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September 2007 E-News


The latest news and information from around the country.

Legislative Announcements


U.S. Department of Education Issues Determination Letters on State Implementation of IDEA
The U.S. Department of Education has issued determination letters on implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA 2004) to each state education agency for Part B and to each lead agency for Part C. IDEA 2004 requires the U.S. Secretary of Education to annually determine whether each state is meeting the requirements of the law. Under IDEA 2004, each state is required to have a State Performance Plan (SPP) that evaluates the state’s efforts to implement the requirements and purposes of Part B or C of IDEA 2004 and describes how the state will improve its implementation of these programs.

Calls to Participate


Nominate a Child or Youth with Disabilities for a Yes I Can! International Award
The Council for Exceptional Children’s “Yes I Can! Awards” honor children and youth (ages 2-21) with disabilities who have made significant achievements. Each year, three winners in each of the following categories are selected for their accomplishments: academics, the arts, athletics, community service, employment, extracurricular activities, independent living skills, self-advocacy, and technology. Winners receive a statue and other recognition at the Council for Exceptional Children’s 2008 Annual Convention. Nomination deadline: October 16, 2007.


Nominate Your Community for Consideration as One of the 100 Best Communities for Young People
The America’s Promise Alliance has launched its 2008 100 Best Communities for Young People competition and invites communities across the U.S. to compete for the honor of having their locality named one of the nation’s great places to grow up. The program showcases communities that do an outstanding job of fostering safe and caring environments that effectively educate youth and help them become productive citizens. The 100 Best Communities receive national recognition; opportunities to participate in national and regional forums to share ideas and best practices; and tools to promote the award locally. Application deadline: November 2, 2007.


Professionals and Students: Write for the HEATH Resource Center, the Online Clearinghouse on Postsecondary Education for Individuals with Disabilities

Masters and experienced practitioners in secondary education, special education, or disability support services; scholars; professors; and other individuals experienced and interested in the intersection of students with disabilities and continuing post-high-school education and career development are invited to submit original articles for publication in the HEATH Resource Center Publications and Newsletter ( College, university, or career-technical school students with disabilities are invited to submit original articles for publication in the new “Student Voices” section of the HEATH Resource Center Publications and Newsletter (


Submit a Workshop Proposal for the National Afterschool Association Conference
The National Afterschool Association Conference, to be held March 12-14, 2008 in Fort Lauderdale, FL, is seeking proposals for conference workshops, including those sharing research, promising practices, practical program activities and curriculum, and innovative ideas. Presenters may include afterschool program staff and leadership, professional development providers, and afterschool systems developers. Proposal submission deadline: November 1, 2007.


Teachers: Help Pilot TeachUNICEF Curriculum Materials
The U.S. Fund for UNICEF is seeking teachers of grades 6-12 to pilot its new TeachUNICEF curriculum materials. These lesson plans examine the lives of children in developing countries who are affected by poverty, armed conflict, child labor, or physical disability. For more information or to register to participate in the Fall 2007 pilot project, contact Marie Bresnahan, Director of Education, U.S. Fund for UNICEF at or 212-880-9135. Deadline to sign up for the pilot study: September 21, 2007.


Young Adults with Multiple Learning and Cognitive Disabilities: Apply to the University of Iowa R.E.A.C.H Program
The University of Iowa R.E.A.C.H Program educates young adults with multiple learning and cognitive disabilities, helping them reach their full potential through a 2-year, comprehensive, campus-based certificate program. It seeks to create a living-learning experience where participants are taught the skills necessary for being independent, engaged, contributing members of their communities. Applications for Fall 2008 are now available. Application deadline: March 1, 2008; however, campus interviews will be held beginning Fall 2007.

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The Resource Zone

NCSET Resources


Adolescent Literacy  (2007)
NCSET Web Topic
This NCSET Web topic explores approaches to improving the literacy skills of adolescents so that they can succeed in content-area classes and enjoy reading. Like all NCSET Web topics, it includes an introduction, frequently asked questions, related research, emerging practices, Web sites, and additional resources.


