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SPRING 2021

LEARNING ON LOCATION

Academics Outdoors, a breath of fresh air

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WHAT WILL HE DO NEXT? It’s sure to be great!

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LEARNING BRICK BY BRICK

Making learning fun for students with visual impairment

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Learning in the Great Outdoors AUTHOR: DR. GORDON TAYLOR Region 10 ESC Executive Director

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VEN as Region 10 ESC worked hard to meet the immediate and often bizarre needs of your schools during the pandemic over the past year, we never stopped working toward new, unique, and successful ways to meet the needs of students throughout the region. Whether it’s refining an existing program, helping institute a statewide initiative, or creating something completely new, our focus continues to be on making education better. One area we began to explore, while cooped up inside our remote learning and working locations, was the concept of using outdoor spaces as classrooms. Region 10 staff were intrigued by the idea, partly out of the necessity to find ways to help mitigate the constricting nature of social distancing, and partially because we were just curious if we could build something new and beneficial. The result of that work is our new Learning on Location: Academics Outdoors lesson guides and frameworks. These materials, built for K-12 courses, will allow teachers and students to move outdoors in the freedom and beauty of the natural world for experiential lessons. However, we didn’t stop with the instructional design. We also found a partner who would work with schools to provide unique areas for those lessons. Circle 10 Council of the BSA, based in Dallas, has agreed to make three of their camps available to schools Monday through Thursday

at very low costs. About 80% of the 880,000 students in Region 10 are within a 30-45 minute drive to one of these camps. Combining the educational design work of Region 10 with the facilities of Circle 10 is going to provide a completely new way for teachers to teach and students to learn. The days students are at the camps will not be field trips, but rather they will be the relocation of learning to outdoor classrooms. Research studies show that this type of learning creates an explosion of curiosity and deepens understanding of all students. Additionally, this method is often able to meet the needs of students who struggle in traditional classroom settings. The opportunities within Academics Outdoors will touch reading, science, history, and math. STEM project-based learning will also be possible for high school students. The sky is the limit on what can be done when you take young people outdoors. Learn more about this program in the article on page 5. I’m excited that Region 10 and Circle 10 will be engaged with you in these TEKS-based outdoor classroom experiences.

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SPRING 2021

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Academics Outdoors Awaits

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Already Missed

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Making a Difference

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Kaufman County Superintendents United

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What Will He Do Next?

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Art Around Town

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The Waiting Is the Hardest Part

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WiFi on Wheels Takes Internet Access to Students

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Finding Joy in the Journey

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Solutions That Simplify

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Learning Brick by Brick

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Math Matters

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Allen ISD Student Inspired to Help Others

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Region 10 Print Center: Keeping Kids First

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Stepping Up Our STEM Game

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CFBISD Student Wins National Poetry Contest

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Activity Kits Improve Family Engagement

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An Investment in Air Quality

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‘It’s the Most Fun’

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A Network of Support

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Reach! magazine is published twice annually by Region 10 Education Service Center, whose mission is to be a trusted, student-focused partner that serves the learning community through responsive, innovative educational solutions. For information about advertising or to suggest a story idea, please contact Rachel Frost, Chief Communications Officer, at rachel.frost@region10.org. To learn about the programs and services of Region 10 ESC, visit www.region10.org.

Cover Photo: Andy Stauffer, Region 10 ESC


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From the moment we arrived we were all in awe of the beautiful property.

“All students have strengths, and in the classroom, we do not reach our students who thrive in the natural environment.” Dr. Angela Barton, Director of Curriculum and Assessment for Canton Independent School District (ISD), joined four principals from Canton ISD, as well as a group of campus and district leaders from Kaufman and Van Zandt counties, to preview what Learning on Location will look like for students. “From the moment we arrived, we were all in awe of the beautiful property,” shared Dr. Barton. “Outdoor learning is an important opportunity for both educators and students. For educators, it will give them a chance to be creative and take risks with planning innovative lessons for their students. For students, it will enhance learning through activities that they are thrilled about and would normally not have access to.” Access to outdoor learning was one of the driving motivators when Region 10 began developing the Learning on Location program. This program will bring outdoor education to more than 80,000 students whose districts don’t have access to district-owned or nearby outdoor learning centers. 6

Members of the Region 10 Teaching and Learning Services team are creating teacher guides and student journals for outdoor learning experiences that will be used at the camps. In addition to the activity-packed, TEKS-based learning experiences we are providing, students in Region 10 will also have access to adventure learning, confidence building, and character development with certified Boy Scout staff teaching archery, climbing, rappelling, ropes course, wood turning, canoeing, orienteering, horseback riding, and firearm safety (for applicable high school courses). “Working in collaboration with the Region 10 Teaching and Learning team, we feel that we could create TEKS-aligned activities for standards that are typically more challenging to teach without the hands-on experiences,” Dr. Baton said. “All students have strengths, and in the classroom, we do not reach our students who thrive in the natural environment.”


“From the moment we arrived, we were all in awe of the beautiful property.”

The Region 10 Learning on Location: Academics Outdoors team proudly hosted its first group of students - about 400 kindergarten and second grade students from Ferris ISD - for a day of fun-filled, hands-on learning at Camp Wisdom in early May. The team looks forward to hosting many more students and educators at one of the three Learning on Location sites during the 20212022 school year, and for years to come! If you would like more information about Learning on Location, please contact Dr. Holly Bishop.

