Two In College`s Honor Society Inter-curricular “Mole

Volume XIV • Issue 3 January 2010
Inter-curricular “Mole Day” Celebrated at BMS
Just when you thought you were a
mathematical whiz because you know pi
day is not a bake-off, a group of teachers
decide to celebrate mole day, which is
not in honor of a very small mammal. A
mole, or mol, is a unit of measure for very
large quantities, or, more specifically, a
chemical mass unit, defined to be 6.022 x
1023 molecules, atoms, or some other unit.
This was the first of four “event days”
planned by the grades 7/8 blue team
teachers. Each one will allow students
to take part in varied activities in each
of their core content area classes (math,
science, social studies, and ELA) that are
centered around a theme, component, or
event from one of the four subjects.
Mole Day, for example, was the sciencebased event day. In science class with
Justin Young, students shaped moles (the
animal) using one mole of aluminum foil.
In ELA with Kerry McBride, mole facts
were researched on the internet then displayed in class, and each student created a
scrapbook to record important information and reflections about this and subsequent event days. In social studies with
Lori Holmes, students read a history of
chemist Lorenzo Romano Amedeo Carlo
Avogadro, for whom the number of molecules in one mole was named (Avogadro’s
number) in honor of his contributions to
early molecular theory. Students gleaned
information from the reading - just as
they do in other history readings and
documents - then placed the facts on the
back of cut-outs shaped like the animals,
colored their moles, and hung them from
hangers to create “mole-biles”. In math
class with Gigi Dombrowski, students
discussed and named numbers up to a
google (the numeral one followed by 100
zeros) and a googleplex (the numeral
one with 1000 zeros) because a mole is
such a large number. In fact, if you had
one mole of unpopped popcorn kernels
and spread them across the US, the
country would be covered in popcorn
nine miles deep.
Mr. Young, dressed in mole day garb,
shows his science class a mole made from
a mole of aluminum foil which the students were then expected to make.
Two In College’s Honor Society
Two BHS students, Devon
Kleinbach and Carissa Hyde, were
inducted into Genesee Community
College’s Alpha Iota Upsilon chapter
of Phi Theta Kappa, an international
honor society. Devon and Carissa are
two of only eleven high school students this year who have become Phi
Theta Kappa members out of nearly
2700 high school students currently
taking college credit courses through Devon Kleinbach and Carissa Hyde were inducted
ACE (Accelerated College Enrollment) into GCC’s Alpha Iota Upsilon chapter of Phi
Theta Kappa, an international honor society.
programs at GCC.
Established in 1918, Phi Theta Kappa recognizes and encourages the academic achievement of two-year college students and provides opportunities for individual growth and
development through honors, leadership, and service programming. To be eligible for
membership, one must have completed a minimum of twelve non-remedial credit hours
through GCC, have a cumulative grade point average of 3.6 or better, and have no grades
of F (fail/no credit) or IP (in process - an extension granted to complete the course
requirements) on his/her transcript.
A+ Batavia Communicator
Facing Another Year of Financial Uncertainty
By Margaret Puzio, Superintendent of Schools
I hope that the holidays
were relaxing and you and
your families enjoyed some
good times together. With
the new year, we turn to the
difficult task of developing a
spending plan for the 20102011 school year. This year’s
work is made more difficult
by New York State’s dire
financial situation. Because
the District is so dependent
on state aid, the prospects are
somewhat bleak. Governor
Paterson proposed mid-year cuts to this year’s state aid. When
the legislature rejected mid-year cuts, he proposed withholding
state aid payments to school districts across New York State. This
makes it very difficult to plan for our future.
The Board and I remain positive in our commitment to provide the students of this com­munity with the quality of education
that they deserve in spite of the bad news out of Albany. During
the past several months, the Board of Education, Mr. Rozanski,
and I have been discussing the District’s financial parameters
and, based upon these param­eters, have built an initial spending
plan for the upcoming 2010-2011 school year. Our discussion has
centered on our need to de­velop a budget that holds the line on
taxes, but at the same time maintains the instructional support
our students need as we continue our mission to improve student
learning. What will be a fundamental question for us will be the
long term impact of the District’s state aid projec­tions in light
of New York State’s financial crisis. As always, our goal will be
to minimize our need for additional local funds to achieve our
goals. I am afraid it will be somewhat of a waiting game as the
news trickles out from Albany.
