Strelitz International Academy and the Suzuki Method

Music Insrtments

​In the exciting world of music education, the Suzuki Method is a revolutionary approach that has transformed how young learners engage with violin mastery. Developed by Japanese violinist Shinichi Suzuki in the mid-20th century, this method is a unique teaching technique and philosophy that believes every child can excel in music through nurturing, repetition, and a supportive environment. At Strelitz International Academy (SIA), all our students learn how to play the violin in Kindergarten using the Suzuki Method. 

​The benefits of the Suzuki Method include developing a keen sense of pitch, rhythm, and musical expression. Learning through listening, as students do with their native languages, is central to the Suzuki Method. Before our IB® students learn to read the music, they internalize the musical language. 

Parental involvement is a massive part of the Suzuki Method, as parents act as the “home teacher” for their children. Lastly, repetition is vital to achieving mastery. Instead of moving quickly from one piece to another, students focus on a small set of pieces, revisiting them regularly. This deliberate practice fosters a deep understanding of the music and enables students to master fundamental techniques before progressing to more complex compositions.

Due to the Suzuki Method at Strelitz International Academy, our PYP students have enhanced cognitive development, discipline, and focus, as well as confidence and self-expression.

​The Suzuki Method has proven to be a powerful and effective approach to introducing SIA IB® scholars to the enchanting world of music. By embracing the principles of early exposure, active listening, parental involvement, and deliberate repetition, the Suzuki Method not only teaches the violin but also instills valuable life skills, starting with our youngest PYP students. As we witness the harmonious melodies produced by these young musicians, it becomes evident that the Suzuki Method is not just a method—it’s a transformative journey of musical discovery. Contact us or Schedule a visit!

Innovative Learning Through Technology in IB® Education

A girl is watching tablet

Technology is not just a tool, but a catalyst for transforming education. In IB® schools, technology is integrated into the curriculum to enhance learning, foster creativity, and develop global citizenship. In this blog post, we at Strelitz International Academy (SIA) will share some examples of how technology is used in IB® education to create innovative learning experiences for students that are fun, engaging, and meaningful.

Technology as a Medium of Inquiry and Expression

One of the key features of IB® education is the inquiry-based approach, which encourages students to ask questions, explore topics, and construct their own understanding. Technology in schools provides a medium for students to access information, communicate their ideas, and collaborate with others.

For example, in the SIA Primary Years Program (PYP), students use digital tools such as Activboards, Smartboards, or Epson BrightLink projectors to research, create, and present their projects. Beyond technology in the classroom, students can access computers in our library and dedicated computer lab. Our learners attend weekly computer classes to learn digital citizenship, keyboarding, documentation, and design. With digital projects that break down topics like the lifecycle of a butterfly, they can express themselves creatively and artistically.

Technology as a Means of Connecting and Collaborating

Another big feature of IB® education is the emphasis on global awareness and intercultural understanding. Technology fosters a sense of community and belonging among students, teachers, and parents. For example, the EY4 Program has a cherished tradition known as the “Family of the Week” project.

In this post-pandemic era, when some families physically can’t be in the classroom, this initiative has become even more significant. With the help of technology, parents, siblings, and extended family members have joined virtually on Google Meets, becoming part of our classroom community. These moments of connection have allowed students to learn about different careers, family traditions, hobbies, and much more directly from their classmates’ families. Watch this video to learn more about the Early Years Program!

Technology as a Source of Inspiration and Innovation

The ultimate goal of IB® education is to inspire and empower students to become lifelong learners and positive contributors to society. Technology provides a source of inspiration and innovation for students to pursue their passions, interests, and goals. For example, our school celebrated SIA STEM Day on February 27th, 2023, a day dedicated to expanding the horizons of our students from kindergarten through fifth grade through hands-on activities in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.

Explored through the lens of sports, students engaged in various activities, such as bobsledding and basketball, with each event teaching scientific and technological principles. They built models, learned about the impact of potential and kinetic energy on motion, and effectively applied the IB® Approaches to Learning in Thinking, Communication, Self-Management, and Research.

Call us at 7574244327 , email csimon@strelitzacademy.org, or Schedule a visit with Strelitz International Academy today to learn more about how we celebrate IB® technology in education!

Friendsgiving: Building a Community

A girl with eatables

By Elyssa Brinn, Early Years Director
“What does it mean to be thankful?” is a common question heard throughout the Early Years hallway as the school year begins. This is typically related to introducing the Modeh Ani prayer during morning Tefillah. The Modeh Ani prayer truly resonates through cultures and age levels because of its widely shared message of being thankful for a new day each morning.

