News for South Bay Elementary & Middle Schools

Last Day of School

Thursday, June 12 will be the last day of school for the 2013-2014 school year. Please note that it is a minimum day with early dismissal at 1:30 pm.

last day of school

South Bay Parent Newsletter #14

Click here to download as a pdf.

south bay parent 8

Bus Schedule Change Continues

Hello South Bay and Pine Hill Families,

Unfortunately one of our school busses is in need of some major repairs, and it will not be available for the remainder of the week. The District understands how important school bus transportation is to our families. We have worked really hard, and have come up with a plan that will not exclude any of our students from taking the bus to school or home. Please make sure to check your child’s backpack for the updated bus schedule so you can get to the bus stops on time, as the pick-up and drop off times have changed to accommodate this bus shortage. Thank you for your patience in this matter.

To download the alternate bus schedules go here.

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Positive Behavior Interventions & Support

South Bay School expectation for behavior on campus.

pbis poster

Download a full sized poster here.


Read the articles below or download the September 2013 newsletter here.

New School Newspaper Available Online

Welcome to the South Bay Anchor!. This publication belongs to the students. The newspaper staff developed the name, the layout, the stories, and all the amazing ideas you see in front of you, and they did it all for you: the students of South Bay Middle School. The teachers, parents, and younger grades will read it, too, but this is meant to be a space filled with the things you like and care about, so please keep coming back and let us know how we're doing. At the bottom of every page, you'll see a space to submit comments, story ideas, questions for our advice columnists, and feedback. One of our editors will check those submissions every day, so if you talk, we'll listen. Thanks for reading our first issue; we hope you love it as much as we do!

The South Bay Anchor is here.

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Classroom Technology

In our continued efforts to be the leaders in school technology on the north coast, each of our classrooms in Kindergarten through 6th grade have been equipped with new interactive projectors, new document cameras, and new laptop computers. I heard many positive comments from parents that attended Back to School Night during the first week of school.  Teachers, of course, are really enjoying having the ability to work with internet-based resources, as well as the many other interactive options available to them. Students also have enjoyed having this new technology in their classrooms. Mr. Lentz, Pine Hill kindergarten teacher, mentioned to me that on the first day of school he was trying out the new interactive projector by having students come up to the board and identify different shapes by circling one with the interactive pen.  One of his students, without any prior instruction, took the pen when it was his turn, went up to the board and tapped on the color chart to change the color of the pen. He saw the tool bar on the side of the board and personalized it as if it were a giant iPad! To us, new technology is amazing; to our children, it is all they have ever known.

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New Teachers for 2013-14

Ms. Almanza is an artist and an experienced art teacher with an art degree from the Chicago Institute of Art.  She recently relocated to Humboldt County to work on her art, and she prefers to teach part time so that she can continue to work on her own area of specialty - ceramics. Ms. Almanza will provide a variety of art classes in the middle school program, and will serve as a resource for art in grades 4th to 6th. This trimester, Ms. Almanza will teach three electives: art, home economics, and ceramics.

Mr. Cameron is our new middle school math teacher and has 20 years of teaching experience. He is married and has two children. They relocated from the central valley to Eureka last year after his wife accepted a new position as an administrator in the Humboldt County Courthouse. Mr. Cameron teaches 8th grade algebra, 7th grade pre-algebra, one period math tutorial and two periods of PE.

Ms. Evans is back teaching 6th grade, and will now be here full time. Ms. Evans served as a long-term substitute last year from April to June when Mr. Storts accepted a position as Assistant Principal last school year. Ms. Evans has 14 years of teaching experience in the Chico area, with many of those years teaching at the 6th grade level. Ms. Evans and her husband have seven children, and relocated to Humboldt eight years ago after her husband accepted a new position in information technology.

Ms. Van Vleck is an experienced agriculture and leadership teacher who moved to the Eureka area last year from the central valley. She and her husband, Eureka City School District’s Superintendent, Dr. Fred Van Vleck, have three children. Ms. Van Vleck will provide various electives throughout the year to middle school students, but will also be in charge of student leadership at South Bay School. She and her students in the leadership class will organize many fun and exciting events at school, including monthly assemblies, grade level competitions, school dances (for middle school students only), and lunch time activities. In addition to teaching leadership, Ms. Van Vleck is teaching two 1st Trimester elective classes: psychology and floral design.