Work-based Learning  (2011)
NCSET Web Topic
This NCSET Web Topic explores the benefits of providing youth with opportunities to learn at job sites in their communities through the use of workplace mentors, internships, combining community service with academic learning, and other strategies. Like all NCSET Web topics, it includes an introduction, frequently asked questions, related research, emerging practices, Web sites, and additional resources.

Other National Resources


175 New Schools Open as Part of a National Movement to Address Dissatisfaction with High School  (August 2007)
Press Release
Among Americans ages 18-29, just 43% said their high school experience was very positive and nearly 30% said they did not receive a quality education in a recent poll. Fortunately, an expanding national movement of activists and high schools focused on preparing students for success in college and life provides an antidote to dissatisfaction with high school and our nation’s disappointing graduation and college-readiness rates. This school year, more than 175 new and transformed high schools will open across the country, joining more than 1,800 existing high schools nationwide that are demanding more for students’ futures.


A Plan for Success: Communities of Color Define Policy Priorities for High School Reform  (June 2007) PDF document
This report, The Campaign for High School Equity’s inaugural publication, makes the case for the need to invest in high schools and provides a blueprint for meaningful reform. Its recommendations include calls to make all students proficient and prepared for college and work, hold high schools accountable for student success, redesign the American high school, provide students with the excellent leaders and teachers they need to succeed, invest communities in student success, and provide equitable learning conditions for all students. Available in PDF (22 pages, 408 KB).


APR/SPP Dispute Resolution Data Summaries – Part B  (August 2007)
Data Summaries
The Annual Performance Reports and State Performance Plans required under IDEA ‘04 include data on dispute resolution activity in states. Following extensive efforts by the states and CADRE to ensure that the dispute resolution data are as accurate as possible, CADRE is publishing these data on its Web site. These state summary reports include three years of dispute resolution data (2003-04, 2004-05, and 2005-06), several calculated values based on reported numbers, and rates per 10,000 special education students for all data elements.


Demonstrating the Role of Data and Technology in High School Improvement  (July 2007)
Forum Summary, Audio, and Video
On July 23, 2007, the Alliance for Excellent Education and the State Educational Technology Directors Association held a forum on how policymakers, educators, and other stakeholders can use state and local data and educational technology to improve teaching and learning, and how federal policy can promote the use of state and local data and educational technology to help every student graduate from high school prepared for postsecondary education and the modern workplace. A summary of the event and audio and video from the event are available online.


Digest of Education Statistics: 2006  (July 2007)
The annual Digest of Education Statistics provides a compilation of statistical information covering American education from prekindergarten through graduate school. It includes data from many sources, both government and private, and draws especially on the results of surveys and activities carried out by the National Center for Education Statistics. It contains data on a variety of topics, including the number of schools and colleges, teachers, enrollments, and graduates; educational attainment; finances; federal funds for education; libraries; and international comparisons.


Engaging Parents in Education: Lessons from Five Parental Information and Resource Centers  (June 2007)
This guide from the U.S. Department of Education explains the strategies that the Parent Information Resource Centers (PIRCs) use to improve or expand their parental involvement programs in public schools, including the PIRCs’ role in building understanding of NCLB and other education-related issues, and the PIRCs’ role in preparing and supporting parents and educators to take action for student learning.


Graduation Matters: Improving Accountability for High School Graduation  (August 2007) PDF document
Despite the focus on reforming American high schools, most states are setting woefully low goals for improving graduation rates and are not setting goals for ensuring that more low-income, minority, disabled, and English language learner students graduate, according to this report from the Education Trust. An analysis of accountability for high school graduation rates under NCLB reveals that state goals for raising graduation rates are too low to spur needed improvement; and that gaps between student groups are allowed to persist by an accountability system that looks only at average graduation rates. Available in PDF (10 pages, 268 KB).


Highlights of a Forum: Modernizing Federal Disability Policy  (August 2007) PDF document
Forum Highlights
On April 17, 2007, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) gathered advocacy groups, academics, federal agencies, and researchers for a forum to discuss what’s working well in the 200+ U.S. federal disability programs, what must be improved, and how to strengthen partnerships and modernize programs. This GAO report summarizes concerns expressed at the forum. Available in PDF (30 pages, 2.4 MB).


