Clemens Crossing Cougar Comments

February 16, 2018 - VOLUME 39, ISSUE 20

Events Coming Up

For a complete list of dates and events or to subscribe to the CCES Calendar,


  • 16 - No School - Countywide Professional Day
  • 19 - Schools Closed - President's Day
  • 21 - Pointers Run ES Welcome Meeting (families affected by redistricting), 7:00 p.m. at Pointers Run ES
  • 24 - Roller Skate Night at Supreme Sports Club, 4:30 p.m.
  • 28 - In-School Banking, 9:00 a.m.


  • 1 - National Women's History Month Begins
  • 2 - Read Across America Day & Dr. Seuss Spirit Day
  • 2 - International Night, 6:30 p.m.
  • 5 - Kindergarten Registration Begins Daily 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
  • 6 - Kindergarten Registration Evening Hours #1, 4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
  • 7 - Interim Progress Reports Issued
  • 8 - Kindergarten Registration Evening Hours #2, 4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
  • 9 - Career Day (Grades 3-5)
  • 14 - PTA Meeting, 7:00 p.m.
  • 15 - Family Math Night, 6:30 p.m.
  • 22 - Boy's Night Out
  • 23 - Grade 1 Field Trip to Toby's Dinner Theater
  • 27 - Grade 4 Art Field Trip
  • 28 - In-School Banking
  • 30 - Schools Closed (State mandated holiday)


  • 2 - Schools Closed (State mandated holiday)
  • 3 - Schools Closed
  • 4 - Schools Reopen - Inclement Weather Make-up Day #1
  • 5 - Schools are Open - Inclement Weather Make-up Day #2
  • 6 - Schools are Open - Inclement Weather Make-up Day #3
  • 12 - Kindergarten Field Trip to B&O Museum Baltimore
  • 13 - End of Third Quarter - Early Dismissal at 12:45 p.m.
  • 17 - PTA Restaurant Night - Chipotle in Fulton
  • 18 - PTA Meeting, 7:00 p.m.
  • 23 - Report Cards Issued
  • 25 - In-School Banking

From School Administration

Education is notorious for acronyms, cleverly named programs, and abbreviations.
IDR, MAP, PARCC, IXL, IEP are just some of the almost endless acronyms in our schools. Below, you will find a brief explanation of our primary and intermediate language arts programs as well as an explanation of the standards for mathematical practices to help you navigate some educational language.

What is IDR?

If you aren't in the field of education, you likely don't know what IDR stands for and what it means for your child. IDR is Independent Daily Reading. Some might say it is the "Daily 2" when compared to the structure of the Daily 5. This structure is an opportunity for students to read and write daily. As I have shared in the past, the research shows that the more we read and write, the better we are at both.

The researchers conclude that “among all the ways children spent their time, reading books was the best predictor for measures of reading achievement, reading comprehension, vocabulary, and reading speed, including gains in reading comprehension between second and fifth grade” (285).

Independent Daily Reading is…

  • A structure to support students in daily independent reading
  • Explicit instruction on reading strategies to help students work through challenges as they read independently
  • Time for students to practice applying what has been taught in an authentic way
  • Students taking charge of their learning
  • Teachers conferring with students about their reading and writing
  • Naturally differentiated
  • Students discussing books
  • IDR provides students independent reading time to choose and read books based on their interests. Teachers work with students to set reading goals so that they are engaged in reading. Our goal is to create lifelong readers ready for the demands of college and careers.

This structure enhances the rigor of our program by providing more time for our students to read and write, and conference with their teachers about both. It provides them the opportunity to apply what they are learning on a daily basis. This change in our programming in both 4th and 5th grade will help strengthen our students as they move on to middle school.

What is Daily Five?

Over the last few years, our focus has been the implementation of the Daily Five and Guided Reading. As many of you know, the more our children read and write, the better they will get at both. In our implementation of the Daily Five/Guided Reading, we are providing children an opportunity to read and write every day.