Dr. Holly Bishop

Region 10 ESC Program Coordinator holly.bishop@region10.org 972.348.1482 Photos: Andy Stauffer and Rachel Frost, Region 10 ESC

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Already Missed AUTHOR: ARDYS ATTEBERRY

Region 10 ESC Communications Services

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FFICIALLY known to us at Region 10 as Mack B. Pierson, we know him more personally as Mickey. We know him more personally because he served as a member of our Region 10 Board of Directors for more than 30 years. Mickey is the first to admit that the two people who probably had the greatest impact on his life are two strong women – his mother and his wife. His hard-working father, who built a foundation of faith for his family, rounds out the trio of role models who Mickey was blessed to have by his side. In 1970, Mickey and his family moved to Allen, a town with a population of 1,200 people at the time. Soon after, he served one-and-a-half terms as a councilman. He then became the mayor of Allen where he served the city well over the course of three terms from 1978-1984. Allen’s population grew from 5,000 to 16,000 during that time span, thanks, in large part, to thoughtful planning and organization. As Mickey likes to say, “If you’re really going to get the most out of whatever you’re doing, you have got to be part of it.”

Just imagine how much experience Mickey brought to Region 10 ESC’s Board of Directors. Of his 32 years of service, roughly 20 of them were as the Chairman. He says, “Some of the best times of my life were spent at Region 10.” His commitment to students, education, and community is undeniable, and must run in the family. His wife of 58 years, Carole, is a lifelong learner and teacher with more than 50 years of experience in education. Of those 50 years, 37 of them were as a full-time teacher in the classroom. If Mickey ever needed to put his finger on the pulse of what was happening in the classroom, he could always turn to Carole for information and inspiration. We think it’s safe to say, he couldn’t have done it without her, nor she without him. It’s also probably safe to say, we at Region 10 couldn’t have done it without them either. We already miss Mickey, and we are forever grateful for his many years of service as a member of the Region 10 Board of Directors.

Photos: Andy Stauffer, Region 10 ESC

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Thank You Region 10 ESC

Board of Directors

Steve Overton Chairman

Elvia Flores Vice Chairman

Early B. Milstead Secretary

David Foerch

Dr. Debra Crosby

Dr. Bruce Wood

Charles Williams

Brent Beckert

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Kaufman County Superintendents United AUTHORS: OLIVIA RICE

Terrell ISD Director of Communications and Marketing

BRYANT MARTIN

inForney.com Publisher

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N FUN AND SPORT, districts within the same county are often positioned against each other as rivals. Mayors make friendly wagers on whose team will win the homecoming football game, leaving one donning the opposing team’s jersey at the next city council meeting. Superintendents and district leaders playfully compare the number of graduation tickets each graduate will receive for commencement or the district’s policy on staff jean days. While the public often only sees the friendly competition, what they may not see is the collaboration and teamwork happening behind the scenes. In September 2020, Kaufman County commissioners made a historic pledge that public school children county-wide would benefit from an initial $2 million dollars in federal CARES Act dollars. These funds were further maximized by grant funding, thanks to the extraordinary collaboration and hard work of a group of Kaufman County school superintendents. In conjunction with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), passed by Congress in March, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) also offered public schools grant money to recover the cost of technology expenses for devices and connectivity infrastructure that was initially absorbed by local districts during the pandemic and onset of virtual learning. This specific TEA grant money only

matched COVID relief dollars given to districts by their local counties; therefore, to maximize state and federal dollars, local school administrators needed to solicit the support of local county commissioners. In some instances, this would allow local districts to double their CARES Act dollars. Kaufman County superintendents saw this opportunity to put aside friendly competition and roll up their sleeves to work together on an initiative that would benefit every student across the county. What happened next was an unprecedented act of collaboration to garner an incredible amount of funding. “We have always worked closely together and met regularly to share best practices and collaborate on common issues,” Scurry-Rosser Superintendent James D. Sanders said. “Since the onset of the pandemic, these meetings have become more frequent, more informative and more powerful than ever before. We have realized together during this time that there is a commonality to all of us, but that each district brings its own set of skills and resources to the table that helps benefit us all. It has been extremely special to watch as we have worked together in ways we never would have imagined before,” Sanders says.

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Photo: Terrell ISD

Terrell ISD Superintendent Dr. Georgeanne Warnock led the charge to pitch the idea to county commissioners and then rallied the superintendents across the county to agree collectively on how the funds would be distributed among the districts if the commissioners granted the funding. “We knew we had a strong case to take to commissioners and the county judge that we are stronger together,” Dr. Warnock says. “Their generosity will allow us all to maximize those dollars, and with matching grants, make a huge impact on classrooms across the county like never before.” According to Dr. Warnock, the first million dollars will be divided amongst the districts based on student population. The remaining million is being divided based on the student population that receives reduced or free lunch. Funding amounts were also adjusted based on the percentage of taxable values within Kaufman County for districts that have boundaries in multiple counties. All the districts agreed that this metric was the fairest division of funds. Superintendents say they are thankful that the commissioners were willing to share the CARES Act funding to be eligible for additional grant funding, since districts had been hit especially hard with unbudgeted expenses last year that have been carried over. 16

“We appreciate the continued support of education in our community,” says Forney ISD Superintendent Dr. Justin Terry. “This is a significant contribution, providing much needed additional funds for the safety of students, and ultimately, families across Kaufman County.” Kaufman County is one of the first counties in Texas to announce such a pledge to schools and it is drawing the attention of districts from near and far. “I am hearing from superintendents from across the state, calling to congratulate us and ask us how we did this,” Dr. Warnock says. “I am blessed to get to work alongside some of the best superintendents and together we’re a great team and this was a great partnership.” Kaufman County school districts were presented with their CARES Act funding checks from Judge Hal Richards on March 23, 2021. District recipients included Crandall ISD, Forney ISD, Kaufman ISD, Mabank ISD, Scurry-Rosser ISD, Terrell ISD, and Wills Point ISD.