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Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS)

South Bay and Pine Hill Schools were selected to receive a grant from the Humboldt County Office of Education to implement a new school-wide discipline program known as PBIS. This program is used in schools across the county and is known for its effectiveness in creating effective systems to manage and improve student behavior at school. All school administrative staff, all teaching staff and selected classified staff such as school secretaries and after school site leaders attended a two day workshop in August to begin planning our implementation of PBIS. The goal is to create and implement a unified and consistent program district-wide, from kindergarten to 8th grade. The three main tenants of the program are: Be Safe; Be Respectful; Be Responsible. You may see these three “behavior expectations” posted around school, and your student will soon become familiar with these as well.

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Class Sizes Grades 4-8

After some rearranging of students from 4th grade and 5th grade and eliminating the combination class, the class sizes have stabilized nicely. Our 4th grade classes are nearly full, with Mr. Haraldson’s class at 29 students and Ms. Lenz’s class at 28. In 5th grade, Ms. Becksted now has 21 students in her room and Ms. Rains has 27 students.  In the 6th grade, Ms. Ross has 23 students in her room and Ms. Evans has 23 students. In the middle school there are four core teachers. The  7th grade has 46 students and the 8th grade has 34 students making class sizes of about 23 in 7th grade and 17 in 8th grade for core instruction.

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South Bay School Lunch Program

School Lunches: About 85% of the students at South Bay School eat a school lunch every day. Some students bring a lunch, others pay either the full or reduced price, and others receive a free lunch. The school secretary knows how each student pays for their lunches in order to manage the school lunch program; the kitchen staff, teachers, and other staff do not know this information, and neither do the students.

Paying for Lunch: Each student is expected to pay for their lunch before ordering it. Students can pay for their lunches in the school office. School lunches cost either $2.05 at a full price or $.40 at a reduced price and include the main course, side dish, milk and salad bar. Parents are encouraged to pay in advance by sending cash or a check (made payable to South Bay School) with their student, or we also accept payment by mail to: 6077 Loma Drive, Eureka, CA 95503.

Estimating lunch costs: The monthly school lunch menu is typically sent home a week before the new month begins. Parents are encouraged to look over the menu with their student and estimate the number of lunches the student will order at school. A student who eats school lunch every day will spend $10.25 for a five-day week and $41 for a full month of 20 school days.

Lunch Account Balances: Each student has an account set up on the school information system that will automatically deduct the funds from his/her account each day after lunch is served. Parents can obtain a current balance by contacting the school office at 443-4828 or by email at  A balance remaining at the end of the school year is automatically rolled over to the next school year unless you request a refund of the balance. The school office will contact the parent/guardian of a student who has a school lunch account in the negative with the amount owed to the school. If the amount owed exceeds $50, the student will not be allowed to receive a school lunch.

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Additional School News

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Alert Now Auto Dialer

Alert Now is an automated phone dialer. We use the Alert Now system to provide school reminders and, in case of emergency, important information regarding school closure or evacuation. The software pulls the first number on your child’s emergency card to call, so it should go to the phone number that is most used by you. When the Alert Now system calls your phone, the caller ID will come up 476-8549, the South Bay School District phone number. Please put this number in your cell phone! It is also a good idea to have the school office numbers in your phone in case your child is trying to reach you from school:  South Bay 443-4828; Pine Hill School 443-4596. 

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Video Surveillance at Both School Sites

New surveillance cameras have been added at both school sites. Pine Hill School had their system installed this summer while South Bay School’s cameras were installed last spring. The surveillance system is digital, with high definition infrared cameras that capture clear images in day or night.  The district primarily made the substantial financial investment to deter theft of our new laptops and classroom technology upgrades, but it has also served as a great tool to keep the campus safe during the school day.

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New Drop-Off Zone and Sidewalk

South Bay School in Eureka now has a new student drop off zone that will provide improved safety for students while making it more convenient for parents that drive their children to school. On county property just outside of the school entrance, the Humboldt County Department of Public Works designed and built a drop off lane that allows parents easy access in and out without having to enter into the school parking lot. The South Bay School District had a new sidewalk built that extends out to the new drop off zone to allow students to safely walk to class. Superintendent Meyers introduced the new drop off area to parents at the Back-to-School night on Wednesday evening, and the next day parent began using it and expressed their gratitude. District Supervisor Rex Bohn and Public Works Director Tom Mattson, both of whom were instrumental in making this project become a reality, met with Meyers on Friday morning to see the new drop off zone in action.


Picture: (L to R) Paul Meyers, Superintendent; Rex Bohn, 1st District Supervisor; and Thomas
Mattson, Director of Public Works.