During our literacy time in our primary classrooms, we use a structure called The Daily 5. At the beginning, this structure is put into place helping teach children to be independent on literacy tasks. Once students are taught the behaviors of the tasks and build their stamina for independence, they are able to work with individuals and small groups. Once children are taught to build their stamina, they become engaged each day in these research-based meaningful tasks:

  • Read to Self
  • Work on Writing
  • Word Work
  • Listen to Reading
  • Read to Someone

Standards for Mathematical Practices

We have focused to ensure we are providing opportunities to apply what they learn and how they apply their ideas for math. However, as a parent, what are these standards and what do they mean?
1. Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them
Students should be able to explain the meaning of a problem and actively look for ways that it can be solved. Instead of jumping right into an attempt at a solution, students need to critically analyze the math problem, speculate about the form and meaning of the solution, and plan a pathway to get there.

2. Reason abstractly and quantitatively
Making sense of quantities and their relationships when problem solving is an important math skill for students to possess. This involves creating coherent arguments and using symbols to represent mathematical situations. Students should be able to use the different properties of operations and objects flexibly.

3. Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others
When constructing arguments, students should consult definitions, theorems and previously established results. They will need to justify their conclusions by building a logical progression of claims and using examples. It’s also important that they be able to distinguish correct reasoning from that which is flawed.

4. Model with mathematics
This brings math outside of the classroom. Students must have the skills to take what they’ve learned in math class and apply it to situations they encounter in everyday life. What this means will evolve as students mature and work their way toward high school graduation.

5. Use appropriate tools strategically

When solving math problems, students will need to consider the tools they have available to them. This can range from pencil and paper, to a calculator, to math software or a protractor. They should be able to identify which tool will be most helpful and use it appropriately.

6. Attend to precision
Good mathematical practice also involves the ability to communicate what one has learned. Students must be able to use mathematical definitions to clearly and accurately explain their reasoning. In addition, they should be precise about units of measure and labeling axes.

7. Look for and make use of structure
Students should be able to discern patterns and structures in math. What this means varies depending upon grade level. Elementary math students, for example, should know that 4+5 and 5+4 mean the same thing. High school students will need to note regularity in the way things cancel out when expanding an equation.

8. Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning
More advanced math students should be able to recognize when calculations are repeated and be constantly looking for shortcuts. As they work through math problems, students should continually reevaluate if they are on the right track.

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Staff Spotlight - Marybeth DeSantis

Ms. Marybeth DeSantis is our Staff Spotlight for this week. This is Ms. DeSantis' twenty-second year at Clemens Crossing ES as our Instrumental Music Teacher. Ms. DeSantis was originally a performance major in college, but quickly changed her mind when she knew she wanted to work with children. She attended Indiana University and Towson University for undergraduate school. She earned her master's degree from Towson University and recently earned her Administration and Supervision Certification from McDaniel College.

Ms. DeSantis has three grown children. Her oldest daughter is a band/orchestra teacher in Montgomery County. Her daughter, Sarah, is a student at Towson University, and her son, Andrew, is a student at West Virginia University. Outside of school, Ms. DeSantis enjoys working on her home, exercising, playing the flute at church, and spending time with her family and friends.

HCPSS Unheard Perspectives Showcase

The Unheard Perspectives Showcase: Student Investigations of Black History was offered to students in Grade 3 to learn more about African Americans in American History. The question guiding each entry is: “Which African American innovator has had a significant impact on your life?” To answer this question, students gathered to develop research skills and learn more about black innovators throughout American history. Students used original letters, songs, interviews, pictures, and maps as well as newspaper articles and biographies to discover more about their chosen innovators.

The following students presented at the Unheard Perspectives Showcase on Saturday, February 10 at Wilde Lake Middle School.

Morgan Perry, Grayson Farley, and Rhema Yang earned the Silver Award for their presentation on Valerie Thomas.

Nicholas Barnes earned the Gold Award for his presentation on Frederick Douglas Patterson.

Sebastian Kolb, Joel Varghese, and Kayden Stephenson earned the Gold Award for their presentation on George Washington Carver.

Thank You

Thank you to the entire community for providing supplies for our related arts team.

Third Quarter Curricular Corner

Kindergarten Curricular Corner

In Language Arts we will learn how to write a personal narrative by using a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to narrate a single event or several loosely linked events, tell about the events in the order in which they occurred, and provide a reaction to what happened. We will focus on learning to recognize and write sight words with automaticity and reading emergent-reader texts with purpose and understanding.