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What Will He Do Next? AUTHOR: ARDYS ATTEBERRY Region 10 ESC Communications Services

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R. ARZELL BALL’S life began long ago; 95 years ago, to be more precise. Raised on a farm just north of Eagle Rock, Missouri, his rural education was interrupted at the age of 17. He was drafted to serve our country in World War II. Dr. Ball served as a member of the 78th Infantry, Lightning Division, and did so with distinction in Europe from 1943-1945. In case you are wondering, Dr. Ball did receive his high school diploma. In fact, he was invited back to Cassville High School to give the commencement address 20 years later, and he was awarded his diploma at that time. Dr. Ball started his career as an educator in the Seligman schools in Missouri. He has a Bachelor of Science with a major in social studies from Southwest Missouri State College, a master’s degree from the University of Arkansas, and a

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Photos: Andy Stauffer, Region 10 ESC

Ph.D. in school administration from George Peabody College. As his education advanced, so did his career. Before serving as Superintendent of Shawnee Mission Public Schools in Kansas, back in 1967, he served as a secondary principal in Wichita and as a deputy superintendent in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Dr. Ball served as a member of the 78th Infantry, Lightning Division, and did so with distinction in Europe from 1943-1945.


For Dr. Ball, serving students was always the top priority. One of his latest endeavors is the Arzell Ball Center. It is a spectacular 28,000-square-foot school. More importantly, however, it is home to the Memorial Park Academy (MPA) where students can earn high school credits in a nontraditional school setting in pursuit of earning a high school diploma. Given all the amazing things Dr. Ball has already accomplished for students, educators, administrators, parents, and his community, one might well wonder: what will he do next?

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Art Around Town Showcases Student Artwork at Area Businesses AUTHOR: HELEN WILLIAMS

Greenville ISD Chief Communications Officer

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RT COMES TO LIFE when it is shared. That’s what inspired Greenville ISD art teachers to partner with area businesses to put on Art Around Town, which features 40 pieces of student artwork on display at seven area businesses. “I am super excited to see our students’ artwork displayed around town. I believe that having art displayed at local businesses contributes to a sense of community pride,” said Sixth Grade Center art teacher Monika Crossley. “Art education is not something that should be limited to the classroom. The Art Around Town exhibit will create exciting conversations about the arts in our community,” Greenville High School teacher Bill Shiflet said. Greenville Middle School seventh-grader Baylee Holloway said she is honored to have her work on exhibit at ReMax 3D Real Estate.

STUDENT ARTWORK: From left to right: Paisley Crenshaw-Dockter, Citlali Becerril Rosales, Baylee Holloway, Katia Osornio, Amanda Sanchez, Jenna Wade

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“It’s really cool,” Baylee said. “Art is absolutely my favorite class, and I look forward to it all day. It gives me the chance to express my thoughts and experiences.” Gail Sprinkle, owner of Uptown Forum on Lee Street, says she’s thrilled to be a part of the project. “Our Uptown Forum community is delighted to exhibit GISD student work. Studying art helps students improve their verbal, math, and problem-solving skills, but most importantly, it allows them to express their creativity and humanity,” Sprinkle said. “Art not only beautifies our environment; it can inspire and challenge us. Uptown Forum regularly hosts artists of all kinds: photographers, painters, musicians, dancers, poets, writers, and sculptors. The Top Art Gallery, situated on the top floor of Uptown Forum, will soon offer art lessons to children and adults.”


It has also been a year of reinvention. So, many of us are pushing the waiting to the side and creating new outlets for our creativity and expression.

The Waiting Is the Hardest Part AUTHOR: DR. DEMETRUS LIGGINS Greenville ISD Superintendent

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ATIENCE is a virtue that does not easily fit our lives, especially in a time when information overload speeds up everything. Like so many other superintendents, I love making things happen. I thrive on setting and attaining important professional and personal goals. For our Greenville ISD students, I want more than anything to open new doors that allow them to discover their talents and fulfill their potential. I want everyone, including our community, to see them fly, as only they can do. But this year made us put so many things on hold. This year, we were poised to open many of our Career and Technology “shops” to the public. Community members were excited about coming to Greenville High School to have their pets groomed, their oil changed, and to pick up a delicious lunch, all thanks to the skills of our talented and well-trained students. But this is a year of restless waiting. And, to quote the great Tom Petty, “The Waiting is the Hardest Part.”

This semester, our unstoppable students are on the move (with safety restrictions securely in place, of course). Our Fine Arts students took their performances online in the form of virtual showcases, allowing family members all over the globe to tune in. Because, as Shakespeare so eloquently put it, “all the world’s a stage!” We partnered with area businesses to provide mini-galleries for Art Around Town. We published a map listing the locations where art is on display, and we also featured student artwork using a virtual gallery on our website. GISD revamped its website to include athome academic resources, lesson plans, and instructional activities that can be used by parents, independent of their child’s teachers, in case of unforeseen learning interruptions. Our Robotics students flexed their problemsolving and engineering skills in virtual challenges, and our Solar Car team is building a lean, mean vehicle in preparation for competition this summer. So yes, unavoidable events have sideswiped plans and shredded timetables, but they have not kept our students from shining in so many ways. And they haven’t stopped our teachers from continuing to give their all by providing lessons for wherever life leads. We are proud of them and their perseverance and grit throughout this unprecedented school year. They have turned waiting into opportunity and innovation. I also want to thank all of my fellow Texas superintendents and administrators for joining together during this pressure cooker of a year and sharing great ideas and solutions for problems we are facing together. It is an honor to be a part of the Texas educational community, which stands strong even in the toughest of times.