Medicaid Long-Term Care Expenditures in FY 2006  (August 2007)
This memorandum from Thomson Healthcare presents data on Medicaid long-term care expenditures in Federal Fiscal Year 2006 (October 2005-September 2006), including national data on Medicaid expenditures for Long-Term Care from 1994-2006 and state-by-state data for Nursing Homes, ICF/MR, Personal Care, HCBS Waivers, Home Health, Home Care, Inpatient Hospital Care, Inpatient DSH, Inpatient Mental Health, Mental Health DSH, Medicaid Managed-Care, Prescribed Drugs, Targeted Case Management, and PACE.


Perceptions and Expectations of Youth with Disabilities: A Special Topic Report of Findings from the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLTS2)  (September 2007) PDF document
This report from the National Center for Special Education Research provides a picture of the self-representations and expectations of youth with disabilities, how they differ across disability categories and demographic groups, and how they compare to those of youth in the general population. It addresses questions such as how youth with disabilities describe their feelings about themselves and their lives, their secondary school experiences, their personal relationships, and their expectations for the future. Available in PDF (1.06 MB).

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What's Happening

Other National Events


BuildingChoice: Improving Public School Choice Programs
Web-based Event
September 26, 2007
10:30 AM - 12:00 PM   (Pacific)
This interactive presentation from WestEd’s SchoolsMovingUp Initiative will provide an overview of a free online toolkit,, which features practices from school choice programs across the country. Pansy Houghton, Supervisor of Choice for Hillsborough County (FL) Public Schools, and Willie Poinsette, Chief Officer for Student, Family and School Support for Portland (OR) Public Schools, will share their promising practices and materials from the site and demonstrate how to use the site’s resources—including promising practice vignettes, sample materials, tools, links, and profiles of featured programs—to help implement or expand your school choice offerings. Participation is free, but registration is required.

Engaging and Serving People of Color with Disabilities: Overview and Background
Web-based Event
October 2, 2007
1:00 PM - 2:30 PM   (Central)
This event is part of a 5-week October 2007 Webinar series offered by TASH. This session will 1) provide the framework for the conversation regarding engaging and serving people of color with disabilities and 2) provide data on the incidence and prevalence of intellectual and developmental disabilities (ID/DD), Down Syndrome, and autism, and review risk reduction strategies. Presenters will include Ralph W. Edwards, Parent, TASH Board Member; and Jon Baio, co-Principal Investigator, Autism and Developmental Intellectual Disabilities Monitoring Network, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Registration is required and a registration fee does apply.

Career Development for People with Disabilities Web Course
Web-based Event
October 3, 2007 - October 16, 2007
This 2-week, 20-hour Web training will cover key principles and hands-on tools for career planning, innovative vocational assessment, career development skills, and vocational profiling for youth and adults with disabilities. Participants can log on at any time during the course period and participate in the training. The course will be taught by Rob Hoffman, the Director of Community and Employer Development for Region 7 CRP-RCEP. Registration is required and a registration fee does apply. Offered by TRN, Inc.

Engaging and Serving People of Color with Disabilities: Family Perspectives/Implications for Special Education
Web-based Event
October 9, 2007
1:00 PM - 2:30 PM   (Central)
This event is part of a 5-week October 2007 Webinar series offered by TASH. In this session, two parents will share their experiences with services and support systems and their efforts to influence policymaking and advocacy. “Help that helps” and cultural barriers will be discussed, and how historical and institutionalized practices evolve into unequal and unfair outcomes will be described, using special education as an example. Presenters will include Marty Clark, Parent and founder of The One Hundred Men; Tonia Ferguson, Esq., Parent, National Down Syndrome Congress Board Member, Kennedy Fellow; and Barbara Ransom, Esq., Attorney, Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia. Registration is required and a registration fee does apply.