In Math, we will identify shapes as 2-D (flat) or 3-D (solid) and model shapes in the world by drawing and building shapes. We will learn to decompose numbers in more than one way and represent addition and subtraction using fingers, claps, objects, acting out situations, drawing, and explanations. Students will solve addition and subtraction problems using objects and drawings and add and subtract fluently within 5.

In Health, students will demonstrate the ability to apply prevention and treatment knowledge, skills, and strategies to reduce susceptibility and manage diseases. We will identify and practice proper hand washing steps and focus on ways to prevent illness, practice personal and dental hygiene to stay healthy.

In our Social Studies unit titled, My Country ‘tis of Thee, students will understand how individuals and events have changed society over time. Students will learn about the history, symbols, and principles necessary to become responsible American citizens. As a cornerstone project, students will create an American Museum in the classroom. The museum will include student representations of historical figures and national symbols associated with America.

In Science, students will investigate types of forces. They will learn the difference between a push and a pull, determine the difference between a soft push and a hard push, and investigate ways to make an object’s motion start, stop, change speed, or change direction. Students will use the Engineering Design Process to investigate how changing the force of a push or pull will affect the speed or direction of an object.

First Grade Curricular Corner

Language Arts- First graders will continue to build reading, writing and comprehension skills during guided reading group instruction and “Daily 5” activities. Students are working to effectively read and spell sight words and apply word family patterns when writing. First graders are learning when to apply appropriate capitalization and punctuation. We are excited to become published authors as we begin working on our first grade “Paw Print Press” stories.

Math- First graders will continue to work on mastery of addition and subtraction facts using doubles and halves strategies. They will learn to mentally find numbers that are +10/-10 within 100. Students will solve a variety of story problems, including those with three addends. Students will demonstrate an understanding of the meaning of the equal sign, and determine the unknown in an addition and subtraction sentence.

Social Studies & Health- First graders will continue to travel around the world learning about the similarities and differences of world cultures. Students will learn how to practice healthy hygiene during our dental health unit.

Science- Our quarter 3 Science units is “Light”. In this unit, first graders students will participate in investigations and make observations to gather evidence proving that objects can only be seen when they are illuminated/lit up. They will have the opportunity to plan and conduct an investigation to determine what happens when objects are placed in the path of a beam of light. They will learn to describe objects as reflective, transparent, translucent, or opaque, depending on how the beam of the light travels through/not through the object. Lastly, students will use the Engineering Design Process to develop a communication device with a light source, using what they have learned about light throughout the investigations.

Second Grade Curricular Corner


The students will read a variety of nonfiction texts that focus on inventors, creative thinkers, and problem solvers. Creative thinking can be described as inventive, original and "out of the box." The thinking typically evolves to solve a problem and/or make life's tasks easier. Students will read expository texts that provide factual information about creative thinkers that conceive unique or novel devices, methods, processes, or discoveries.


The students will write informative/explanatory texts in which they introduce a topic, use facts and definitions to develop points and provide a concluding statement or section. They will also participate in shared research and writing projects (e.g. read a number of books on a single topic to produce a report; record science observations). And recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question. In addition, students will write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply reasons that support the opinion, use linking words (e.g., because, and, also) to connect opinion and reasons and provide a concluding statement or section.


The students will:

  • Recognize the importance of healthy dental hygiene habits.

    • Consequences of poor dental hygiene

    • Childhood tooth loss

  • Identify and practice healthy dental hygiene habits.

    • Brushing, flossing, regular dental check-ups, eating healthy foods

  • Explain how to improve or maintain personal health.

    • Regular doctor visits, exercise, adequate nutrition, good hygiene, avoiding hazards


Students will cooperatively use a variety of sources - data collected through investigation, video, and texts - in order to eventually construct an evidence-based explanation of a natural phenomenon. In this unit, the "natural phenomena" is that Earth's land features change, and they do so at a variety of rates. It is not essential that during, nor at the conclusion of, this unit students define the processes by which the Earth changes. Instead, students will be able to explain with evidence that Earth changes and those changes can occur quickly or slowly. The unit concludes with students participating in the Engineering Design Process to demonstrate how humans may be able to slow or prevent some of the changes Earth undergoes due to erosion.