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Photos: Quinlan ISD

Zaira Saldana Senior Quinlan ISD


Finding Joy in the Journey AUTHOR: TIFFONY CHAPMAN

Quinlan ISD Director of School-Community Relations

Auto Tech Program Sparks Joy in Quinlan ISD Student

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T’S ALL ABOUT YOUR OUTLOOK, your attitude, and your desire to make the best of everything there is to offer. “Find joy in the journey” is the motto that Zaira Saldana lives by and attributes to her public education story at Quinlan ISD’s Ford High School (FHS). So of course when it was time to paint her senior parking spot, she decorated it with this motto because it motivated her through high school. Zaira is the fourth of five children in her family. She has strong family values and parental support at home. She will be the first child in her family to graduate from high school with an associate degree through Paris Junior College and an OSHA-10 certification through the FHS Auto Tech program. Zaira is also on track to receive an entry-level Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification. Ford High School offers free college and associate degree programs, and many career and technology education programs, to provide students with as many opportunities as possible. “Not many of my students are girls. I have had a few, and Zaira has become one of my most outstanding Auto Tech program students,” said Auto Tech teacher JR Watson. “She was very shy and timid when she first walked into my class four years ago. My goal is to allow each student to learn about the automotive industry and grow in their own time. As the first year progressed, I saw potential in Zaira.”

Thanks to a bit of encouragement from Mr. Watson, Zaira also decided to join the SkillsUSA organization at FHS. “Auto Tech and SkillsUSA provide imperative life skills and leadership experience to prepare students for serving others in any business, club, or organization in their future,” said Watson. Although Zaira is not planning a career in the automotive industry, she values the lessons she’s learned. “What I learned will carry with me. I know what to ask a mechanic if I need work completed on my car. I can change tires and change my own oil. I know about the parts on a vehicle. I also know Robert’s Rules of Order, and I know how to conduct meetings. Also, I know how to bring a group of people together,” she said. Along another path in her high school journey, Zaira pursued the free dual credit program. In doing so, she is on track to graduate with a high school degree as well as two years of college under her belt. Zaira’s high school career continued to flourish as she became more confident and grew into who she is today. Determined to make the most of her high school education, Zaira will not only graduate, but will graduate in the top 10 percent of her class. “My grades have been important to me. Going to college is not easy, but I found a group of friends, and we help each other succeed in our classes. We learned how to manage our time and still be very involved in the school. I am very 27


proud of the fact that I had the opportunity to grow these relationships and surround myself with like-minded teenagers,” she said. In addition to her academic success, she has an active extracurricular life, which includes being a member of the FHS band program. “Mr. Filip and the other band teachers are my rocks, but something in me wanted to try one more thing while at high school. I tried out for cheerleading my senior year. I have never been a cheerleader in my life, and I made it! No one ever thought I would do it. I stepped out of my comfort zone and have had so much fun,” she said. On top of all that, Zaira was elected to be the 2020 Homecoming Queen. Zaira plans to study Pre-Med at Stephen F. Austin State University upon graduation. “In a way, I don’t want it to end. I made the best of high school. I found joy in my journey. I am a Panther forever, but I am excited to move on to SFA and find my joy in college,” said Zaira.

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Solutions That Simplify Photo: Andy Stauffer, Region 10 ESC

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AUTHOR: ARDYS ATTEBERRY

Region 10 ESC Communications Services

F ONLY IT WAS THAT SIMPLE! You know simplifying even one of your more timeconsuming responsibilities would save you time, right? How much more time and energy would you save if you simplified three of your major responsibilities?

Among them are delivering cost savings, unmatched efficiencies, and peace of mind.

Ironically, it’s often too hard to find the time to look for better solutions. That’s why Region 10 offers three cooperatives that could simplify your workload. Designed to help you save time, energy, and money, we encourage you to explore all three options, so you can decide which ones might work best for you.

As a member, you will certainly benefit from the decades of experience in cooperative purchasing, supply-chain improvement, and building relationships the leadership of the Equalis Group brings to the table.

The EdTech Exchange Purchasing Cooperative was specifically developed to address district procurement requirements for Educational Technology Products and Services. As a cooperative member, you will receive the lowest prices available, courtesy of the Exchange’s ongoing effort to leverage the aggregate volume of Region 10 districts. We all know the school purchasing process can be complicated, but EdTech Exchange members purchase directly from the vendor(s), referencing the EdTech Exchange contract. Equalis was created to help its members navigate the complexity of the public procurement process. The Equalis Group provides many solutions for you to consider.

“At Equalis Group, we strive to deliver cost savings and unmatched efficiencies to the purchasing process,” says Stephen Hull, CEO.

The Multi-Region Purchasing Cooperative (MRPC) will definitely lighten your workload by acting as your coordinating center for all your food service purchasing bids allowable under section 8.053 of the Texas Education Code. Members reap substantial savings on specific commercial food items, non-food items, and USDA commodity processed items due, in large part, to volume purchasing. So, are you ready to save time, energy, and money? Any of these three options should help you simplify your workload and save you time and money. Visit region10.org/programs/purchasingcooperatives for more information.