School-Wide Positive Behavior Interventions & Support -- Planning for Systems Change

October 11, 2007 - October 12, 2007
Rosemont, IL
This two-day forum for state, district, and regional Leadership Teams adopting and implementing school-wide Positive Behavior Support (SW PBS) will include examples, processes, and new findings related to SW PBS. Sessions are designed for all implementation levels, including Teams that are early in the process of SWPBS implementation, Teams moving toward larger scale implementation, and Teams focused on advanced issues such as evaluation, tertiary/secondary content, and coordination of coaching cadres. Sponsored by the National Technical Assistance Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) with support from the Illinois PBIS Network.

Closing the Gap: Assistive Technology Resources for Children and Adults with Special Needs
October 18, 2007 - October 20, 2007
Minneapolis, MN
This conference will cover topics related to technology as it is applied to people of all disabilities and age groups in education, rehabilitation, vocation, and independent living. People with disabilities, special educators, rehabilitation professionals, administrators, service/care providers, personnel managers, government officials, and hardware/software developers will share their experiences and insights.

DCDT 2007: Building Castles...Building Dreams...The Magic of Transition!
October 18, 2007 - October 20, 2007
Orlando, FL
This conference, the annual conference of the Council for Exceptional Children’s Division on Career Development and Transition (DCDT), will provide participants the opportunity to learn about the latest in effective transition practices, policy issues, and research. Strand topics will include: self-determination and student involvement; community partnerships; family partnerships; postsecondary education services; personnel prep/professional development; student diversity and multicultural approaches; program evaluation models and data-based decision-making; aligning transition-focused education, standards, and school reform; legislation and policy; employment-focused education and business strategies; transition approaches for specific disability groups; staff requirements in the new economy; and assessment.

Response of National Disability Organizations to Engagement of Families of Color
Web-based Event
October 23, 2007
1:00 PM - 2:30 PM   (Central)
This event is part of a 5-week October 2007 Webinar series offered by TASH. This session will examine the potential of various strategies to impact organizational culture and to increase participation by families of color. The contributions, challenges, and roles of the University Centers to strengthen ID/DD systems to respond to communities of color will also be discussed. Presenters will include: Barb Trader, Executive Director, TASH; David Tolleson, National Down Syndrome Congress; Sue Swenson, The ARC of the U.S.; and Royal Walker, Esq., President, University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities. Registration is required and a registration fee does apply.

Engaging and Serving People of Color with Disabilities: Becoming Culturally Competent
Web-based Event
October 30, 2007
1:00 PM - 2:30 PM   (Central)
This event is part of a 5-week October 2007 Webinar series offered by TASH. In this session, directors of organizations providing direct services to individuals of color with disabilities will describe experiences of cultural dissonance on the part of both families and staff and how they affect relationships and service outcome. Approaches to becoming culturally competent will be described, and information on resources and technical assistance will be provided. Presenters will include Scott Shepard, Executive Director, Avenues Support Living Services; and Tawara Goode, Director, National Center for Cultural Competency, Georgetown University. Registration is required and a registration fee does apply.

Foreign Language and Disability TeleTraining
Teleconference Call
November 5, 2007
2:00 PM - 3:30 PM   (Eastern)
Participants in this TeleTraining will learn the tools for creating inclusive foreign language classrooms and overseas study programs. Foreign language professors will share adaptive technologies, teaching methodologies, and theoretical overviews that address the broad spectrum of language learners with and without disabilities. Sponsored by the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange and the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Participation is free, but registration is required.

10th Annual Accessing Higher Ground: Accessible Media, Web, and Technology Conference for Education, Businesses, and Web and Media Designers
November 6, 2007 - November 9, 2007
Boulder, CO
The annual Accessing Higher Ground conference focuses on the implementation and benefits of assistive technology in the university and college setting for people with sensory, physical, and learning disabilities. Other topics include legal and policy issues, including ADA and Section 508 compliance, and making campus media and information resources—including Web pages and library resources—accessible. Sponsored by Disability Services at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Achieving Shared Goals Through Systematic Integration of Education and Mental Health
Teleconference Call
November 15, 2007
1:00 PM - 2:30 PM   (Eastern)
This teleconference will explore the evidence base for school mental health services and the differences between programs and systemic change in the school arena. It will also address how youth-guided policies and services contribute to the overall integration of school and mental health. Presented by the National Technical Assistance Center for Children’s Mental Health. Participation is free, but registration is required. ^ Top of Page ^

Get Wired!

