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VOL. 49, NO. 3


You Have Your Head in the Clouds

Proud to be a School Counselor in Massachusetts

By JAN TKACZYK, M.Ed., CAGS Past MASCA Executive Director



hen I was young, having your “head in the clouds” didn’t have anything to do with today’s cloud where computer applications and files are stored on a large, centralized network. It meant you had been outside in Nate Nickerson’s field, flat on your back, your face to the sky, naming the shapes that you saw as the clouds floated by and imagining all the possibilities the future held. Everything was achievable. You dreamed of romance, wealth, family, and career. Literally, the sky was the limit! Back in those days, you were also on your own when it came to planning your vocation. Career education was not offered in school. There was no real connection made between coursework in school and future career pathways. The good news is that today our students are very fortunate because they have professional school counselors whose training allows them to provide career and postsecondary education that is age-appropriate, intentional, and, in most cases, evidence-based. Let’s have a look at several small group and classroom examples of what is happening around the country. One of my favorite resources is www. Small group and classroom lessons are provided at all grade levels. Learning objectives are spelled out for each and every lesson. Handouts are included. Here is one example: • Divide the class into small groups of 4-5 students. (continued on page 10)


he trip to the ASCA Conference in Minneapolis this summer was a reminder of how great it is to be a school counselor in Massachusetts. During a dinner with colleagues from Massachusetts and surrounding states, I introduced Rich Lapan to another counselor. A few moments later, she leaned over to me and said, “THE Rich Lapan?” This is merely one example of the prominence of our Massachusetts colleagues. Our state conferences feature many speakers that present at the national level regularly, as well as those who I believe to be our future leaders. I hope you were able to attend the MASCA Fall Conference, which reinforced even further what great colleagues we have and what progress we have made as a

profession here in this state. Updates on the counselor evaluation rubric as well as on the statewide study conducted with students in the graduating class of 2012, illustrated just some of the cutting edge work that is taking place in Massachusetts. Many eyes are on us, and deservedly so. As the only state to include school counseling in the Race to the Top application, we are in a position to show what we all know: school counselors make a difference. I encourage you to utilize the talents of your colleagues, from those a door down to those presenting on a national level. We all have something to offer each other as we work together to make a difference for students in Massachusetts. ■

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Let’s Dance: For Fitness and Fun By SALLY ANN CONNOLLY MASCA Counselor’s Notebook Editor

2012 – 2013 OFFICERS PRESIDENT JENNIFER LISK Medway High School, Medway, MA 02053 Tel. 508-533-3228 x 5107 • Fax 508-533-3246 E-mail: PAST PRESIDENT MICHELLE BURKE Beverly High School 100 Sohier Road Beverly, MA 01915-2654 Tel. 978-921-6132 x 11107 E-mail: PRESIDENT-ELECT THERESA A. COOGAN, Ph.D. Bridgewater State University Bridgewater, MA 02325 Tel. 508-531-2640 E-mail: VICE PRESIDENT ELEMENTARY JACQUELINE BROWN East Somerville Community School 42 Prescott Street, Somerville, MA 02143 Tel. 617-625-6600 x 6517 • Fax 617-591-7906 E-mail: VICE PRESIDENT MIDDLE / JUNIOR HIGH TBA VICE PRESIDENT SECONDARY CARRIE KULICK-CLARK Braintree High School 128 Town Street, Braintree, MA 02184 Tel. 781-848-4000 ext 2273 • Fax 781-848-7799 E-mail: VICE PRESIDENT POSTSECONDARY JOHN MARCUS Dean College 99 Main Street, Franklin, MA 02038 Tel. 508-541-1509 • Fax 508-541-8726 E-mail: VICE PRESIDENT ADMINISTRATORS TBA VICE PRESIDENT COUNSELOR EDUCATORS TBA VICE PRESIDENT RETIREES JOSEPH D. FITZGERALD, Ed.D. 5 Progress Street, Weymouth, MA 02188 Tel. 781-264-3426 E-mail: EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR DONNA M. BROWN Adjunct Professor, UMass Boston P.O. Box 366, 779 Center Street Bryantville, MA 02327 Tel. 781-293-2835 E-mail: TREASURER ASHLEY CARON 25 Belmont Ave., Stoughton, MA 02072 Tel. 508-212-0676 E-mail: SECRETARY JENNIFER JUST McGUIRE Upper Cape Cod Regional Technical School 220 Sandwich Road, Bourne, MA 02532 Tel. 508-759-7711 x 247 • Fax 508-759-5455 E-mail: MEMBERSHIP COORDINATOR DEBORAH CLEMENCE P.O. Box 805, East Dennis, MA 02641 E-mail: COUNSELOR’S NOTEBOOK EDITOR SALLY ANN CONNOLLY 19 Bayberry Road, Danvers, MA 01923 Tel. 978-774-8158 • Fax 978-750-8154 E-mail:



s I finished spreading the remnants of three yards of mulch on a glorious May day, I thought: “I’d really rather be dancing.” “Be patient,” I replied inwardly. “The next Zumba session starts at the Senior Center on Tuesday.” And what fun we have in that Zumba Gold class. Twice a week, approximately 40 women and 3 men twist and turn to the music with so much enthusiasm that we give little thought to the increased flexibility, strength, and muscle endurance we are building. Not to mention the increased bone mass, improved cardiovascular health, and sense of well-being. Regarding my own health and physical well-being, I have never felt better. I have no restrictions on my physical activity and have energy to spare. My blood pressure is under control. My weight is normal for my age. With steady balance, I put my shoes on while standing. Best of all, after an absence of more than sixty years, I have brought back the joy of movement through dance. Zumba, I have found, is a most enjoyable way to exercise. Others have discovered its appeal as well. USA Today reports that Zumba has become one of the top 10 fitness activities. More than 12 million people in 125 countries are breaking a sweat to the merengue, salsa, flamenco, tango, and cumbia. My classes on Tuesday and Thursday also include some cha-cha, with the twist and a little belly dancing thrown in for spice. The slightly different dancing styles of our two instructors keep us on our toes. Because Zumba, like all dance, combines art with athleticism, I consider Zumba dancing a sport. As in any sport, proper equipment helps prevent injury, so I have carefully selected my footwear. My choice: aerobic dance sneakers that provide support, stability, cushioning, and traction. Dancing next to me in class is an 83year-old lady. She is an inspiration to us all. Promptly at the end of class, she rushes off with her friend to drive to a community sixteen miles away where she attends a line dancing class. Researchers are finding that in addition to physical benefits, staying active can promote cognitive health. Writing in

Nature Reviews Neuroscience (2008), Hillman, Erickson, and Kramer say: “An emerging body of multidisciplinary literature has documented the beneficial influence of physical activity engendered through aerobic exercise on selective aspects of brain function. Human and non-human animal studies have shown that aerobic exercise can improve a number of aspects of cognition and performance.” Cotman and Berchtold say in Trends in Neurosciences (2002): “Exercise could provide a simple means to maintain brain function and promote brain plasticity.” Research, in fact, shows that exercise can help prevent dementia. In 2003, a study reported in the New England Journal of Medicine looked at 469 subjects older than 75, who were living in community. Researchers found that the leisure activities of reading, playing board games, and playing musical instruments helped reduce dementia and that — of all the physical activities they studied — the one most clearly associated with reduced dementia was dancing. The four UK Chief Medical Officers (CMO) have set forth physical activity guidelines for different age groups. For those 65 and over, they recommend 2½ hours of moderate to vigorous activities each week, with some kind of physical activity each day. My Zumba sessions last 45 minutes. On non-class days, I try to meet the guidelines by getting in 30 minutes of brisk walking or dancing to my own mix tape. My favorite upbeat tunes, I find, keep me moving with a smile on my face. Smiles, and a little surprise, were what we saw on the faces of spectators at our community’s July Fourth celebration. On Oldies Night, my Zumba class held a Flash Mob performance in the middle of town square. Good times, for sure. “Get up, get moving, and keep moving” is good advice for all of us. I am delighted that my children are encouraging their own youngsters to get active, with t-ball, softball, swimming, soccer, karate, hip-hop, and competitive dance. Good habits start young. But we can all be taught new tricks. For physical and cognitive health and for fun, I say: “Let’s dance.” ■