Developmentally, preschoolers and toddlers are hard-wired to think and feel egocentrically. Being self-focused is natural for them, making grasping high-level concepts such as gratitude more difficult. Fortunately for SIA, our curriculum is concept-driven, and our teachers work diligently to instill these values and ideas very early on.

A girl is drinking in acup

During the Thanksgiving season, we had the opportunity to learn about appreciating what we have and taking action for those less fortunate. After all, teaching our students (as young as infants) to share is one of the first values we convey. The Jewish value of giving tzedakah is deeply rooted in ensuring that resources are shared justly. Expanding on this concept, the EY program participated in their 3rd Annual Friendsgiving Feast, with an added action project this year.

Each of our 13 classrooms cooked a dish to be served at our feast, which was held on November 21. The hallways began to smell like Thanksgiving, with dishes including cornbread, challah stuffing, apple crisp, and baked in our newly renovated Early Years cooking center! Tables lined the hallway the morning of the feast, and the entire program enjoyed the celebration together. Overheard at the tables were things like “I like the pink stuff (cranberry sauce) so much!”, “Is this WHOLE plate for me?” and “The cornbread tastes yummy!”

We collaborated with Jody Labstain at JFS. Each classroom collected food items connected with their class’ recipe to donate to the food pantry. For example, the EY4 class who made fresh squeezed lemonade for our feast collected different kinds of juice for “people who don’t have enough money to buy juice for Thanksgiving,” one of our brilliant students stated. He continued by telling us, “It’s so sad that some people can’t have a feast like the one at our school, so we are sharing it with them.” The completed action project yielded over 30 Thanksgiving meals for people in need! Our EY4 classes packed all the items into wagons and carts and presented them to JFS, helping stock the shelves and see their impact firsthand.

This project was able to combine two of our core values seamlessly. Kehillah, building community, and Tikkun Olam, repairing the world, are two of the most important values we want to instill in our children. We love how these acts of community and kindness empowered our students and gave them a true sense of how to make a difference in today’s world. Email us at csimon@strelitzacademy.org or call us at 757.424.4327 and see where our future leaders are born. Schedule a visit today!

As Resilient As Ever: IB® Students Are Ready To Take On 2024

Year 2024

As we bid farewell to 2023 and welcome the new year, our IB® students are as resilient as ever. Think back to the challenges in previous years— the labyrinth of academic rigors, the myriad of extracurricular demands, and the uncharted waters of pandemic-era learning. Our IB® students conquered these hurdles with grace and grit, transforming them into stepping stones towards their goals.

In a statement, Mr. Olli-Pekka Heinonen, Director-General of the IB®, said, “It is imperative to remember that in simply getting to this point, IB® students have had to show incredible resilience throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.” 

The IB® program curriculum and the infusion of IB® values into art activities for elementary students, classroom tasks, and educational activities have strengthened their learning, setting a good foundation for the journey ahead. As we stand on the threshold of a promising new year, our resilient IB® students are prepared and primed to sail into 2024, ready to seize every opportunity that comes their way.

What SIA IB® Students Learned in 2023

Creativity: “The Bear Hunt”

Imagine a bear hunt right in the heart of our school! That’s precisely what our Early Years 3 students embarked on in November, bringing the story “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” by Michael Rosen to life. Equipped with their handcrafted binoculars and maps, our young explorers navigated through tall, wavy grass and a big river, simulated elegantly with green and blue streamers. Their curiosity and critical thinking skills were piqued as they sorted through a sensory table filled with “mud” to find and count bears, integrating their math skills into the adventure. The thrill of discovery is shown when they finally find stuffed bears in a “dark cave,” just like in the story. This innovative, hands-on lesson exemplifies our ethos at Strelitz International Academy and the IB®— to go beyond the book and foster engaging, educational activities for elementary students.
READ NOW: Early Years 3 Goes On A Bear Hunt

Multiple Intelligences: “Who We Are”

The Primary Years General Studies at Strelitz International Academy is more than just a curriculum; it’s an exciting journey of discovery, innovation, and learning. Through the story of Who We Are, our Primary Years scholars have had the opportunity to participate in unique initiatives like Innovation Celebrations and Tiger Games, which let them delve into areas like understanding by design and mechanics. This year, our students have designed marble runs, crafted boats from recycled materials, and contributed to creating an outdoor learning space. Adopting Project Based Learning principles, we encourage inquiry-based learning, fostering critical thinking, creativity, and independence in our classroom activities for students.
READ NOW: Who We Are Today In The Primary Years General Studies?