In the past, Batavia has been treated very well under the Foundation Aid formula. When the state legislature and the gov­ernor
agreed to the Foundation Aid con­cept in 2007, it was clear that
our state representa­tives truly listened to our needs and were able
to incorporate our needs into the Foundation Aid concept. However, today we find ourselves in a very different financial climate
and that presents us with a different kind of challenge.
As in past years, during the month of January we will review
our preliminary 2010-2011 spending plan with our budget
ambassadors. This is the fourteenth year of this program. These
meetings are open to the public and will take place on two Tuesdays in January – the 12th and the 19th - at 7 p.m. in the Administration Building on Washington Avenue. Since the inception of
the budget ambassadors program, we continue to be impressed
with the commitment of our ambassadors and their will­ingness
to openly share their thoughts (both positive and negative) about
our proposed spending plan as well as the state of education in
Batavia in general. We have many ambassadors who return to the
job year after year and for this we are truly appreciative. It is this
process that assists us in establishing our priorities as we review
our expenditures and programs to determine what we can either
reduce or eliminate. By mid-March we will have the budget that
we will present for your consideration in May. With the help of
our local media we will be pro­viding you updates on the progress
we are making.
In closing, if you would like to discuss the above with me or
would like to talk about any other issues or express your concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at 343-2480, x1000 or
at [email protected].
Music Brightens Season
The highlights of December certainly include the many musical performances throughout the District. In addition to the
traditional on-stage concerts of talented musicians, students
shared the gift of music in other ways. For example, the Jackson
Elementary Handbell Choir, consisting of 35 first and second
graders and directed by Robin Crowden, performed for students
at the NYS School For the Blind in early December. As pictured
here, after playing
seasonal selections,
Ms. Crowden invited students from
the School for the
Blind to join the
choir onstage and
play the handbells
when signaled with
a touch on their
shoulder by their
Jackson accompanist. Later in the month, as pictured below, the
Morris Chorus had a great time caroling and performing at the
Vendor Blender Sale at Robert Morris Elementary.
A+ Batavia Communicator
Page Turners Earn First and Second Place
Our two elementary Page Turner teams came in first and
second at this year’s first competition. Batavia White tied with
Warsaw at 22 points, and Batavia Blue was a close second with 21
points. The competition provided participants with the opportunity to work as a team and show off their collective knowledge
about 15 books assigned for the winter session. In addition to
reading, students meet once a week to prepare for Page Turner
competitions. Offered for students in grades 3-5 through the
ACE program with teachers Debbie Loftus and Karen Shuskey,
competitions are organized through Genesee Valley Educational
Partnership (formerly known as GV BOCES). Another competition, based on a new list of books, will be held in April.
Residents and the Budget Process
In preparation for the 20102011 budget proposal which will
be voted on in May 2010, the
District has been working hard on
developing a plan for meeting the
needs of the students while keeping the expectations of taxpayers in
mind. As a resident of the District, in addition to contacting the
administrative offices at any time
with your comments and concerns,
you have three formalized avenues
for voicing your opinion about the budget - become a Board of
Education (BOE) member, become a budget ambassador, or attend the monthly BOE meetings, particularly the one on February
8, 2010. The information gathered from the staff, the ambassadors,
and the public are what the Board members take into consideration as they sit down to develop the Proposed Budget.
This year, two BOE positions will open. These are elected
positions with three-year terms beginning in July, voted on at the
same time as the 2010-2011 budget. Interested residents may pick
up the necessary paperwork from the Administrative Building at
39 Washington Avenue after March 22, 2010.
Budget ambassadors volunteer by responding to the District’s
advertised need for ambassadors, which was done in the fall, and
then being appointed by the BOE. Ambassadors agree to meet
with the superintendent and business administrator to review the
Preliminary Budget and make recommendations to the Board.
Typically, the ambassadors commit to two three-hour meetings.
The BOE meeting on February 8, is set aside specifically for
residents to voice their financial concerns and suggestions about
the 2010-2011 school year before the budget is finalized.
