifted and coming to terms with a learning difference. According to filmmaker, Thomas Ropelewski, these children vex their parents. “They are often considered ‘at risk,’” he says, “but they may very well grow up to change the world if they are given the chance to demonstrate and develop their abilities.” Among them may be the next Einstein, Mozart, or Steve Jobs… if they can survive the American school system and their own eccentricities.

“2e: Twice Exceptional” was a 2015 Official Selection at the Richmond International Film Festival, the Portland Film Festival, the Silver Springs International Film Festival, and Dances With Films.

EVENT DETAILS:

Date: Thursday, October 1, 2015
Time: 6:30 p.m. (one hour) – Discussion panel to follow
Location:
Morgridge College of Education
1999 E. Evans Ave.
Denver, CO 80208

Morgridge College of Education takes great pride in the lasting impact of our faculty whose work improves opportunities for student and community success. We are proud to share that Dr. William E. Cross, Jr. of the Counseling Psychology and Higher Education departments and Dr. Cyndy McRae of the Counseling Psychology department were each awarded a 2015 Elder Recognition Award for Distinguished Contributions by the Society of Counseling Psychology at the 2015 APA Convention in Toronto Ontario this August. The award recognizes the hard work and distinguished contributions that Counseling Psychology professionals bring to the field.

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Dr. Cross, who also received the Elder Recognition Award for Distinguished Contributions in 2013, is one of America’s leading theorists and researchers on black identity development and racial-ethnic identity development. His book, Shades of Black (Temple University Press, 1991) is a classic in the field. Dr. Cross was swept up by the Black Consciousness Movement of the 1960s and 1970s. From these experiences, he constructed Nigrescence Theory to explicate the identity-change process linked to social movement dynamics. The Cross Model became “the” template for scholars fashioning similar models on Native American Identity, Women’s Identity, Gay-Lesbian Identity, and Asian American Identity. Currently, he is co-authoring an edited text with Dr. Jas M. Sullivan of Louisiana State University, incorporating empirical studies on identity meaning and forms of internalized oppression. The book will be published by SUNY Press in January of 2016. Dr. Cross earned his PhD in Psychology from Princeton University.

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Dr. McRae’s research is focused on  psychosocial adjustment of persons with Parkinson’s disease, caregiver issues, and chronic illness, as well as the placebo effect and the effects of “Dance for PD” on daily lives. She is a member of the American Psychological Association (APA), a Fellow of the Society of Counseling Psychology since 2013, and she was the Chair of the Counseling Health Psychology Section, Division 17 of APA from 2006 to 2007. Dr. McRae is also a member of the Movement Disorder Society and the only non-MD chosen as an investigator in the Parkinson Study Group. Over the course of her career, she has mentored more than 65 students through the dissertation process. She actively encourages the Counseling Psychology community to focus on social justice, the expansion of internationalization efforts, and the importance of Counseling Health Psychology as integrative medicine becomes more widespread. Dr. McRae is the recipient of several awards: a Fulbright Specialist Award to Uganda, a National Institute of Health (NIH) FIRST award, and several other grants from NIH and other foundations. She earned her PhD in Counseling Psychology from the University of Iowa.

Congratulations to Doctors Cross and McRae for their well-earned honor from the Society of Counseling Psychology.

Dr. Frank Tuitt is devoted to the examination and exploration of topics related to access and equity in higher education, including issues of race, Inclusive Excellence, and diversity in and outside the classroom from the purview of both faculty and students. As Senior Advisor to the Chancellor, Provost for Diversity and Inclusion, and Associate Professor of Higher Education at the Morgridge College of Education, his studies are centered on teaching and learning in racially diverse college classrooms, diversity, and organizational transformation.

On Tuesday, July 21, 201Dr. Frank Tuitt. Exemplifies Inclusive Excellence5, the American Council on Education released the report, Race, Class, and College Access: Achieving Diversity in a Shifting Legal Landscape at a release convening in Washington, D.C. As a member of the research oversight committee for the report, Dr. Tuitt contributed to a panel discussion at the event for a conversation on the report findings. During the final session of the day, focused on the connection between admissions and student success, he commented, “ We recognize our students, faculty, and staff come to us with a variety of experiences that are assets—not something that should be checked at the door—but that are valuable resources that will help them be successful and we find ways to help them leverage those rich assets to support their overall success.”