Charity: “Giving Back”

At SIA, we believe that the intersection of learning and action is a profound space where young minds can grow. In May, our fifth graders exemplified this by participating in their Primary Years Programme Exhibition, focusing on Tzedakah (charity) and food insecurity. They visited gardens, helped in food pantries, held fundraisers, and even prepared meals for people in need. The experience culminated in creating one hundred lunches donated to Ghent Area Ministry, a testament to our students’ spirit of giving back to the community.
READ NOW: Strelitz International Academy Fifth Graders Give Back

Learning Through Fun: Pasta-Making Class

Setting goals and learning new skills lies at the heart of the kindergarten program at Strelitz International Academy. Take, for instance, the time in May when our kindergarten students helped their classmates accomplish the goal of making homemade tortellini. From rolling and cutting the dough to ensuring the ingredients were kosher, the students were engaged in every step of the process, learning about shapes, engaging their fine motor skills, and even understanding dietary guidelines. They’re more than ready to take on the “past abilities” of 2024!
READ NOW: The Pasta-Bilities Are Endless In Kindergarten!

As we stride into 2024, we are confident that these wide-ranging lessons and extracurricular activities, underpinned by the IB® curriculum and values, have prepared our students to take on the new year resiliently. Why not schedule a visit and see for yourself?

Third-Grade Scientists Take on Oil Spills

Allena Anglen and her third-grade class are attempting to clean up a simulated oil spill using disposable pipettes.

At Strelitz International Academy, our students become International Baccalaureate® learners as early as six weeks old. A huge part of an IB® education is the IB® Learner Profile Traits. These profile traits include being principled, open-minded, an inquirer, blanched, caring, a thinker, a communicator, a risk-taker, knowledgeable, and reflective. Our young scholars embrace the IB® Learner Profile traits in everything they do. On Tuesday, November 21, 2023, third-grade students in Mrs. Allena Anglen’s class put on their science hats, wore their safety goggles, and demonstrated the traits of being an inquirer, risk-taker, knowledgeable, thinker, and reflective in their oil spill-themed lab.

To start this engaging lesson, the third graders gathered around as Mrs. Anglen read two stories. The first story was a realistic fiction about the 1989 Prince William Sound spill titled Prince William by Gloria Rand, and the other book was a nonfiction text titled Deepwater Horizon by Nikole Brooks Bethea about the 2010 spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The students also looked at before and after images of bodies of water affected by oil spills, and this encouraged our students to reflect on how these spills affect not only the oceans but life both inside and outside of them.

Next, it was time for our thinkers to become scientists. Mrs. Anglen tasked the students to test different ways to clean up an oil spill. Using pipe cleaners to represent the animals in the oil-filled water, students tested different ways to clean up the oil. The materials they could use to get rid of the oil included a spoon, a fork, yarn, nylon stockings, cotton balls, and disposable pipettes. Unfortunately, our students realized that the pipe cleaner animals did not survive. The third graders also determined that preventing oil spills was the best way to clean the oceans.

Throughout this process, Strelitz students learned that scientists sometimes fail, but that is the best way to learn and grow from past experiences! To wrap up the lab, Mrs. Anglen asked her class, “How do we take this knowledge and move forward?” This question is not just relevant to the oil spill lab but also to any tasks her students may face in the future!

The Strelitz International Academy is the community’s Jewish Day School and International Baccalaureate® World School for infants through grade 5. For more information, contact Ally St. Pierre, Admissions and Marketing Manager, at 757-424-4327, ext. 4188, and Schedule a visit or astpierre@strelitzacademy.org.

Early Years 3 Goes on a Bear Hunt

bear hunt in school

Early Years 3 students at Strelitz International Academy gathered their binoculars and maps and went on their very own bear hunt! In Morah Lavette Ricks’ class, students were inspired by the story “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” by Michael Rosen and expressed how they would like to go on a bear hunt at their school. On November 7, 2023, Ricks brought the story to life and created the experience for her students right in the Early Years hallway.

mud themed sensory table in school

Early Years 3 students and teacher Lavette Ricks explore a “mud” themed sensory table to find and count bears.

To start this engaging lesson, Ricks introduced the story to her students, as well as the adapted song version sung by The Kiboomers. Because the text is predictable and the rhythm is catchy, the students developed creative-thinking skills to dramatize the story over a few days. As a class, Ricks focused on the prepositions in the story, such as over, under, and through. Next, the students used critical thinking skills to list what they might need in each scenario. As a class, they analyzed the list and started preparing.  Each child designed their own binoculars and special map to navigate to the cave. The maps included the elements mentioned in the story, such as tall, wavy grass, a big river, mud, and their end location: a cave.