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Marcos Rodriguez Coppell ISD Student


Learning Brick by Brick AUTHOR: RACHEL FROST

Region 10 ESC Director of Communications

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IKE MANY SEVEN-YEAR-OLDS, Marcos Rodriguez and his twin brother love building with Legos. This year, they even celebrated their birthdays with a Lego-themed party. While the twins share most of their Lego sets, Marcos recently got a very special set of his own. They’re called LEGO® Braille Bricks, and they are uniquely designed to teach Braille to kids like Marcos, who are blind or visually impaired. “Marcos was so ecstatic when he found out he was getting the Braille Legos - he could hardly contain his excitement,” shared his mom, Cathy Rodriguez. “He has so much fun playing with Legos, so this was the perfect learning tool for him.” Since Marcos is legally blind with limited vision in one eye, he is learning to read both print and Braille as a Dual Medium student. Due to COVID this year, he is learning virtually and looks forward to his daily Zoom video calls with Mrs. Stacy Garner, a Coppell ISD Teacher for the Visually Impaired.

“These Legos are awesome because they look like traditional, colorful Legos, but on the top surface, the dots correspond with the letters and numbers in the Braille alphabet,” Mrs. Garner explained. “It has been a highly motivating tool for Marcos. I always save the Legos for the end of our lesson because it gives him something to look forward to and keeps him engaged.” Region 10 Education Service Center had the good fortune to receive approximately 70 sets of the Lego Braille Bricks, which were distributed to school districts across the region for teachers who work with students with visual impairments. Rodriguez explained that it can be a challenge finding reading materials and educational toys designed for her son. Thanks to Lego, she says her son now has access to a new educational tool that also makes learning fun. “It’s such a cool thing that Lego did. The fact that they were thinking outside the box and thinking of visually impaired students means so much to me as a parent,” Rodriguez said. 33


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Allen ISD Student Inspired to Help Others

“When I dream about the future, I dream about helping others.”

AUTHOR: ERIN McCANN

Allen ISD Director of Digital Media and Marketing

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IXTH-GRADER Marly Vargas is ready for the future. This Boyd Elementary student knows exactly what she wants to do when she grows up, and her classes in Allen ISD are helping to put her on her path to success. As early as second grade, Marly knew she aspired to become a doctor. By the time she was in third grade, Marly had refined that goal and knew she wanted to be a prosthetist, a medical professional who fits and makes artificial limbs for people with disabilities. Even more specifically, Marly wants to combine medicine and engineering to specialize in prosthetics that are controlled by brain waves. “The brain is the center of your body,” said Marly, “it controls everything, and with science, it can control prosthetic limbs too.” Marly’s passion began while watching TV with her parents at home. She saw a show about a special kind of doctor that helped people who were born without arms or legs. Marly, a naturally kind and empathetic student, felt a real passion for being able to provide a service that makes lives easier for people with hardships. An opportunity to pursue that passion presented itself when Marly’s teacher, Cinda Smith, told her about a STEM camp at the University of Texas

at Dallas. Marly quickly applied for the summer camp and an accompanying scholarship. She worked during her lunches and late into the evenings to complete the submission in time. The essay, entitled Marly had a Little Limb, details her passion for science, engineering, medicine, and helping others. “When I dream about the future, I dream about helping others,” said Marly. Earlier this year, Marly was notified that not only had she received the scholarship, but also that several private donations were made to help her reach her financial goal to be able to attend STEM camp this summer. Marly’s parents are a big support system in her life and a constant source of encouragement. “Marly has always been interested in science,” said her father Frank Vargas. “From the way she plays and entertains herself to the way she observes everything around her. We are very proud of her.” Judith Coffman, Marly’s principal at Boyd, shared how inspirational Marly is as part of the Boyd Elementary community. “Her commitment and her parents’ commitment to helping her learn and grow is amazing.”

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Region 10 Print Center: Keeping Kids First AUTHOR: SUE HAYES

Region 10 ESC CFO

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VEN IN TODAY’S DIGITAL WORLD, documents are an important part of what we all do, whether they are digital or paper. In fact, this very magazine is an example of an exceptional paper document printed by the Region 10 Print Center using articles, photography, and graphics from our artistic wizards in the Region 10 Communications Department.

The charter school International Leadership of Texas (ILTexas) used our Print Center to produce more than 15,000 student planners last summer. Each student had their own planner, and the planners played an important role in helping them stay focused and organized during the school year.

Some of our clients don’t realize that Region 10 has a full-service Print Center, but in fact we do provide affordable services to many of our districts and we want all of our clients to know what we can do and how it has helped so many of our schools and their students. Success in the Print Center is defined not only by how well we can print custom designed, quality products, but also by how we can keep costs low and how quickly and conveniently we can deliver our products. The Region 10 Print Center can do all of these things for a whole array of services including student and parent materials, posters, banners, and other specialty items.

Photos: ILTexas & Region 10 ESC

“At ILTexas, we like to provide our students the tools and support they need for success, from their very first day on campus. Our ILTexas 43


Planners & Leadership Journals are one of those key tools. These planners help our second through eighth-grade students learn to manage their time and projects, they help keep them organized, and they tie into our mission by housing all of the deadlines and information they need for their annual ‘Others Before Self’ Service Learning Project,” shared Caitlin Madison, Executive Director of Communications, Marketing, and Public Relations for ILTexas. “We look forward to partnering with Region 10 each year on this project, and we love seeing the excitement in our students’ faces when they receive their brand new planner at the beginning of each school year!”

“Region 10 Print Center employees always produce quality work. They’re always accessible, even for last minute jobs - they will make it work.”