The report fosters a much-needed dialogue on how institutions can best respond to a shifting policy and legal landscape at a time when access to postsecondary education has never been more vital and our citizenry never so diverse. The researchers examine contemporary admission practices at four-year colleges and universities across a wide range of selectivity in the context of recent legal challenges to race-conscious admissions, including the pending U.S. Supreme Court case Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin. Among other findings, the authors examine the most widely used and effective diversity strategies; changes in admissions factors after the 2013 Fisher ruling and statewide bans on race-conscious admissions; and, the most sought after research and guidance given the current legal and political landscape.

The Institute for the Development of Gifted Education (IDGE) is pleased to announce Dr. Julia Link Roberts as recipient of the 2015 Palmarium Award. She is the Mahurin Professor of Gifted Studies at Western Kentucky University as well as the Executive Director of The Center for Gifted Studies and The Carol Martin Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky.

The Palmarium Award is awarded to the individual most exemplifying the vision of the Institute for the Development of Gifted Education. A vision of, “a future in which giftedness will be understood, embraced, and systemically nurtured throughout the nation and the world.”

Recipients demonstrate the Institute’s vision through understanding of giftedness in the areas of:

  • Practice by impacting graduate education, pre-service, and P-12 community
  •  Outreach through advocacy at a variety of levels (local, national, international)
  • Publications informing teachers, children, parents, policy makers, and academia
  •  Research influencing theory, practice, and policy

For the full article on Dr. Julia Link Roberts visit WKUNews.

aSSURING a qUALITY eDUCATION

MCE’s Child, Family, & School Psychology (CFSP) Ph.D. and Ed.S. programs are both arccredited by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP).

NASP accreditation is an important indicator of quality graduate education in school psychology, comprehensive content, and extensive and properly supervised field experiences and internships, as judged by trained national reviewers. In addition, a program attaining NASP approval allows for a streamlined process for program graduates to obtain the Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) credential.

“NASP program approval is your assurance that the key professional association in the field recognizes the content and quality of Morgridge’s CFSP PhD and EdS programs” said Cynthia Hazel, PhD (Associate Professor and Program Coordinator).

Our NASP Accredited Programs

Since joining the Morgridge College of Education faculty in 2011, Dr. Nicole M. Joseph, Assistant Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, advances Inclusive Excellence research and practice around issues related to access, equity and achievement for underrepresented students. Her work focuses particularly on social justice for African American females in math education. In addition to her research, Dr. Joseph is strongly committed to teaching, employing transformative practice to co-construct deep learning experiences for her students. Congratulations are in order; Dr. Joseph was recently awarded the 2014-2015 National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship.

Dr. Joseph is currently working on a number of research projects. She is the lead co-author of a book with MCE alumna Dr. Chayla Haynes Davison and Dr. Floyd Cobb entitled, Interrogating Whiteness and Relinquishing Power: White Faculty’s Commitment to Racial Consciousness in STEM Classrooms, which seeks to link issues of inclusion to teacher excellence by illuminating the critical influence that racial consciousness has on the behaviors of white faculty in the classroom (Haynes, 2013). The important work specifically examines STEM classrooms because of the over saturation of white faculty teaching in STEM, in addition to the STEM system being a white institutional space that perpetuates hegemony, thereby negatively influencing racially minoritized students’ equitable outcomes. The book is scheduled for release in the spring of 2015.

In addition to finishing her book, Dr. Joseph continues her work on the mathematics education of Blacks during segregation from 1854 to 1954 through a University of Denver funded PROF grant. This study focuses on archival data collected from 25 Historically Black Colleges and Universities across 11 states from sources such as mathematics textbooks, mathematics faculty papers, institution catalogs, yearbooks, and school newspapers. This history project is now being funded by her National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship.  Additionally, Dr. Joseph recently submitted an article to the Journal of Negro Education based on this work and is also working on turning this research into a book manuscript.

In the Fall 2014, Dr. Joseph began working with a University of Denver Interdisciplinary Research Incubator for the Study of (In) Equality (IRISE) post-doctoral fellow, Subini Annamma, to study race, class and gender inequalities in K-12 schools. Over the next two years, she and Dr. Annamma will be working together on research that focuses on these important areas.  Additionally, Dr. Annamma will offer a graduate course that will be cross-listed in education, social work, and law.