The process for developing the budget for the 2010-2011
school year officially began in October when we advertised
for budget ambassadors and when the BOE established bud-
by Scott Rozanski, Business Administrator
get parameters and solicited preliminary budget requests from
principals, directors, and department chairpersons. It continued
into November as the preliminary budget requests were due and
the BOE appointed the ambassadors. In December, the Proposed
Administrative Budget was completed.
Following is a summary of important dates pertaining to the
development of the 2010-2011 budget, the vote, and New York
State’s School Tax Relief program (STAR) deadlines.
• January 12 and 19: Budget ambassadors meet to review
proposed Administrative Budget, then submit recommendations
to the Board.
• February 8: Board of Education meeting to begin review of
proposed Administrative Budget (and Propositions, if any), and
to solicit comments from the public.
• February 22 and March 8: At BOE meetings, Board
continues its review of the proposed Administrative Budget (and
Propositions, if any).
• March 1: Deadline for residents of the towns of Batavia and
Stafford for filing STAR application.
• March 22: BOE completes their review of the proposed Administrative Budget (and Propositions, if any); Board establishes
tentative 2010-2011 Budget, and (and Propositions, if any). Applications for BOE positions become available after this meeting.
• April 3, 10, 17, and 24: Weekly legal publication in newspaper to announce the coming vote on Proposed 2010-2011
Budget (and Propositions, if any).
• April 21: Voter Registration Day at Batavia City School
District Administration Building, 39 Washington Avenue, from
12 noon to 5 p.m., and 7-9 p.m.
• May 3: Proposed Budget is published and available for
• May 4: Presentation of Budget (and Propositions, if any) and
questions from the public, Jackson Elementary, 7 p.m.
• May 18: Public Vote on Budget, Board of Education positions (and Propositions, if any); 12 noon - 9 p.m.
A+ Batavia Communicator
Fourth Graders Actively Study Native Americans
Part of the fourth grade curriculum is studying Native Americans, and the unit offers plenty of learningby-doing activities. At John Kennedy, for example, Erin Dawson’s students built Iroquois villages in class
with the help of parent volunteers, being sure to include such necessities as a longhouse, fire pit, forest,
natural water source, and the “three sister” crops (beans, corn, and squash). During the school’s annual Native American Studio Day, all fourth graders participated in a variety of activities designed to explore and
experience Native American food, music, games, toys, and craftmanship.
Robert Morris students’ cross-curriculum experience culminated with a performance for the school and
families. Students sang songs about taking care of the earth, walking in beauty, learning new things, and
striving to do your best. Artwork also was displayed all around the multipurpose room for the program.
During John Kennedy’s Native American Studio Day, fourth graders tested their hunting skill by throwing a “spear” at a moving target.
Differentiating Instruction: What Does it Mean?
by Pam Schunk, Director of Learning
“Differentiation is a philosophy that helps teachers to plan strategically in order to reach the needs of the diverse
learners in classrooms today toward targeted expectations.” (Gayle Gregory and Carolyn Chapman, 2001)
Have you even noticed that some of the students
in a child’s class may be completing different types
of projects or assignments on the same topic? Although this may appear to be inconsistent, it is likely
an intentional approach known as differentiating
instruction (DI). Educators use DI to match instruction to meet the diverse needs of learners. DI presents opportunities for students to experience learning in a way that addresses their different interests,
readiness and/or learning styles, by differentiating
the content, process and/or product of the lesson.
DI is not new to educators in our District – it is a
philosophy that has been guiding what we do. Most
teachers have had training and use the approach as
part of the many strategies they incorporate daily.
Recently, several educators from the District had
the opportunity to join a multi-year, regional effort
to serve as a resource, in order to support teachers in
their efforts to provide Differentiated Instruction for
students. This endeavor is mostly funded through
a grant that was awarded to the Genesee Valley
Educational Partnership (formerly known as the
GV BOCES). The team started during the summer
of 2009 by attending a two-day Train-the-Trainer
workshop with Gayle Gregory, a well-respected
consultant and author known for presenting practical strategies that are easily implemented in the
classroom. The team that is part of this initiative will
be providing information and support to help the
District to continue to move forward in our efforts
to truly meet the needs of all students.