This and That By DONNA BROWN MASCA Executive Director


had a hard time writing for this month’s CN. I had lots of little bits of information, but nothing really meaty. So, I decided to just share a series of snippets. The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) has lots of resources available for counselors. To really mine them, become a member ($115 including liability insurance). When I checked the ASCA website for information on Career Development, 74 websites were cited. Because it’s National Career Development Month, I followed up on several and found a lot of interesting, usable material. • Job Descriptions ( This free resource provides students with job descriptions and job details. The site currently contains over 13,000 job descriptions, divided into major categories, divisions, and, finally, groups. • iTeach-CareerTech ( A product of


the Oklahoma ACTE, it is “a wiki for collecting and sharing resources and best practices.” • Career Counseling Resources On the Internet (http://www.educationworld. com). The name says it all. There is information on careers, career development, jobs, and job searches. ASCA also provides counselors with National Educational and Health Awareness Dates 2012-2013 Calendar. This is a very helpful tool to add awareness of various cultures, disabilities, and causes.

For example, November is American Diabetes Month, Lung Cancer Awareness Month, National Adoption Month, National Career Development Month, National Scholarship Month, National American Indian Heritage Month, and National Family Caregivers Month. Counselors looking for discussion topics or classroom lessons could certainly use one of the monthly celebrations as a springboard. Free professional development is also available both online and face-to-face. The Harvard Graduate School of Education offers a series called the Askwith Forum, which sponsors speakers on various educational topics. The next presentation will be on Thursday, November 15, from 5:30-7:00. The speaker will be Doug Lemov, managing director at Uncommon Schools and author of Teach Like a Champion and Practice Perfect. “Based on his study of high-performing teachers in high-poverty schools, Lemov will reflect on what makes for effective teaching, how teaching can and should be the centerpiece of school reform, how teaching skills can be effectively developed, and the policy implications of such topics.” More information is available at http://www. Free book talks are given at the Gutman Library. The November offering is on Wednesday, November 7, at 5:30. Paul L. Harris, Victor S. Thomas Professor of Education at HGSE and a researcher in the fields of early development of cognition, emotion, and imagination, will discuss his new book, Trusting What You’re Told: How Children Learn from Others. “In the book, Dr. Harris discusses how far children rely on their own firsthand observation or alternatively trust what other people tell them — especially when they confront a domain of knowledge in which firsthand observation is difficult." Also, you can check ASCA and NOSCA ( for free webinars. I attended the Canadian College Fair and have lots of information to share. To learn about the Nova Scotia Tour, go to MASCA’s website, ■ COUNSELOR’S NOTEBOOK



FOCUS ON HEALTH AND SAFETY Program promotes teen health “A 10-week program that fits easily into the high school curriculum could give students a lifetime of less anger and lower blood pressure, researchers report. Health and physical education teachers taught anger and stress management to 86 ninth graders in Augusta, Ga., and found their ability to control anger increased, their anxiety decreased and their blood pressures were generally lower over the course of a day compared to 73 of their peers who received no intervention, according to a study published in the journal Translational Behavioral Medicine.” — Medical News Today, http://www.medical, Accessed September 12, 2012.

Adequate sleep improves health “A new study suggests that increasing the amount of sleep that teenagers get could improve their insulin resistance and prevent the future onset of diabetes….The authors concluded that interventions to Art Athletic Training Biology Business Management Chemistry Communication Computer Information Systems Compute Science Criminal Justice Economics Education English Environmental Science Ethnic and Gender Studies General Science History Liberal Studies Mathematics Movement Science Music Nursing Political Science Psychology Regional Planning Social Work Sociology Spanish Theatre Arts


promote metabolic health in adolescence should include efforts to extend nightly sleep duration. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine reports that most teens need a little more than nine hours of sleep each night.” — “Teenagers Who Are Sleep-Deprived Are At Increased Risk Of Insulin Resistance,” Medical News Today, releases/250890.php, Accessed October 2, 2012.