Web Sites


Access Living Youth Center
On this Web site from Chicago’s Access Living center, youth with disabilities can find information by and about people who know what it’s like living life with a disability. Topics include friendship, bullying, dating and disability, online dating, your body, sexuality, living on your own, dealing with VR, getting a job, going to college, dealing with parents/guardians, advocacy, news, disability pride, disability history, and disability rights.


Early College High School Initiative
This Web site from Jobs for the Future’s Early College High School Initiative contains an overview of and FAQ about early college high schools, publications, information on the Initiative’s Partners & Sponsors, information on over 130 early college high schools, and links to media coverage of the Initiative.


PACER Center
PACER Center, a Minnesota nonprofit organization that provides information to Minnesota families of children with all disabilities, has revamped its Web site. The site now includes a site map, events calendar, first stop page, PACER stories, and more alternative/interactive content, in addition to improved navigation and an updated publications catalog.


Transition to College: Information and Resources on College Options for Students with Intellectual Disabilities
TransCen, Inc.’s Postsecondary Education Research Center Project has launched a Web site that provides information and resources on college options for students with intellectual disabilities. Specifically, the site provides 1) answers to frequently asked questions related to developing or expanding services for students with intellectual disabilities in college settings, and 2) a free online evaluation tool that allows users to evaluate aspects of programs or services for students with intellectual disabilities on college campuses.



Beach Center on Disability Newsletter
The Beach Center e-newsletter is being published again after a year-long planning and retooling break. The Fall 2007 issue features stories on the Center’s online Community of Practice on Early Childhood Family Support; an overview of Participant Direction, also known as Individual Control of Funding; a just-released analysis of proposed changes to Part C Regulations in IDEA; a profile of a successful parent-professional partnership; staff news; resources; and more. You can subscribe here:


CEC’s Weekly Policy Updates
Learn about the special and gifted education issues Congress and the Administration are considering by reading the Council for Exceptional Children’s Weekly Policy Updates. You can sign up to receive the Updates by e-mailing


Data Matters: Interactive Electronic Newsletter from the National Technical Assistance Center for Children’s Mental Health
Data Matters is an interactive electronic newsletter that highlights the importance of data, spreads the word about evaluation strategies and outcomes, and keeps readers up to date on the latest in the field. Each month a new topic for discussion is posted. Site visitors can read the article, browse through additional resources, review posted comments, and access previous discussions. Visitors are also encouraged to post their own comments. The topics of Data Matters discussions reflect the topics of the National Technical Assistance Center for Children’s Mental Health’s teleconference calls.

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Funding Forecast

Federal Grant Opportunities


Grants to Strengthen Rehabilitation Counseling from OSERS
The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) is offering grants to increase students’ knowledge of the role and responsibilities of VR counselors and of the benefits of counseling in State VR agencies. This competition intends to strengthen the role of rehabilitation educators and State VR agencies in the preparation of qualified VR counselors by increasing or creating ongoing collaboration between institutions of higher education and State VR agencies. OSERS is especially interested in projects with a distance learning component in order to enable outreach to non-traditional students and students from a broad geographic area. Application deadline: October 29, 2007.

Additional Funding and Award Opportunities


CVS Caremark Community Grants
Programs targeting children under age 18 with disabilities that address health and rehabilitation services (including physical and occupational therapies, speech and hearing therapies, assistive technology, and recreational therapies), and public schools promoting a greater level of inclusion in student activities and extracurricular programs or creating opportunities or facilities which give greater access to physical movement and play are eligible to apply for CVS Caremark Community Grants. A CVS/pharmacy store must be located within the state where the applicant’s community organization resides. Application deadline: October 31, 2007.