Teachers’ DI Share Fair
Middle School faculty held a Share Fair in December so teachers could swap
differentiated instruction (DI) strategies with each other and consequently
expand their individual set of techniques for reaching students. For instance,
seventh grade math teacher Andy Kiebala’s presentation, Using Games to Increase
Math Skills, highlighted some of the Promethean interactive whiteboard games
he has created to help students learn or reinforce math facts and concepts. Sixth
grade teacher Karen Mosgeller offered Think-Tac-Toe, in which a menu of activities, centered around one main topic, are provided so students can choose how
they will be actively engaged in what they are learning. Physical education teachers Teresa Cline, Rich Brown,
and Nate Shirk demonstrated
how they use individual goal
setting as students participate
in simulated rock climbing on
the wall installed in their gym.
All ideas presented could be
adapted to many if not all
other subject areas.
Special education teacher
Lucille DiSanto (on left in
picture)explains her Learning
Centers approach in which
each thematic unit can be
approached with activities in
tactile design, reading, science,
English/language arts, math,
social studies, art, an individualized project that focuses on a
personal goal, and scrapbooking to record class activities.
A+ Batavia Communicator
A Math Dance and Other Teaching Tactics
by Math Coaches Rebecca Battisti and Mary Calvert
After attending a conference given by a highly respected
expert on brain compatible instructional strategies that help
the brain learn best, District elementary math coaches Rebecca Battisti and Mary Calvert shared games and activities at
grade level meetings to give our teachers additional concrete
techniques that can be utilized in their classrooms to meet the
needs of diverse learners.
For instance, one specific activity to address long division
using a compatible strategy is the Long Division Dance. Fifth
grade students were taught arm movements to symbolize the
steps to long division (divide, multiply, subtract, bring down)
to the beat of a familiar song. “Divide” is a bracket made by
fingertips touching with one arm horizontal and the other vertical; “multiply” is arms crossed in an x in front; “subtract” is
one arm held horizontally; “bring down” is a fist held up then
brought down. The activity utilized two of the 20 top strategies - music and movement. The rest of the top strategies that
can be incorporated into activities are writing, storytelling, mnemonic device, visuals, reciprocal teaching, discussion, games, humor,
role play, visualization, drawing, graphic organizer, field trips, work study, manipulatives, metaphors/analogy/simile, project basedinstruction, and technology.
Technological “Trip” Provides Bounty of Learning
Utilizing District technology, a number of classes tuned in to the video
conference, Sailing Into Thanksgiving, provided by the Mariner’s Museum in
Newport News, Virginia. At Robert Morris, Sarah Grammatico’s second graders
enjoyed learning about what ship life was like on the pilgrim’s voyage to the New
World, as detailed by the docent at the museum.
Mrs. Grammatico said, “He showed the students samples of toys they would
have had with them. He also showed the children what the dried food would
have looked like.”
Said Kristina Clark, whose Jackson kindergartners also participated, “We
learned all about the pilgrims and how they traveled to the New World. We
learned about what they brought with them and their long trip here. We also
learned about how the Native Americans helped them to plant and harvest food
and how they had the First Thanksgiving Dinner. We learned the Sailing into
Thanksgiving song… and
(pictured right) made our
own Mayflower boats and
learned all the parts including
the hull, mast, and sails.”
This activity fit in well with
her room’s Native American November theme - complete with a teepee where the
children could go to read, and a guest speaker who came in to talk about her clan,
show real artifacts, and teach some of her native language.
At the Middle School, where Lucille DiSanto’s class enjoyed learning about the
pilgrim’s first voyage to America through the curator’s re-enactment, she said, “The
video conference enabled our students to ask questions pertaining to the pilgrim’s
first voyage, tying directly into their social studies curriculum…. It was an excellent
learning experience for all. We look forward to using it again in the near future.”
A+ Batavia Communicator
For First Time, Gymnastics Team is League Champion
This fall, our
varsity gymnastics team won the
MCPSAA (Monroe
County Public
School Athletic
Association) 2009
Girls Gymnastics
League Championship, Division II,
for Section V. This
is the first time in
District history
that the team won
a divisional title!
Coached by BHS
physical education
teacher Stephani Hamilton, team members include (from left to right) Sabrina DiSalvo, Emily Sallome,
Natalie Sharpe, Madison Musilli, Rebecca Gouger, Sarah Stendts, Jessica Derefinko, Sydney Durawa, Erin
Hurlbut, and (not pictured) Heather Schiffmaker.