NEJM takes stand against sweetened beverages The results of three extensive studies published in The New England Journal of Medicine (September 21, 2012) “suggest that calories from sugar-sweetened beverages do matter.” The random, controlled studies, according to the NEJM, “provide a strong impetus to develop recommendations and policy decisions to limit consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, especially those served at low cost and in excessive portions, to attempt to reverse the increase in childhood obesity. Such interventions, if successful, may also

help prevent the development of type 2 diabetes and its complications in youth.” NEJM says: “The time has come to take action and strongly support and implement the recommendations from the Institute of Medicine, the American Heart Association, the Obesity Society, and many other organizations to reduce consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages in both children and adults.”

Campaigns could curb dangerous driving “Distracted driving crashes are typically higher force and produce more fatalities and more serious injuries than other types of collisions …. A well-designed public safety campaign, which reaches out and educates all drivers — not just teen drivers —will not only help effectively curb distracted driving, but it can also be used to diminish other types of dangerous driver behaviors on the highway, including aggressive driving and impaired driving.” — Douglas R. Horn, Esq., specialist in motor vehicle accident law and crash litigation.

Discover more by visiting us online at Westfield State University Office of Admission Post Office Box 1630 · Westfield, MA 01086 (413) 572-5218 · COUNSELOR’S NOTEBOOK

NCAA Rules Change By MICHELLE BURKE, MASCA Past President


he National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has new academic rule changes that will impact the high school graduating classes of 2013 and beyond. Many of us counsel and educate top high school athletes and their families over the course of our year. High school student athletes must meet certain high school academic requirements in order to practice, compete, and receive athletic scholarships at any college or university in Division I or Division II athletic programs.

Page at This resource was formerly known as the NCAA Clearinghouse. The NCAA Eligibility Center also offers a free course on the initial-eligibility requirements specifically designed for high school administrators and coaches. It is offered at Please help spread the word about these new rules. There should be a designee at your school who is in charge of updat-

ing your school’s List of NCAA Courses annually. At some schools the athletic director takes care of this, and at other schools it is a duty of the guidance director or a designated counselor. Students must send their official ACT or SAT scores to the NCAA Eligibility Center. Scores on transcripts will not be accepted. Transcripts must be sent to the NCAA Eligibility Center after junior year and again upon high school graduation. ■

Division I Changes: Overview • Increase in the minimum required core-course GPA from 2.00 to 2.30. • Ten of the 16 required core courses must be completed before the beginning of their senior year. • Seven of these 10 required courses must be in English, math, or natural / physical science. • Increase in the overall core-course GPA as it relates to the ACT or SAT score, which results in a new sliding scale. • This new sliding scale with GPA and minimum SAT or ACT scores can be found on page 10 of the Guide for the College-Bound Student Athlete found at Who does this impact? Your incoming ninth grade class (Class of 2016) must meet these new requirements if they plan to participate in intercollegiate athletics at the Division I level.

Division II Change: Reminder • Increase in the number of required core courses from 14 to 16. • One additional course in English, math, or science. • One additional course in any core academic area (English, math, science, social science) or foreign language, comparative religion / philosophy. • Division II requires a minimum SAT score of 820 (Critical Reading and Math) or an ACT sum score of 68 (the sum of the English, Math, Reading, and Science ACT scores). Who does this impact? Your current seniors (Class of 2013) must meet this new rule if they plan to participate in intercollegiate athletics at the Division II level. For more information and resources to print for your students visit the Resources NOVEMBER 2012


RESEARCH NOTES TV programs foster bullying “Social bullying is common on TV, even in shows made for kids, a new study shows. Insults, taunting, and other forms of nonphysical aggression were found to be especially pervasive in cartoons and situation comedies, but they also showed up in some surprising places, like American Idol....On average, there were about 14 incidents an hour of social aggression in the 50 most watched television shows among 2- to 11-year-olds, and about nine out of 10 shows contained the bad behavior.” — Salynn Boyles, “Social Bullying Common in TV Shows Kids Watch,” WebMD Health News, articlekey=163447, Accessed September 27, 2012.