This strong relationship has been beneficial in many ways. “The Print shop has given us technical assistance to help with promoting our school and the work is quality” said Veronica Durden, Evolution Beaumont Campus. “I feel that they really listen to ascertain our needs, and they deliver great products.” Julia Askew, Principal Evolution Academy Houston Campus shared, “Region 10 Print Center employees always produce quality work. They’re always accessible, even for last minute jobs - they will make it work.” The Region 10 Print Center offers a full array of quality, customized print services at very competitive prices with fast turnaround and convenient delivery services. We offer mail fulfillment services for delivery of customized marketing material or parent/student letters as well as a digital storefront for easy and convenient ordering. Check out the Print Center for the best in document design, printing, and delivery so we can support your needs and you can focus on your main mission of educating students!

Matt Burkhart Student planners are just one example of using printed documents to help our schools and students. We’ve also produced many other products for schools that help them focus on their main mission. These products include parent resource materials, student homework packets, and benchmark/assessment tests. The continuing need for printed material, even during a pandemic, has created a whole new world where our Print Center has been able to help - wall and floor graphics for social distancing, senior yard signs, cafeteria signs, specialized athletic tickets, and more. Several of our districts have commented on how helpful our printing services have been to them during such a trying year. Evolution Academy has relied on the Region 10 Print Center for many of their basic operational and marketing needs, such as calendars, graduation programs, and marketing materials. 44

Region 10 ESC Print Center Manager matt.burkhart@region10.org 972.348.1138


Photos: Piper


Stepping Up Our STEM Game AUTHOR: RACHEL FROST

Region 10 ESC Director of Communications

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EARLY two million - that’s the number of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics-based job openings the Texas Workforce Commission expects in the next five years. It’s great news for the Texas economy, but there’s a problem. Each year, fewer than 10,000 Texas students are graduating with a STEM endorsement, and only 600,000 eighth-grade students are on their way toward earning a STEM endorsement. However, through a new initiative called the Lending Library, Region 10 is taking a small step toward helping close that gap by providing elementary classrooms with STEM activities geared toward sparking interest and building a foundation for STEM skills.

“The objective of the Lending Library is to begin building those STEM skills with students in third through fifth grades, with the hope that by the time they get to middle and high school they will be in a STEM endorsement and continue on to pursue a STEM career,” explained Samantha Bradbury, Region 10 Science Consultant. Currently, the Lending Library is equipped with 20 computer kits from a company called Piper. The kits are loaned to schools for six weeks, and include everything students need to build a computer from scratch. Throughout the hands-on process of building a fully functional computer, students learn coding, circuitry, gaming, and much more! 49


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MAP YOUR ROUTE TO REWARDS TODAY! CFBISD Student Wins National Poetry Contest AUTHOR: LAUREN MARSH Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD

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INCE middle school, poetry has been a way for Shruthi Dandamudi to express her creativity. Now a junior at Ranchview High School in Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD, Shruthi has placed first with her poetry submission in the Aga Khan Foundation Spoken Word Contest. Shruthi’s submission for the Spoken Word Contest was based on this year’s theme, “2020 and Beyond: Embracing YOUth,” and showcased growth and exploration, speaking on how we can adapt to change the world. “What interests me about poetry is that poetry is more than a style of writing; poetry is a beautiful art form that allows me to use my creative skills to invent a rewarding piece of art that can be shared with the world,” Shruthi said. The poetry contest is a nationwide effort to encourage youth to reflect on current global issues through the creation of poetry. Students all over the United States submitted video entries of their original spoken word poems. The entries were judged on the illustration of the theme, originality, technique, and presentation. 51


Activity Kits Improve Family Engagement AUTHOR: LIZ HAYWOOD

Region 10 ESC Family Engagement Consultant

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EGION 10 Education Service Center, in partnership with local independent school districts, has served children and their families through Head Start/Early Head Start (HS/EHS) for more than 25 years. The program is federally funded to provide services to HS/EHS children and families living in districts located within the Region 10 service area. Classrooms are located in school districts and are staffed by certified teachers and trained instructional aides. Staff members and children represent a variety of cultures and backgrounds so children receive an added benefit of becoming familiar with a range of holidays, customs, and family activities. Families and staff work together to support the high-quality educational and developmental programs that help prepare children to succeed in school. Parents provide their support through Parent Committees, Advisory Committees, and Policy Council, and are valued as participants and volunteers. Research indicates that children do better in school when parents are engaged in their education. Staff facilitates a variety of activities throughout the year to encourage father and family engagement. Over the past year, many of our district partners restricted parents from entering schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic and new safety procedures. Despite the restrictions, HS/EHS continues to provide quality services to children and families. Family Resource Specialists consistently communicate with families through phone calls, email messages, and virtual visits to

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provide services and to convey empathy, caring, and interest in their well-being. Love and Logic parenting classes continue at centers but are now virtual, which provides an opportunity for parents to continue learning effective parenting skills. Parents learn how to build a trusting and safe home environment where children are cared for and loved. Last fall, the staff received outstanding training from Dr. Charles Fay, Chief Executive Officer of Love and Logic Institute. The purpose was to strengthen staff skills in applying Love and Logic principles with the children we serve. Involved fathers and other positive male role models make a significant impact on children building a long-lasting foundation for children’s success. Research has shown that children do better in school when there is a positive male influence who is actively engaged in a child’s life. In addition to this influence, children have fewer behavioral issues, and better grades, social skills and health. Involved and affectionate fathers contribute to children’s sense of self-confidence and well-being.