Swimmer Set Records, Qualified for States
The girls’ swim team had a great showing at sectionals, where, overall, they came in seventh for Class B
and had several place finishes. Catherine McAllister had a particularly good showing as she qualified for
the State competition in the 200 yard individual medley, broke two school records - in the 200 yard individual medley and 100 yard backstroke - and earned the Division Sportsmanship Award, which is voted on
by coaches.
Computerized Payment System for Cafeterias
By Scott Rozanski, Business Administrator
Batavia City School District’s cafeterias
now offer a computerized system for meal
purchases. While students still have the
option of paying as they go through the
line, this new system has many advantages for both students and parents.
Students have a PIN (personal identification number), which will be entered
into a pin pad specifically designed
for school cafeteria use. When they go
through the cafeteria line, instead of having to pay with cash, their account can be
charged the amount of the purchase and
the money owed will be automatically
deducted from their account. In addition
to reducing the chance for breakfast and
lunch money to be forgotten, lost, or stolen, using the computerized point of sale
system (POS) will also enable the cafeteria lines to move more quickly so students
have more time for eating. If paying by
cash, a student can elect that any change
that is due back be automatically added
to their account. This feature will help
reduce any lost coins or allow the student
to save for future purchases.
The convenience to parents is being
able to view and manage their children’s
school meal accounts from any computer
that has an internet connection. When
logged on to the program site (through
a link on the District website), they
can check the balance, view a report of
recent transactions, and add funds to
the account using a major credit card
or PayPal. Prepayment can be used for
breakfast, lunch, milk, ice cream, snacks,
or any combination. Each online payment
of $50.00 or more will generate a free
lunch. Prepaid accounts allow parent’s to
deposit money in their child’s account,
A+ Batavia Communicator
in any amount, at any time, without
concerns about giving their student the
exact change every morning. Parents can
prepay with one payment for all children,
regardless of the school building that they
attend, but must identify each child and
each amount so proper allocation can occur.
Parents can also receive a “low balance”
alert via email. If a parent wants to place
restrictions on the account, they can do
so and that notification will appear on the
cashier’s screen for action by the cashier.
If a parent is concerned about a food allergy their child has, they can notify the
school nurse with this information and a
warning can be programmed in to appear
on the cashier’s screen for a quick review
of the items on the student’s meal tray.
We hope that families will find that the
many features of this alternative benefits
Our Musicians in Area All-State Festivals, RPO
Eighth grader Michael DiBacco (in picture on right) was selected to perform in the middle school
concert band at the NYSSMA (New York State School Music Association) Area All-State Festival held at
Greece Athena High School in early November.
Michael was selected because, last year, he played
a level 5 tenor sax solo and scored a 97 out of 100.
Three BHS students (in picture on left) also were
selected to participate in the Area All State Music
Festival - their’s was held in Letchworth in late
November: Melissa Ogozaly and Melanie Case
(seated on left and right, respectively) were selected
for the band and Carly Palmer (seated center)
was selected for
the choir. In order
to be selected,
students must
have competed at
the NYSSMA Solo
Festival during
the previous spring and received an “outstanding” score.
Three BHS students (in picture on right) participated in the Rochester
Philharmonic Orchestra’s Gala Holiday Pops Concert in December:
Seated left to right, Melissa Ogozaly, Ian Davis, and Maryssa Peirick were
part of The Festival High School Chorale which was co-directed by Amy
Story and Harold McAulliffe.
Following are some community-oriented highlights from our calendar. Please note that all activities are subject to change. Updates are
available by checking the calendar on the District website (, or calling the appropriate school or office. In addition,
the schedule for sporting events, because of its extensiveness as well as the frequency of changes on it, can be accessed on the internet by
following the Athletics link from our website or by going directly to and selecting “Batavia” from the drop-down
menu for “District Name” then proceeding to make menu selections according to the information desired. For those without internet access, the schedule can be obtained by calling the District Athletics Office at 343-2480 x2003 and requesting that a copy be mailed.
4 Board of Education meeting,
Richmond Library, 7 p.m.
18 No school; Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
23-24 District Winterguard Show
25 Board of Education meeting,
Administration Building, 7 p.m.
26 GWMEA All-County Music @ BHS
26-29 Regents Exams
29 Early dismissal for students; half-day
of staff development
National Job Shadow Day
BHS Electives Fair for parents and
students (demonstrations and information on the electives available),
BHS main cafeteria, 6-8:30.