Background TV takes toll A recent study finds that background TV affects children’s attention and focus. “Children younger than age 8 spend an average of nearly four hours each day near the canned patter of an unattended TV. Children 8 months to 2 years get TV in the background for nearly six hours each day.” This background TV affects children’s attention and focus. Pediatrician Roya Samuels says: “The more time the television is on, even if it’s just on in the background, the greater risk there is for seeing increased distractibility in our children. It really raises the question of whether or not this is a contributing factor to our rise in ADHD diagnoses.” Study recommendations: • Turn off TV if no one is watching. • Do not place a TV in child’s bedroom. • Limit amount of TV viewing. American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations: • For children two years of age and younger: no viewing. • For older children: “no more than one to two hours per day of educational, nonviolent programs.” — Brenda Goodman, “Background TV Takes a Toll on Children,” WebMD Health News, http://, Accessed October 3, 2012.



THE INTERN’S TALE The Scheduling Challenge By BRENDA LEVIN, Master’s Student in School Counseling, Bridgewater State University


n the first night of the semester a novel assignment was presented to us in our practicum seminar. We were told we would be doing a “Practicum Scavenger Hunt” at our fieldwork sites. It was surprising to me that the item I found the most interesting was our daily middle school schedule. One of the questions posed to us in the scavenger hunt was to describe the daily schedule at the school. What was unusual about our school schedule is that there is not just one answer to that question. There are three separate answers for the question, one answer for each grade. The sixth grade has a six-day schedule with six academic classes that rotate positions each day. The seventh grade has a five-day schedule with five academic classes that rotate positions each day. The eighth grade has a five-day schedule with five academic classes, yet only four academic class periods per day, since one class is dropped each day and reappears again the next day. Each of the grades uses a combination of block classes and regular periods. I had not given this much thought before the assignment, other than that this schedule seemed much more complicated than when I was in junior high. I remember having the same classes every day in the same order. It was as simple as that. We had about six classes a day, and they were each about an hour long. I now know that this is referred to as a “traditional schedule” in contrast with “block scheduling” in the education research literature. There are a few reasons given in the literature for the benefits of block scheduling. The main reason is that the longer class periods allow teachers to be more innovative in the classroom by using a variety of teaching methods to get students involved. The longer block period could also be used to enhance the professional school counselor’s role with students. Sometimes the longer block could be divided into a time for academics and a time period devoted to a group guidance curriculum. This same period could also be used by counselors to provide individual counseling as needed. Despite these advantages, I think that this particular non-traditional schedule poses some unique challenges: NOVEMBER 2012

• For counselors and teachers, for instance, it is difficult to plan and administer. My recommendation is for each grade to have the same daily schedule. • I also recommend that counselors and teachers collaborate on ways to use the longer block in a shared fashion, so that students could benefit from both

time in academics as well as counseling. • In addition, teachers could benefit from training in innovative instructional strategies to be used with a non-traditional schedule. Such improvements should help schools better reap the rewards of this non-traditional schedule. ■


TKACZYK (continued from page 1) • Provide each group with a worksheet and a Tootsie Roll. • Have students list as many jobs as they can that are required to get the Tootsie Roll into their hands. Supplemental activities include removing one of the jobs; for example, the machine that wraps the Tootsie Rolls breaks down. What do you do? What a terrific way to demonstrate the importance of all the jobs in this one simple product and its delivery, as well


as to discuss and to problem-solve multiple issues that are thrown into the mix. Online searches, personal interviews, job outlook, and education needed for different jobs can all be added to the lesson. And this is just one of many free lessons available to us. Another free resource is Gene Kalb’s High School Counselor Week. Gene distills postsecondary/career-related articles from newspapers, blogs, and periodicals around the country to the most relevant and timely. A few titles from the most re-

cent issue include: “Don’t you dare not read this community college piece,” “8 Ways to Search for Great Colleges,” “7 Tips for Parents and Students to Master College Essays,” and “Handling a College-Phobic Child.” You can register for this newsletter at www.HSCounselor Post this site on your school counseling website page for community access. To acquaint your students with this weekly resource, you might have them each research an article in a recent edition of HSCW and then have them report on it in class. As for local postsecondary schools, most just need to be asked how they can help your students. Field trips, shadow days with current students, and professor/ teacher swap days are just a few of the opportunities to excite students about the possibilities that await them, to educate them about expectations, course offerings, and job placement, and to help bring those cloud formations closer to reality! Universal Technical Institute’s Norwood campus provides STEM-focused tours for students as they visit the state-of-the-industry automotive and diesel postsecondary training facility. To schedule one of these tours, call the campus now. Students tour and participate in a workshop that addresses the following: • Importance of making life choices • Value of education and possible options after high school • How global outsourcing impacts employment within the United States • Overview of opportunities in the transportation and motorsports industry • How STEM has impacted the transportation and motorsports industry • How to prepare for transportation and motorsports careers So today, as I stare up at the clouds above, I see wonderful formations of busy professional school counselors helping students stay imaginative and excited about their futures. You are reinforcing the value in all work, while encouraging high school completion, through relevant, intentional guidance lessons such as the examples mentioned in this article. You are helping students hold onto their dreams while they shape their futures. More than that, you are bringing the clouds down to earth! ■ COUNSELOR’S NOTEBOOK