Last fall, a new initiative was implemented to encourage father and family engagement, and help eliminate barriers that may have prevented parents from engaging in family activities especially during the COVID pandemic. Through a collaboration with Mike Hall of Strong FathersStrong Families LLC, YouTube videos in English and Spanish were developed. The goal of the videos is to encourage family engagement and promote children’s learning and development. As a delivery platform to families, Hall created an unlisted YouTube channel specifically branded for Region 10 Head Start. Each month until the end of the school year, a new video with printable instructions is developed and sent to families. Because of the low socioeconomic status of the majority of families served, and to help ease the expense of purchasing supplies, all families also received a complimentary supply kit. The kits contained most of the supplies with the intent to make it easier for families to participate. The wide variety of activities provide a fun

way for children to learn math, science, and literacy skills. Parent/child participation in the activities help strengthen the parent/ child relationship. Even though the hands-on activities are designed with an emphasis on father engagement, other family members are encouraged to participate. Over the past several months, families have enjoyed educational activities including: ¢

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It’s the small moments that matter and count when fathers and other positive male role models spend time with children. These moments add up and create immeasurable positive outcomes that make a tremendous difference in the lives of children.

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An Investment in Air Quality AUTHOR: MESQUITE ISD COMMUNICATIONS

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S SCHOOL DISTRICTS WERE TASKED with the challenge of safely reopening schools last fall, Mesquite ISD (MISD) crafted a proactive and diversified plan with layered safety protocol and strategies. Part of our plan included an investment in tested technology to improve indoor air quality (IAQ). HVAC systems help maintain healthy indoor environments by bringing in fresh air and controlling the removal of moisture, airborne bacteria, and carbon dioxide. Additional technological measures can further promote healthy IAQ by reducing the transmission of airborne pathogens. MISD researched and vetted multiple technologies to find a proven and cost-effective product that would not impact current HVAC systems negatively. It was also a priority to find a technology without ongoing maintenance and annual, recurring maintenance costs. The administration and board of trustees ultimately approved Needlepoint Bipolar Ionizers (Ionizers) manufactured by Global Plasma Solutions (GPS). In addition to ensuring the IAQ technology was appropriate for our District, it was equally important to find a contractor with experience in the installation of Ionizers in existing HVAC systems. MISD contracted with E3, a Texas Design-Build contractor, to provide and install the new equipment on all HVAC units in the District. Over a three-month period, MISD installed 5,000 ionizers that will require virtually no maintenance or replacement costs for 10 years. In addition to 54

meeting the District’s budget considerations, ionizers have been independently tested in controlled experiments with positive results. MISD Assistant Superintendent of Business Services, Pete Pape, stated, “GPS achieved a 99.4% reduction of COVID-19 surface strain within 30 minutes in an independent study in a controlled experiment.” “We believe this system will increase the air quality in our schools and buildings and allow for the cleanest air we can provide for the safety of students and staff,” Pape explained. “Besides helping to battle COVID-19, GPS has been shown to aid in the removal of bacteria and viruses associated with tuberculosis, E. coli, and the common cold. It has also been shown to help eliminate allergens and even locker room odors.” The Needlepoint Bipolar Ionizer initiative will cost $7.5 million over 10 years. Board Trustee, Robert Seward, stated, “I calculated $20 per child per year, and that’s a great investment.”

“We believe this system will increase the air quality in our schools and buildings and allow for the cleanest air we can provide for the safety of students and staff.”


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HVAC and Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) projects as allowable expenditures. We’ve also created a reference page to help you understand your options as they relate to IAQ and would love to evaluate your current HVAC systems at no cost

to help you determine the best technology and equipment for your needs. Mike Cothran mcothran@e3es.com 817.528.4421

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‘It’s the Most Fun’ AUTHOR: TONI GARRARD CLAY Athens ISD Communications Coordinator

Athens ISD Middle School Students Thrive in Classes Previously for High Schoolers

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THENS MIDDLE SCHOOL’S eighthgrade hall has what Principal Jennifer Risinger calls “a great energy.” That uptick in activity is attributable to three new career and tech classes introduced in the fall, classes which were previously reserved for high school students. Principles of construction, principles of agriculture, and principles of hospitality are no longer reserved for ninth-grade students and up. Now eighth-graders enrolled in any one of these classes now have a head start on a potential career track. “We want to help continue the growth of our CTE [Career and Technical Education] program,” said Risinger. “Our students can take care of foundational classes and get excited about it in eighth grade, which will allow them to explore further during high school.” While not every student enrolled in a “principles of” class today will ultimately pursue a career in that field, some likely will, and these CTE classes are an early first step toward life after high school. 56

“Someone interested in an agriculture-related field in my class will be ready sooner in high school to go off campus in a work study and gain hands-on experience,” said Debbie Palmer, who teaches principles of agriculture. Cody McCleary, principles of construction teacher, expressed a similar sentiment. “We’re trying with my class to grow students’ interest in the construction trade. Before you can take HVAC or a construction class or welding, you have to take a basic principles class,” he explained. “Now they can start sooner and have the option to take more classes.” So far this school year, McCleary’s students have built double-chair benches and picnic tables, a quilt ladder, serving trays, and cups. “The kids get to take wood and actually make something, and they get excited about that,” he said. “They come in, put their stuff down, and go to work right away. Most days, I have to tell them to go when the bell rings.” Construction student Diego Pinedo said he plans to take another construction class as a ninthgrader. “I think I’m learning something I can use in my future,” he said. “I like being able to use my hands and get creative.”