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Meeting the Needs of the Whole Child

When school budgets were slashed by the state, schools had to cut many important school programs in order to keep schools from going bankrupt. Despite cutbacks, South Bay Union School District has always believed in educating the whole child, and kept it music program alive and well. Now, with the passage of Prop 30 by voters last November along with the increased funding South Bay is expected to receive from the Governor’s new school funding formula (see article on LCFF), the South Bay Union School District is proud to bring back the Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) program this year. In addition, the South Bay Union School District has invested in consultants to assist our teachers in providing the very best instruction in two important programs, Art and PE.

GATE Program: Gary Storts, assistant principal, will oversee the GATE program.  In addition to the annual GATE Academy at Humboldt State University, South Bay School is planning on hosting a Geography Bee and participating in Odyssey of the Mind. If you have questions about the GATE program, please contact Mr. Storts at South Bay School at 443-4828.

Art Program: The art program at South Bay School has been revived with the new art teacher, Autumn Almanza. In addition, the South Bay Union School District has contracted with Dr. Patty Yancy, an artist and instructor at Humboldt State University, to assist our teachers in integrating art into the curriculum. Teaching art in school has many benefits for students, many of which are aligned with the practices encouraged in the Common Core State Standards.

Physical Education (PE) Program:  To assist our teachers in providing a high quality PE program, the district has contracted with Mary Robinson, a retired PE teacher from Crescent City. Ms. Robinson will be providing professional development as well as recommending the proper equipment and supplies to improve our PE program. Today’s PE program is so much more than teaching sports. Physical education prepares children to be physically and mentally active, fit and healthy...for life.

Improvements to playground area: Children need to play, and as the student population has grown recently at South Bay School, we are making more improvements to our recess playground area to keep students engaged and involved in physical activity. This summer, the old ball-wall was removed and in its place will be two new basketball courts. By the library, a 40-foot cargo container has been added to store recess and playground equipment. This will make it easier to store the portable soccer nets and other equipment kids like to play with during the day. The storage container will also hold all the Track and Field equipment such as hurdles, high jump mat, etc. In addition, the wall of the storage unit will be lined with wood so it can function as a ball wall for hand ball and other games.

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Sports Schedules Now Online

You can now download a pdf of the South Bay Athletics sports schedule here.

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New Family Handbook Available Online

The South Bay Union School District 2013 - 2014 Family Handbook For Pine Hill Elementary School is now ready for distribution. You can get a pdf of the Family handbook here.

School Menus

Use the school menu page to view the school breakfast and lunch menus online or you can download them and print them at home.

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The Three R’s– Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships

From the school administration’s perspective, improving a school’s API score is often the result of a concentrated effort in the three R’s – Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships. The staff at South Bay School has strived to improve all three of these areas by implementing a variety of programs and strategies to meet these essential components. The staff has embraced the changes implemented to improve our academic program, such as leveled classes, team-teaching, online grading and advanced technology. Support programs have been modified and improved to provide both push-in (aides in classrooms) and pull-out (small group) assistance to students. School-wide participation in competitive programs like the Spelling Bee, History Day, and Science Fair gave students an opportunity to go above and beyond expectations. Many students took the challenge to represent our school in county and state competitions:

  • Sixth grader James Zwiker won the Eureka Regional Spelling Bee and went on to represent our school at the County Spelling Bee;
  • Many South Bay students earned awards at the County History Day, and seventh graders Mai Xiong, Anya Mariante and Caylin Bach were selected to compete at the State History Day in Sacramento;

 Several South Bay students placed at the County Science Fair, and Alexis Valtenbergs (8th grade) was selected to attend the State Science Fair in Anaheim.

The Third R – Relationships

The relationships within a school define the culture of the school. Positive, sustained adult relationships that know student strengths, interests, and goals are an essential component to provide students the safe and supportive environment they need to explore new learning, think critically, and push themselves to higher levels of achievement. Back in August when teachers returned from summer break, we started the year with the theme: Making Our House into a Home. We had just come off a year of a major reorganization of our two schools and now it was time to institute ideas and activities that would help build positive adult relationships and a sense of community. All staff were asked what they could do support this theme and many wonderful ideas resulted, such as a lunch crochet group for 4th-6th graders led by the South Bay District Business Manager, Arlene Spiers.

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Educating the Whole Child

From a parent’s perspective, the essence of a quality elementary education lies in the school’s effort to provide a safe and supportive environment that educates the whole child. As a parent of four daughters, two of whom attend South Bay School, I am keenly interested in how my children feel at school – Are they comfortable? Do they feel safe? Are they being inspired and challenged? Do they feel a sense of belonging? These emotionally-based attributes are not easily measured by some standardized program, yet they matter more to me (the parent) than some obscure API score. As a parent, I want my children to make friends, to be cared for and supported throughout the day, to have access to the school counselor, to enjoy playing music and singing in the choir, to experience fun enrichments in the EXPLORE program, to eat healthy food, and to participate in school sports.