• Future Freshman Parent Informational Meeting, for parents of eighth graders, BHS auditorium, 7 p.m.
• College Selection Process Meeting for
parents of sophomores and juniors
who are interested in learning more
about the college search process, BHS
small cafeteria, 7 p.m.
• Financial Aid Presentation for par ents of seniors who are interested in
learning more about the financial
aid application process for college,
BHS Library, 7 p.m.
8 Board of Education meeting with
focus on community discussion of
2010-2011 District Budget;
Administration Building, 7 p.m.
15-16 Presidents’ Day recess
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17 No school for students; Superinten dent’s Conference Day
22 Board of Education meeting,
Administration Building, 7 p.m.
March Highlights
2-30 District Art Show at Rich mond Library
5-6 High School musical, 7 p.m.
8 Board of Education meeting, 7 p.m.
11 Concert: High School Pops, 7 p.m.
22 No school for students; Superinten dent’s Conference Day
• Board of Education candidate paper work available for pick up at the
Administration Building
25 Music in Our Schools Concert @
BHS, 7 p.m.
Seven Earn Black Scholars’ Early Recognition
Five seniors - Brionna Majors, Sha’lana Odom, Devonte’ Rolle, Brandon Williams, and ShunDella Williams - and two juniors Lashanna Mims and Jykiya Powell
- received Early Recognition/Certificates of Achievement from the Urban
League of Rochester, NY, Inc. The
Early Recognition Program, a component of the League’s Black Scholars
Program, is used to identify, encourage,
and support high school students with
high academic abilities. Once students
are identified, they are eligible for the
League’s assistance and guidance in
academics as well as in college and
career planning.
Students who maintain at least a B
average through to the end of the third
marking period of their senior year
are confirmed as Black Scholars and
can participate in many college-related
activities offered and apply for scholarships only offered to Black Scholars.
Recipients of Certificates of Achievement were (back left to right) Brandon Williams, ShunDella Williams,
Devonte’ Rolle, (front l to r) Lashanna Mims, Sha’lana Odom, Jykiya Powell, and Brionna Majors.
For the People, By the People
“We the Students in fourth grade, in order to form a more perfect society...” and so begins the Classroom Constitution for fourth graders at Jackson Elementary. Followed by seven articles, the document forms the basis of the students’ in-class government that teachers
Joseph Rebisz, Jamie Polhamus, and Nathan Moore established so students could learn first-hand about the components of our federal government and how they work together. Each classroom has a president and vice president, with the remaining students filling
positions in either the Senate or House of Representatives, and the teachers serving as the Supreme Court members. Students are able to
introduce bills that deal with procedures and policies within their classroom, and try to pass them through Congress. If the bill is voted
on and passed, the president can sign it or veto it. “They put a lot of thought and discussion into what is best for the class, and not just what they want,” says Mr. Rebisz.
A recent bill, for example, proposed that students be able to to collect more “marbles”
The City School District of Batavia
(their in-class point system for earning class rewards such as a party) for each Math Facts
Jackson Elementary School
competition they win against the other fourth grade class. The discussion centered on
John Kennedy Elementary School
Robert Morris Elementary School
two key points: a bigger prize could serve as an incentive for students to study harder,
Batavia Middle School
but could also result in too many class parties. The vote was close, but it did not pass. On
Batavia High School
the other hand, students have voted to
change their learning group names every Superintendent – Margaret L. Puzio
BOE Members (with terms ending in):
month, and to have lunch with their
Patrick Burk.................. 2010
teachers more often than the original
Steven Mountain........... 2010
schedule of once per week.
Wayne Guenther........... 2011
Steven Hyde.................. 2011
“The students love it,” says Mrs.
Andrew Pedro................ 2012
Polhamus, “and they are very vested
Gail Stevens................... 2012
because the bills they write deal with
Gary Stich..................... 2012
procedures and policies within their
District Office
classroom. They really have a say, and
39 Washington Avenue, Batavia, NY
Hours: M-F 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
really can change things.” 585-343-2480
Mrs. Polhamus delivers a bill for discusDistrict Newsletter Editor – Kathie Scott
sion to the House of Representatives.
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