Outside of the classroom, Ricks set up each site. The first scene was tall, wavy grass. The students enjoyed a sensory experience of pushing through green streamers. Next, there was a big river, and with the help of blue streamers, students had to “swim” their way through. There were even some stuffed animal friends who joined them on their courageous journey! The third obstacle was mud. To create this scene, Ricks used a sensory table and brown paper, which hid colorful Baby Bear Counters. As students sorted through the “mud,” they counted and collected the bears they found, which tied in with their math skills. And finally, what is a bear hunt without a bear? Students made their way to a “dark cave,” and inside were two stuffed bears! Just like the story, the kids spotted the bears and ran all the way back to their classroom.

At Strelitz International Academy, our mentality is teaching students to go beyond the book. It starts in our Early Years program and will follow them throughout their educational journey. We hope our EY3 students inspire you to grab your map and binoculars and create a bear hunt of your own!  Schedule a visit!

Who We Are Today in the Primary Years General Studies?

Children in Elementary School

The story of Who We Are in Primary Years General Studies at Strelitz International Academy is truly an interesting one. From Multiple Intelligences and Understanding by Design to Inquiry, our general studies curriculum has always been designed to educate our students as individual active learners based on the research of best educational practices. During our journey to discover Who We Are over the last decade, our young scholars have had the opportunity to participate in our Innovation Celebrations and Tiger Games. Caine’s Arcade inspired students to create their own. One year, they raced boats made from recycled items and cardboard boxes across the JCC pool. In other years, students designed marble runs and Rube Goldberg machines. With the individual learner at the forefront, our international baccalaureate curriculum model shifted to Project Based Learning. Student engagement continued to exceed expectations and was evident when grade levels collaborated to create an outdoor learning space.

IB PYP Programme

Today, Strelitz International Academy boasts of being the first IB® Primary Years Program in Hampton Roads. The Primary Years general studies at SIA refer to the core subjects of mathematics, language arts, and social sciences, along with specialties in music and art, physical education, library, and technology taught in our kindergarten through 5th-grade classes. The learning environment we have constructed naturally lends itself to the core values of our school and the IB® Learner Profile Traits. Our general studies curriculum is designed to nurture holistic development in young learners and can be expanded as we grow as an IB® PYP World School. Our course objectives promote inquiry-based learning, where our young scholars explore, question, and construct their understanding of the world around them. It encourages critical thinking, creativity, and student agency (self-awareness and independence). Inquiry in an IB® PYP World School is not just a teaching method; it’s a way of thinking and acting while developing international-mindedness and using foundational skills for real-world problem-solving and discovery.

Primary Years General Studies

Our students thrive in our transdisciplinary approach to teaching and learning. General studies teachers of core subjects and specialties also collaborate with Judaics Studies and Hebrew teachers to bring meaningful learning experiences into the classroom. Our students extend their understanding of single-subject objectives through activities in their Units of Inquiry, hands-on discovery, community outreach, our STEM Olympics, and our PYP Exhibition.

Walking into one of our general studies classrooms, you will see students researching, creating, and exploring broad concepts with a global lens. SIA teachers are facilitators of learning and encourage student curiosity while ensuring they have foundations in core subject areas. Our accomplished faculty respects the individual learning styles of all our scholars and helps them discover who they are as they become confident in their interests and skills.

To learn more about how we mold the next generation of international learners, contact us about our IB Early Years curriculum, Primary Years Program, and more! 
   

Strelitz International Academy Back to School

Children in IB Classroom

Strelitz International Academy welcomed the new school year with open arms and smiling faces. The school’s entryway has been reimagined with a beautiful IBⓇ-themed mural, and new toddler classrooms, adding to the excitement of the new school year.

Students from all grades returned back to SIA on August 18, 2023, for the annual Meet and Greet. Students had the opportunity to meet their new teachers and classmates drop off supplies in their new classrooms and end the day with a sweet Kona Ice treat. Parents could ask questions about the upcoming school year and what they can expect. The morale was high, and everyone looked forward to the first day of school.

On Monday morning, August 21, 2023, a red carpet led to the front door of the building. Students were thrilled about what the day would bring. It was a wonderful day, filled with engaging lessons, reuniting friends, and bonding with new ones. The school’s faculty and staff received wonderful feedback from parents and students, as students left school with positive attitudes.

Jamie Baker during SIA’s annual school supplies for the new school year. Meet and Greet.

Toddler 4 student, Everett Booth, holding a lion he “rescued” from the hay.

Fifth-grade student Sylvie Lomogda with her Kindergarten student Alexa Kass with her new teacher.