Family Service Community Grants from Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks offers Family Service Community Grants in order to promote services to enhance the lives of those affected by autism spectrum disorders. Autism Speaks seeks proposals that serve to build the field of services for individuals with autism and expand the capacity to effectively serve this growing community. They seek proposals for project grants in the following four areas of need: education, recreation/community activities, equipment/supportive technology, and young adult/adult services. The average grant awarded will be in the $10,000-$20,000 range. Application deadline: October 12, 2007.


NEA Foundation Learning & Leadership Grants
The NEA Foundation’s Learning & Leadership Grants support public school teachers, public education support professionals, and/or faculty and staff in public institutions of higher education for one of two purposes: 1) participation in high-quality professional development experiences, such as summer institutes or action research; or 2) collegial study, including study groups, action research, lesson study, or mentoring experiences for faculty or staff new to an assignment. All professional development must improve practice, curriculum, and student achievement. Application deadline: October 15, 2007.


NEA Foundation Student Achievement Grants
The NEA Foundation awards Student Achievement Grants of $5,000 to improve the academic achievement of students in U.S. public schools and public higher education institutions in any subject area(s). The proposed work should engage students in critical thinking and problem solving that deepen their knowledge of standards-based subject matter. The work should also improve students’ habits of inquiry, self-directed learning, and critical reflection. Proposals for work resulting in low-income and minority student success with honors, Advanced Placement, or other challenging curricula are particularly encouraged. Application deadline: October 15, 2007.


State Farm Good Neighbor Service-Learning Grants for National and Global Youth Service Day Activities
Youth Service America and the State Farm Companies Foundation are offering the State Farm Good Neighbor Service-Learning Grants of up to $1,000 each to support youth (ages 5-25), teachers, or school-based service-learning coordinators to support service-learning projects on National and Global Youth Service Day, April 25-27, 2008. Application deadline: October 16, 2007.


TASH/Brookes Publishing Breakthroughs in Inclusive Education Award
The Breakthroughs in Inclusive Education Awards honor individuals and school districts which advance inclusive education and equitable opportunities for K-12 students, particularly those with the most significant disabilities and support needs. Awards are given in the following categories: Inclusive Education Administrator of the Year, Inclusive Education Teacher of the Year, Inclusive Education Advocate of the Year, Most Promising Inclusive School, and Most Promising Inclusive School District. Winners receive recognition and a library of books about inclusive best practices from Brookes Publishing. School districts and education professionals that work inclusively with K-12 students with disabilities are eligible to apply. Application deadline: September 20, 2007.

Scholarships and Awards


Books Across America Library Books Awards from the NEA Foundation
The NEA Foundation will make $1,000 awards to public schools serving economically disadvantaged students to purchase books for school libraries. At least 70 percent of the students in the applicant’s school must be eligible for the free or reduced-price lunch program. Application deadline: November 12, 2007.


Harris Wofford Award for Service and Service Learning
Youth Service America and the State Farm Companies Foundation are seeking nominations for the 2008 Harris Wofford Award, which recognizes a youth (ages 12-25) for working toward “making service and service-learning the common expectation and common experience of every young person” by demonstrating commitment to involving their peers in service, youth voice, service-learning, or civic engagement activities. Nominees should be active volunteers at the local, state, national, or international level. Self-nominations are permitted. The winner will receive $500 for him/herself and $500 for the nonprofit organization of his/her choice. Nomination deadline: October 19, 2007.


Prudential Spirit of Community Awards
The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, sponsored by Prudential and the National Association of Secondary School Principals, recognizes students in grades 5-12 who have demonstrated exemplary community service. Schools and officially-designated organizations may select one middle level and one high school Local Honoree for every 1,000 students (or portion thereof). Two Honorees from each state will be named in February 2008. They will receive $1,000 and a trip for them and a parent/guardian to Washington, DC in May 2008, where ten National Honorees will be chosen and awarded an additional $5,000 each, as well as $5,000 for a nonprofit organization of their choice. Application deadline: October 31, 2007.

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End of Issue

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E-News was supported in whole or in part by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, (Cooperative Agreement No. H326J000005). However, the opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the U. S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, or any of the six partners of the National Center on Secondary Education and Transition, and no official endorsement should be inferred.

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