Social Studies

Major concepts covered in Quarter 3 include:

  • Production of goods

  • How technology impacted production

  • Markets around the world

  • Decision Making

  • Global trading


The students will focus on time, money, measurement, and number operations during this quarter. Students will count money by combinations of coins and bills through 5 dollars, tell and write time to the nearest quarter-hour with (a.m. and p.m) and measure and compare lengths. Students will work on mastering addition and subtraction facts using the “near doubles” strategy.

Mathematics (Above grade level)

The students will focus on time, measurement using area, fractions, and facts using 6 and 9. Students will review fraction concepts (whole, unit fractions, fractions less than 1), fractions on number lines, equivalent fractions, and compare fractions. Students will learn the concept of Area (unit square), how to count area and relate area to the operations of multiplication and addition. Students will also work on two-step word problems with all 4 operations and solve word problems with time.

Third Grade Curricular Corner

Language Arts

In quarter three students will continue to read strategically to construct, extend, and examine meaning with different types of age-appropriate materials for various purposes: literary experience, to be informed, and to perform a task. This quarter we are focusing on comparing two informational texts, and literary versus informational text. They will also examine the author's point of view.

They will express thoughts clearly and effectively in speaking and writing in informational and persuasive writing. They will be using research techniques to access evidence and support for their writing. In addition, they will factor in their targeted audience and employ appropriate language mechanics and vocabulary skills to effectively convey their thoughts and ideas.


In math, we will continue with problem-solving strategies within multi-step word problems for all operations. We will broaden our math facts by learning our facts for 6’s and 9

‘s, and multiply numbers by 10. Our fractions unit will focus on generating and comparing equivalent fractions. We will model fractions with visuals and on number lines. Measurement with focus on calculating the area of plane figures and telling time in quarter hours.

Mathematics (Above Grade Level)

We will continue our study of decimals and fractions. In Decimals we will add and subtract decimals, compare decimals with denominators of 10/100. We will explore the relationship between decimals and fractions. We will continue to generate and compare equivalent fractions, and add and subtract fractions with like denominators. We will apply our knowledge of fractions in the application of data on line plots. We will increase the complexity of computational skills for multiplication and division as we multiply 4 digit times one digit numbers and two-digit by two digit numbers. We will divide 3 and 4 digit numbers by one digit. We will learn to interpret remainders within division problems. Measurement unit encompasses the study of standard and metric units for length, capacity, and mass. Students will also explore geometry concepts by identifying and drawing points, lines, line segments, rays, and angles in 2-dimensional figures.


Students will demonstrate the ability to apply prevention and treatment knowledge, skills, and strategies to reduce susceptibility and manage disease. They will learn the difference between communicable and non-communicable diseases, lice, ticks and lyme disease. They will also Explain the importance of prevention and early detection and treatment of disease.

Social Studies

Our focus is on economics in our unit Money Matters. The overarching question is how can people in a community use their money wisely? We will learn about decision making, supply and demand, creating a budget and borrowing money.


Science will focus in on ecosystems as we look at plan and animal survival. We will examine the impact of environmental changes and the ways they affect a place’s physical characteristics, temperature, and resources Being part of a group helps animals obtain food, defend themselves, and cope with changes in their environment. We will learn about some kinds of plants and animals that once lived on Earth are no longer found.

Fourth Grade Curricular Corner

English/Language Art - In ELA, students will have the opportunity to work on units about heroes and Greek Mythology.

The purpose of the Heros Unit is to investigate the qualities that define a hero and the impact heroes can have on humankind, utilizing both narrative and informative texts. Using close reading practices, students will analyze the thoughts and actions of characters to determine the meaning of heroism. Multiple opportunities will be included for students to work in collaborative groups to share and discuss readings in depth. Through reading and discussions, students will define and describe heroes, distinguish between heroes and celebrities, and develop their ideas about why a person may be considered a hero. Greek mythology is embedded in our language and modern culture. An understanding of Greek history, gods, and mythology can help students make connections in language, literature, and even science.