PEOPLE, PLACES, AND PROGRAMS Financial aid tutorials for students Some parents help finance a student’s college education, but many students end up paying for all, or a significant portion, of their college tuition. A good understanding of the types of loans, the amount of money they will need to borrow, and how much their payments will be when they are finished, will help them make better financial aid decisions. The Department of Education has created the new Financial Awareness Counseling Tool, which provides students with five interactive tutorials covering a wide range of topics that will help them better understand financial aid. The topics include: Understanding Your Loans, Manage Your Spending, Repaying Your Loans, Avoiding Default, and Making Finances a Priority. The tool takes students through a series of exercises that will help them calculate how much money they will need to borrow to pay for their education and how much their payments will be when they finish. For more information, go to www. Videos can be viewed on YouTube.

Free workshop at Curry College Curry College is offering a free workshop for guidance counselors and educational consultants on Friday, January 18, 2013, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. on the Curry College Milton Campus. The workshop, Helping Students with Learning Disabilities Navigate the College Search, will be presented by professionals within Curry’s internationally renowned Program for Advancement of Learning. Topics covered will include a review of learning disabilities and potential “right fits” for postsecondary education options,

documentation and legal requirements, and the range of college admission requirements facing students with learning disabilities. A complimentary lunch and optional campus tour follow the workshop. Space is limited, so register today at www.curry. edu/navigate or call 617-333-2250. ■

For the latest news, go to MASCA’s website,

Facebook guide for school counselors “The resource, Facebook for School Counselors, published today [April 16, 2012] by Facebook, in partnership with The Internet Keep Safe Coalition (iKeep Safe) and The American School Counselor Association (ASCA), aims to teach school counselors how to use Facebook and teach students best practices on the social network….The guide focuses on providing knowledge for counselors to effectively lead four suggested actions: helping develop school policies, responding to online incidents, detecting at-risk behavior on Facebook, and dealing with how students represent themselves on the platform.” — Ryan Lytle, “New Facebook Effort Targets Educating School Counselors,”, Accessed April 23, 2012.



Massachusetts School Counselors Association, Inc. COUNSELOR’S NOTEBOOK Sally Ann Connolly, Editor


IN CASE OF NON-DELIVERY, RETURN TO: Deborah Clemence P.O. Box 805 East Dennis, MA 02641

Your membership renewal date is indicated by year and month on your address label above. To renew your membership, go to MASCA’s website,

MASCA Professional Development Calendar 2012 - 2013 November 6, 2012

Counselors for Computing: Professional Development in Emerging Careers MASCA, Boston University, Commonwealth Alliance for Information Technology Education, National Center for Women & Information Technology Boston University, 8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. (WMA SKYPE location, TBA)

November 15, 2012

DESE Connecting Activities Conference Sheraton Four Points Hotel Leominster, 8:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

November, TBA

Summer 2012 MA Model Training: Three sessions

February 2013, TBA

DESE Race to the Top workshops

April 7-9, 2013

MASCA Spring Conference, Hyannis Keynoters: • Mandy Savitz-Romer, Harvard Graduate School of Education • Jill Cook, American School Counselor Association

April 9, 2013

MASCA / DESE Race to the Top College and Career Summit, Hyannis

22nd Annual Service Academies Night November 7, 2012 • 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. Danversport Yacht Club • Danvers

Counselor's Notebook, November 2012  

The November 2012 issue of the Counselor's Notebook, the official periodical of the Massachusetts School Counselors Association.

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