In her principles of hospitality class, teacher Jamie Dozier has placed an emphasis on introducing students to the value of service to others. To that end, her goal each week is to have her students do something for others. “In the beginning, the language I would hear when we worked on a project was ‘Who’s going to get this?’” said Dozier. “And now what they ask each time is, ‘Who are we doing this for?’ That’s an important shift.” Hospitality student Aaliya Pinedo Ramirez is already thinking about how she can take what she’s learning now and apply it toward a future business. It’s also, she said with a smile, a lot of fun. “We’re learning and doing things for others, and it’s also the most fun thing at school, especially during COVID,” she said. Aaliya plans to sign up for a culinary arts class as a freshman. According to Palmer, who teaches principles of agriculture, having “lots of good conversations” is a key to helping these eighth graders be able

Photos: Athens ISD

to hone in sooner on the career path that best suits them. And with little more than a single semester to look back on, it already appears to be working. “Right now, we plan to continue offering these classes,” said Risinger. “I love being able to see their excitement as they get hands-on experience.”

Offered by Region 10 ESC

DIGITIZE + STORE documents in a centralized digital repository

AUTOMATE processes to reduce time spent on tasks and costs associated with storage

MAINTAIN the integrity and security of student and staff records

CONTACT A REGION 10 TEAM MEMBER FOR MORE INFORMATION Karen Duke, Assistant Director 972-348-1408 | karen.duke@region10.org

Vivien Addington, Support Specialist 972-348-1718 | vivien.addington@region10.org 57


A Network of Support AUTHOR: RACHEL FROST

Region 10 ESC Director of Communications

R10 Human Resources Training & Consulting Connects the Dots for HR Administrators

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UPPORT SYSTEM. Safety net. Priceless resource. These are a few of the phrases that Human Resources administrators use to describe the Region 10 HR Training & Consulting services. With a combined 40+ years of HR experience, our HR Training & Consulting team, led by Director Dr. Bud Nauyokas and Assistant Director Karen Duke, provide training opportunities, one-on-one support, on-site consultation, and resources and expertise through valuable relationships with law firms, HR specialists at TEA, and other knowledgeable organizations who specialize in human resource matters.

One of the ways the Region 10 HR Training & Consulting team works to connect the dots is through quarterly HR Roundtables. During these informal meetings, HR administrators have the opportunity to sit down with an attorney, or team of attorneys, and discuss timely topics or current issues. “The legal experts who join us at the HR Roundtables bring us the legislation and the law. We take their legal advice and work through developing procedures that can then be

“We’re here to help connect the dots. That means making sure the HR administrators in our school districts have access to the right experts who can offer guidance and advice,” Duke explained. “It’s our job to know what our HR administrators need and when they need it. That’s why we created this network of experts - we are here to provide support and best practices to help our HR professionals tackle any difficult or complex situation.” Photos: Andy Stauffer, Region 10 ESC

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implemented at the local level,” Duke said. “This gives our HR administrators the opportunity to not only learn from one another, but also to gain another perspective in addition to their district’s legal counsel. Through our HR Roundtables, our Law Conference, the HR Summit, and the Ed Law sessions, our legal team partners have provided HR administrators support and expertise.” In addition to connecting HR administrators with legal experts, Region 10 HR Training & Consulting provides a wide range of HR-related training sessions on topics including ethics, diversity/sensitivity, employee documentation and supervision, investigations, and much more. “Our district’s HR leaders are subject matter experts. It is our desire to design sessions to ensure that the district remains sensitized and consistent district-wide,” Duke said. The intention is also to extend the reach of HR by providing the information to anyone who serves in a supervisory role at the district/campus level. As an extension of a school district’s HR team, our experienced staff is available to answer your questions and provide you with the one-on-one, customized support and solutions you need. This support may also include on-site consultation to help you identify and address the unique needs of your district. From HR reviews to stay interviews, our team can help you develop a plan to recruit and retain highly qualified staff. If you would like to learn more about Region 10 HR Training & Consulting, please contact Karen Duke.

Karen Duke

Region 10 ESC Personnel & Certification Services Assistant Director karen.duke@region10.org 972.348.1408 bit.ly/R10HRsupport

Region 10’s HR Training & Consulting Services provides me with a network of resources. As a small district, where we really don’t have an HR “department.” Region 10 gives me the support system to gather information and learn best practices to be the best that we can be. It’s also nice to know you’re not alone if you need help with something. T.J. Knight Deputy Superintendent, Ferris ISD HR is an ever-changing field - quite complicated and even scary at times. I still consider myself a rookie in the field and I cannot tell you how grateful I am to have Region 10 as my safety net. The support I have received from Region 10 has helped me to be more confident in my work. I know that if I ever have a doubt, I only have to reach out and my partner is there to guide me. Their staff is always quick to answer and willing to help. I am always eager to see what new training they are offering. Region 10 is not only my goto for information, but also my partner. Lilly Chacón Human Resource Manager, Legacy Preparatory Charter Academy District The training received through the R10 HR Services has been invaluable for confirming current practices, learning new protocols, staying up-to-date in matters of law, and most importantly, providing a communication platform for sharing HR practices with other districts in the area. Dr. Jackie Hendricks Deputy Superintendent, Princeton ISD Each year, Region 10 strives to provide pertinent and up-to-date training, but this year, especially during the pandemic, the HR Training & Consulting services went above and beyond to offer timely training. Athens ISD is glad to be a part of the HR package...the training and consulting services provided help our HR department stay up-to-date with current knowledge which leads to a more efficient department. Ginger Morrison Assistant Superintendent of School Operations, Athens ISD As a campus administrator coming into the Human Resources field, Region 10 has been a priceless resource that allows me to connect to experienced HR professionals that provide innovative practices, strategies and guidance that has paid dividends for myself and my district. Their individualized support has expanded my skills as a district leader and provided depth to my network of professional colleagues. Dr. Matthew Spivy Director of Human Resources, Greenville ISD

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