In addition, students will work on writing pieces such as short debate speeches, infographics, poems and they will also write in response to reading. A debate speech is a discussion between two or more people that includes opposing views and a strong message aimed at influencing and convincing people to come to a different idea, belief, and/or attitude. An infographic is a visual image such as a chart or diagram used to represent information or data. We will continue to work on writing limericks and free verse poems.

Health - In health, students will demonstrate the ability to apply prevention and intervention knowledge, skills, and processes to promote safe living in the home, school, and community. They will also develop a plan to respond safely to potentially dangerous situations. In addition, they will demonstrate healthy ways to communicate needs, wants, emotions and opinions.

Social Studies - In social studies, students will be learning about colonial life in different regions. Specifically, focusing on the economics of the colonies, trade in the colonies, life for enslaved African, and the difference between free vs. enslaved Africans.

Science - In science this quarter, the students will carry out investigations that incorporate simulations, in order to collect data that can be analyzed and interpreted to identify cause and effect relationships, as well as patterns. Students will be able to use evidence to support an explanation for changes in Earth’s landscape over time.

Mathematics - In math this quarter, the students will be working on...

-equivalent fractions

-comparing fractions

-adding and subtracting fractions

-decomposing fractions with a common denominator

-adding and subtracting mixed numbers

-solving multi-step word problems

-reading and writing decimals

-decimal equivalents of fractions

-comparing decimals

-area and perimeter

-understanding angles

-relative sizes of measurement

Fifth Grade Curricular Corner

Reading – During the 3rd quarter, 5th grade will focus on comparing texts and poetry reading/comprehension. We’ll do that within the context of reading stories by and about famous Black Americans and women to honor those special months.

Language and Writing – We will continue use of Daily Language Review to reinforce grammar and editing skills. We will focus on verb tense and ensuring that our writing uses correct verb tense. In addition, we will conclude learning the structure and format of informational essay writing and move forward into writing our own poetry as we are learning to read the poetry of others.

Social Studies – In the 3rd quarter, we will continue to study early American history and in particular, learn about the role that Maryland played in the Civil War.

Science – For the 3rd quarter, we will begin a study of matter, including the properties of matter and chemical reactions.

Health – Our long awaited and most anticipated health unit happens in the 3rd quarter – Puberty Education! A parent information session will be held on Tuesday, February 13th to preview this curriculum. Students who do not have parent permission to participate will research and independent health study topic.

Math – We are unique in that we have several different levels of math in the 5th grade team that are each working on very different skills. Please check with your child’s math teacher to find out what particular skills your child is learning this quarter.

Career Day 2018

Clemens Crossing Career Day is Friday March 9, 2018. Do you have a job that you would like to talk about? Would you like to spark an interest in the next generation? Can you spare an hour or two? We invite you to be part of this exciting day! We are in need of parents to speak to students in Grades 3-5 about their careers. Presenters will speak to individual classes during 30-minute blocks. You may sign up for as many or as few blocks as you like. Our goal is to expose students to a variety of occupations. Whether your child is participating or not, we would love to have you! Please consider sharing your experiences and helping the children begin thinking about the world of work. If you would like more information, please email our School Counselor,
Ann Rogers at To sign up, click here or fill-out the form below.

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CCES International Night

CCES International Night is around the corner! Do not miss this fun-filled night on March 2nd starting at 6:30pm in the gym. This is a great opportunity to experience other cultures in our CCES family. For the first hour, families will get a chance to visit different country tables, taste food from around the world, get henna tattoos, and do crafts. Starting at 7:30 pm in the cafeteria, there will be an Indian Bhangra dance performance and workshop by JHU's Blue Jay Bhangra. This year, we are excited to have tables representing Bangladesh, Bolivia, Cameroon, China, Denmark, Germany, Guam, India, Ireland, Mexico, Pakistan, Puerto Rico, Romania, Spain and Taiwan! If you would still like to help with this event, sign up through this link: Feel to send any questions to or Thank you to everyone that has signed up! We look forward to a wonderful cultural evening!