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Emerging Educational Leader

The challenge of California public schools has been to build a quality school program that provides both a safe and nurturing environment and the three R’s with less funding from the state. In this challenge, South Bay School has succeeded. We have been able to increase academic achievement, improve the school climate, add a middle school and increase enrollment by 25% in the worst economic recession California has ever experienced. And now, with the recent passage of Proposition 30 and an increase in state funding to schools, we are poised to become the educational leaders on the North Coast. Plans this summer include outfitting each classroom with new technology – new laptops, document cameras, and LCD and interactive projectors.
Already we are being recognized for our technology; teachers and administrators from around the county are dropping by South Bay School to observe the impact of providing every middle school student a Google Chromebook. What they see are students more engaged, improved work completion and less paper-pencil activities. In fact, the Humboldt County Office of Education has invited our school to present a workshop at theirJune symposium about our success in implementing the first one-to-one computing on the North Coast.

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Outreach to Spanish-Speaking Parents

Relationships with parents and guardians are an extremely important part of the quality school. However, many of the programs that help parents feel involved with the school – Back to School Night, parent conferences, PTO, School Site Council, Open House, etc. – cater to those parents and guardians that speak English. To help all our parents become involved, the South Bay School District began two adult outreach programs this year: an Adult English as a Second Language (ESL) Class and Parent Partners with Education. Both of these programs were coordinated by Linda Dionne, ELD intervention Teacher/Curriculum and Professional Development Coach.

The Adult ESL class met at Pine Hill School’s computer lab and used a computer based language program to help adults learn English. Each class was an hour and fifteen minutes long and childcare was provided. The class had 12 adults enrolled and culminated with a presentation to the School Board.

The Parent Partners in Education program was held at South Bay School and included free dinner and childcare. The program was six weeks long and was presented by the Humboldt County Office of Education in Spanish. Eighteen parents attended and childcare was provided to an average of ten children. Any parent that attended all six classes was eligible to win a laptop. The class culminated with a question and answer period with school administration, certificates, and a free laptop computer. Blanca Valencia, 4th grader Jose Ramirez’s mom, was the lucky laptop winner!

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Soccer Planned for Fall 2013-14

Next year South Bay School plans to add Soccer to our list of after school sports teams. Soccer will be open to students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades.

Coaches Needed for 2013-14

If you are interested in coaching any of our sports programs next year, please contact Gary Storts, at 443-4828 or to apply.

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South Bay Middle School First In County To Provide 1:1 Computing

Classes Go Paperless After Every Student Receives Chromebook

On March 6th, each student at South Bay Middle School was issued a new Samsung Chromebook for educational use. South Bay Middle School is the first public school in Humboldt County to implement one-to-one computing to maximize student engagement in our fast-developing technological world.

Patty Valtenbergs, South Bay Technology Coordinator, working together with Colby Smart, E-Learning Specialist with the Humboldt County Office of Education, and the South Bay Middle School teachers pulled off what many thought was unattainable – providing each student with a laptop computer.


The Chromebooks are significantly more affordable than ordinary laptops, primarily because Google provides all the software for free. Google Chromebooks have made the possibility of going paperless with one-to-one computing a reality, and South Bay Middle School teachers are excited to be pioneering this effort in Humboldt County. Each of the middle school teachers is quickly becoming an expert on developing and sharing documents, opening folders, and creating Google forms for online quizzes and assessments. Katie King, 7th and 8th grade English teacher, has not photocopied one sheet of paper since the students received their laptops. All of her assignments are entirely created and turned in on the Chromebook using Google Docs.


In Clover Schinke’s history class, she feels that the instant access to internet sources has increased student's engagement with the content.  “The students feel empowered by the technology and are far more willing to take academic risks and really bring their creativity to the forefront,” says Schinke. “Since the introduction of the Chromebooks, the students don't want the period to end.  They want to keep researching and digging into the past. What else could a history teacher want?"

Click here to see a photo page of Students at South Bay Middle School show off their new "got chromebooks?

Read more and see more photos >>

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This is a movie of a cheerleading routine of the South Bay Middle School cheerleaders at a competition in Crescent City in March of 2013.

Click here to view the movie.

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South Bay Middle School

South Bay Middle School opened in 2011 to provide a technology-based academic program in a smaller, more personalized middle school setting. The South Bay Middle School is located at South Bay School in the South Bay Union School District. The South Bay Middle School is open to 7th and 8th grade students in Humboldt County. Currently, the middle school has 80 students; 38 eighth graders and 42 seventh graders, and an average class size of 20.