Dr. Joseph and Kate Crowe pose with 9News' TaRhonda Thomas

Dr. Joseph and Beverly Leali pose with 9News’ TaRhonda Thomas

As the founder of the Sistah Network, Dr. Joseph is committed to the experiences of Black women at DU. She is currently partnering with Kate Crowe, the Special Collections and Archives Curator to conduct oral histories of Black women alums from the University of Denver from the early 1950s to the present. These oral histories are important because they help to reconstruct a more complete picture of the student experience at the University  of Denver’s rich history. Dr. Joseph and Ms. Crowe will create a repository of these oral histories for future researchers who would like to study this area.  TaRhonda Thomas, from Channel 9 news recently did a story on this project, DU seeking out diverse history.

“Part of being a school leader is building systems and empowering staff to transform schools to meet the needs of all students,” explains Dr. Susan Korach, researcher in leadership preparation and co-creator of the Ritchie and ELSS cohorts at the Morgridge College of Education. Korach, along with the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies (ELPS) faculty, attended the biannual Colorado Association of School Executives (CASE) Educational Leadership Convention this July in Breckenridge. The Convention brought over 1,000 principals, assistant principals, superintendents and school leaders from across the state together to engage in workshops, seminars, and professional development to share ideas, research findings, and stories with the mission of improving Colorado schools.

Many current MCE students and ELPS program graduates were presenters at the 2013 CASE conference, speaking on their experiences as school leaders and how they’ve come to ignite change within their schools and educational organizations. Nelson Van Vranken, MCE alum and Principal at Hanson Elementary School, and his leadership team presented on their school’s recent transformation. In 2009, Hanson was identified as one of the lowest performing schools in the nation, based on student growth and performance data, but in 2012 ranked in the highest performing TACP category. Van Vranken attributes much of his schools success to his training at MCE: “The Ritchie cohort fully prepared me for the challenges of urban school reform. Through our reform efforts, we gathered data to build a clear vision for the school, then focused on creating a school culture that supports learning. In all of this, our goal is centered on lasting change, so our biggest learning is in front of us. It was powerful to have the opportunity to share the lessons we have learned through our work with colleagues from around Colorado. ”

Morgridge College of Education is a “Friends of CASE” sponsor because the two organizations share the vision and commitment to helping improve Colorado schools and districts. Dr. Korach elaborates, “We want to create more partnerships and support leadership work throughout the state. Supporting CASE is an opportunity to help MCE have a broader prospective of leadership, expanding our support, programming and relationships from mainly urban districts to rural areas.”

Through the ELPS program at Morgridge College of Education, students work InContext within their schools and educational organizations while developing their leadership and professional skills. “We intentionally prioritize adding value back to the schools and educational settings in which our students are working;” Korach states, “through the Ritchie and ELSS InContext learning opportunities, though each capstone project at the masters level, and through the doctoral courses and research projects, our students are serving as active change agents in our schools and our community.” ELPS students are encouraged to be members of CASE to continually further their educational leadership development and collaborate with other educational leaders.

Morgridge College of Education offers Certificate (Ritchie and ELSS cohorts), Masters, EdD and PhD programs in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. Typical students in the ELPS programs have anywhere between 3-20+ years experience as an educator, however, a smaller number of students come from outside of the field of education. The Ritchie Program for School Leaders is a district partnership cohort with Denver and Adams County School Districts, while the ELSS cohort utilizes blended online technologies in district (Aurora and DPS) and regional cohorts with InContext opportunities for the integration of coursework and internship. Both Ritchie and ELSS consist of 4 quarters of coursework, focused on school-based inquiry projects, and a 300+ hour integrated internship to meet the requirements for principal licensure and evaluation. Upon completion of a Ritchie or ELSS cohort, graduates must pass the PLACE principal exam for state licensure and receive approval from Colorado Department of Education. Both cohort options immerse candidates into practice of real situations in real schools, resulting in a unique learning experience that retains a high hire rate for assistant principal, principal, or educational leadership positions. Many Ritchie and ELSS graduates continue with 15 hours of coursework at MCE to receive their Masters. The ELPS EdD and PhD programs support educational leaders with aspirations of being superintendents or getting involved in district level leadership and policy making. For more information on any of the ELPS programs, please contact the Office of Admissions at morgridge.du.edu/contacts.


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