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G/T Summer Institutes provide interested students with advanced-level instruction and enrichment experiences not regularly available during the academic school year. The curriculum is focused on talent development and provides academically and artistically rigorous activities. Teaching strategies represent best practices in the fields of gifted and talented and arts education.

The full catalog is below.

Inclement Weather Make-Up Days Announced

Dear HCPSS Community:

Now that we have had a fourth inclement weather-related closing, I want to give you an update on the school calendar for the remainder of this year.

Our academic calendar designates five possible inclement weather make-up days: February 19, April 4, 5, and 6, and June 15. Using February 19 (President’s Day) would have required a state waiver, as it is a state mandated holiday, and would have caused significant budget pressures. Instead, the Board of Education has approved the use May 18 in lieu of February 19 as a make-up day.

After carefully reviewing our options, I want to provide you with the following information as well as my rationale about specific days to be used to make up school closings. I understand that any mid-year changes to the calendar can be disappointing, especially to students and families who have already made plans. Please be aware that our primary consideration in making these decisions is a commitment to quality instruction. We also wanted to provide you a level of predictability as we look ahead to the rest of the school year.

  • Schools now will be in session on April 4, 5, and 6 and for a half-day on May 18 to make up for the four inclement weather days used.
  • If schools are closed for one additional inclement weather day, June 15 will be used.
  • State law mandates that the school year must be completed by June 15. If additional inclement weather closings become necessary, HCPSS will petition the Maryland State Department of Education for a waiver of the additional days.

The fifth possible make-up day on June 15 falls on a Muslim holiday. Per Board policy, no activities or exams can be scheduled on this day. This will require all end of school assemblies, promotion ceremonies, celebrations and final exams to be held on June 14 but still require students to attend on the day after. As an educator and a parent, I know that adding an additional day to the end of the school year would not effectively replace the valuable instruction days lost to inclement weather. HCPSS will use June 15 as a last resort to ensure that makeup days will truly serve as replacement days for the instruction time that has been lost.

We will continue to carefully weigh all decisions to close school when inclement weather threatens the safety of students and staff, and will notify families as soon as possible should any additional changes to the school calendar become necessary. For more information on the school calendar and inclement weather closings, please visit


Michael J. Martirano

Interim Superintendent

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Kindergarten & New First Grade Registration Starts March 5

Kindergarten Registration begins Monday, March 5 through Friday, March 9 at
Clemens Crossing Elementary School. Children who will be five years old as of September 1, 2018 must enroll in Kindergarten for the 2018-2019 school year.

Registration will take place daily from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
There will be two Evening Registrations available on Tuesday, March 6 and Thursday, March 8 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. No appointment is necessary.

You will need to bring the following documents:

  1. Birth certificate, birth registration or passport.
  2. Current immunization record - must be a print out from the pediatrician and signed.
  3. Deed or lease to your home
  4. Current utility bill
  5. Photo ID of parent/guardian registering the student

Please visit the Howard County Public School System website for complete information about enrollment and registration.

PLEASE NOTE: Families in the River's Edge neighborhood will need to go to Pointers Run Elementary School to register for Kindergarten.

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Turn In Box Tops for Education

Clemens Crossing receives cash for your Box Tops! Remember to cut them out and send them in with your child. Each grade level has a collection bin -- the more Box Tops your grade brings in, the more cash your child's class receives! Box Tops are collected all year-round. The next shipment will go out in late February, so please send in what you have by Feb. 9 and then keep sending them in for the remainder of the year for the next shipment.

Questions? Contact Angela Stark,

PTA Skate Night at Columbia Skate Arena at Supreme Sports Club

Saturday, Feb. 24th, 4:30pm

7080 Deepage Drive

Columbia, MD

HCPSS Community News and Programs on the HCPSS website

Announcements of upcoming events and programs sponsored by non-profit organizations.

Note: The Public Information Office encourages all community organizations to distribute notices electronically through this online resource. However, organizations may choose to distribute printed documents, such as the 2018 Parent Guide, through student backpacks, etc. per the provisions of HCPSS Policy 10010. For more information, please refer to Distribution Guidelines for Schools. Contact the Public Information Office with any questions, at 410-313-6682 or

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