The South Bay Middle School educational program includes:

  • Highly qualified core teachers in Science, Math, History/Social Studies, and English
  • Pre-Algebra for 7th grade and Algebra Readiness and Algebra 1 for 8th grade
  • Rigorous academic standards
  • Emphasis on project-based learning
  • Technologically-equipped classrooms
  • 1-to-1 Computers (student laptops)
  • Online Grading System—Engrade
  • Homeroom, electives, and PE
  • Instrumental music program
  • Student leadership
  • Competitive sports program
  • EXPLORE After School Program

The South Bay Middle School program provides enriching classroom instruction that goes beyond the curriculum standards with engaging written assignments, project-based learning, and participation in competitive county projects and programs such as:

  • California History Day
  • County Science Fair
  • Regional Spelling Bee

Our teachers work together to enhance the core curriculum and educate the “whole” child by providing students opportunities for hands-on activities, problem-solving, and teamwork. The opportunities our teachers provide in the classroom and during free time help our students develop the responsibility and skills that will be essential as they move on to become successful adults.

Science and Technology Emphasis: Students in the South Bay Middle School take two full years of lab science taught by a highly qualified science teacher in a well equipped science classroom. The applied science program creates opportunities for students to engage in hands-on learning projects, experiments, and use of the South Bay Wetlands Learning Center.

Advanced technology is used by staff and students to enhance learning and teach workplace skills such as internet research, word processing, and website design. Each middle school student is provided a Samsung Chromebook (laptop) computer to use in school and at home.

Completing School Work is Required: We are serious about student achievement. In addition to a strict grade promotion policy, students are required to complete individual and group work. Failure to do so could result in the student’s removal from the school.

Sports Program: South Bay Middle School has an after school sports program. Sports teams being offered include soccer, volleyball, basketball, cheerleading, and track.

Transportation: Students enrolled in South Bay Middle School may ride the district bus service using established bus stops. Early drop-off is available at 7:30am each morning.

Register Now: Students attending or residing within the boundaries of the South Bay School District will have priority enrollment; however, students outside the district boundaries are encouraged to enroll. Classes are expected to fill quickly—enroll now! Download the registration form.

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Thank You, Sierra Pacific

Sierra Pacific generously donated $500 to the 5th grade classes of South Bay School. The donation was provided for the end of the year educational trip the students take. The trip is to the Oregon Caves and a jet boat ride. This year will be the second year the 5th grade students have been able to participate in such a trip. The trip would not be possible without the help of generous donations like the one Sierra Pacific gave. THANK YOU!

Pictured from left to right are:
Anna Willis
Elias Surber
Kyra Watkins
Matt Dusi
Nayelli Bravo
Rachael Livingston

sierra pacific thank you

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Parents Can Now View Child's Grades 24/7 with engrade

engradeSouth Bay School teachers are now using the engrade online grading system. Parents can contact Patty Valtenbergs to request a student account code. After receiving the account code, parents can set up a password that will allow them to access their child's grades online 24/7.

If you have an account code and a password, you can click here to login.

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Cell Phone Policy

Although not encouraged, students are allowed to have a cell phone at school. The rule is that the cell phone must remain “off” and in their pocket or backpack. Cell phones are not to be used during school time and this includes the EXPLORE after school program. Parents, please refrain from contacting your student at school using their cell phone. If you need to reach your child, please use the school phone at 443-4828.

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Get Involved with PTO

The Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) is open to parents/guardians of K-8 students at Pine Hill or South Bay Schools. The PTO is a huge supporter of our schools, and through their efforts thousands of dollars are raised each year to directly benefit the children in our district. PTO meets the third Thursday each month at 6:00pm. The location alternates each month from one site to the other. The next PTO meeting will be held at the Pine Hill Library on November 15th at 6:00pm. Please bring a friend and get involved with other parents/guardians like yourself who want to help make a difference in their child’s school.

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Bell Schedule

Download the South Bay School (4-6) and the South Bay Middle School (7-8) bell schedule.

Wetlands Project

See and read about the South Bay Wetlands Project

Student Handbook Now Available

The South Bay School Student Handbook provides a general voerview of important information about your school

School Board Meetings

Go to the School Board page.

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Web Site Redesign

We have redone our web pages so that they should display better on your smartphone, tablet, or other mobile dievice. If you are experiencing any problems, have requests, or want to make a comment, we value your feedback and ask that you contact our webmaster so he can enhance your online experience of our district.

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