SIA is excited about what the new school year will bring, as Heather Moore, Head of School, launched a new podcast called S.I.A.: The Podcast. This podcast focuses on thoughtful and inspiring topics around parenting and educational programming in IBⓇ PYP schools like ours. You can check out the podcast at www.strelitzinternationalacademy.org/podcast

Additionally, SIA is creating a quarterly magazine that will be available both in hard copy and digital format. The Strelitz magazine will feature articles about events happening at the school and what students are learning.

At Strelitz International Academy, there’s nothing more fulfilling than seeing our students thrive and succeed under our guidance. One of the most important aspects of teaching is fostering a learning environment that encourages academic and personal growth—that is why we lead Virginia as one of the top IBⓇ Program elementary schools. By providing students with the tools they need to succeed and supporting them every step of the way, we can help them reach their full potential. Let’s make this the best school year yet, filled with laughter, learning, and growth!

Looking for ‘Jewish schools near me?’ Schedule a visit with us and see why we make our next generation’s leaders brighter.

Exploring the Difference Between IB® School and Regular School

Class room with benches and board

As a parent, do you often find yourselves at a crossroads trying to determine the best academic path for your child? From private to public schools, your chosen institution will have a lasting effect on your child’s development and future. 

Beyond the typical private school, modern parents have been deciding whether to enroll their child in an International Baccalaureate (IB®) primary school instead of a traditional school. But what’s the difference?

IB® Schools

International Baccalaureate (IB®) schools revolve around a New Age way of teaching. These schools naturally employ the IB® curriculum, which isn’t solely focused on good grades as a performance metric. It’s about developing the whole child, becoming curious learners for life. The IB® philosophy strongly cares about academics and just as much about critical thinking, global interconnectedness, and making a societal impact.

Virginia Beach private schools like Strelitz International Academy use the Primary Years Programme (PYP) to build the foundation for learning. Instead of solely memorizing information, this program encourages kids to ask meaningful questions and explore the world around them. They learn that all subjects are an intricate web of information, genuinely digesting how academic lessons relate to the real world.

Conventional Schools

Let’s talk about “regular schools”—the kind most of us grew up with. They take a more traditional approach to teaching. These schools usually follow the curriculum set by their local education sectors, and their main focus is on core subjects like Math, Science, History, and English. While regular schools definitely give a solid academic start, they might not put as much emphasis on growing in outside-the-box ways or understanding the world globally as IB® schools do.

The Differences Between the Two

1. How They Teach

IB® schools want students to be curious and ask questions. They let kids explore topics that interest them and realize their interconnected nature. Regular schools usually stick to a set curriculum decided by local education boards.

2. Seeing the World

IB® elementary schools near Norfolk, VA, want students to think about the whole world. They teach about different cultures and ideas to help students become open-minded and empathetic leaders. Regular schools might not spend as much time on this global perspective—a trait that should be more important than ever.

3. How You Learn

IB® schools focus on teaching you how to think critically and solve problems independently. Regular schools might spend more time making you memorize facts and taking standardized tests. The information may not “stick” when students are expected to score well.

4. Complete Growth

IB® schools encourage growth in every single aspect. They care about your emotions, how you get along with others, and your values—all the essential interworkings of a person. Without the in-depth, transdisciplinary curricula of the IB®, regular schools are more surface-level; they mainly focus on academic performance.

5. Subjects and Connections

In IB® schools, different subjects come together like puzzle pieces. You see how science can connect with history, for example. In regular schools, topics are often taught separately.

Learn with Strelitz International Baccalaureate Academy

The IB® PYP framework extends its influence outside the classroom setting. As students embrace their roles as inquirers, our budding scholars understand that what they learn in the classroom mirrors the world. With strong support and dedication from the broader community, our students cultivate their passions and talents, nurturing a strong self-assurance as they explore their role in the global landscape. 

To see why Strelitz is one of the best private elementary schools near Chesapeake,mail us csimon@strelitzacademy.org or call us at 757-424-4327  to schedule your tour.

 

Understanding the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP)

IB school

At Strelitz International Academy, we take great pride in being an International Baccalaureate (IB®) World School for the Primary Years Programme (PYP). As an IB® World School and one of the best affordable private schools in Norfolk VA, we are committed to providing a challenging and inclusive educational experience that empowers our diverse students to become lifelong learners. Read on to learn the key aspects of the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme and its significance in shaping well-rounded individuals.

Promoting Student Agency through Inquiry-Based Learning

At the heart of the IB® PYP is an inquiry-based approach to learning. We strongly believe that students learn best when actively engaged in the education process and are free to explore their curiosities. By nurturing student agency, we encourage our young learners to take ownership of their education and pursue knowledge both inside and outside the classroom. This approach allows learners to thrive, fostering critical thinking skills and a genuine passion for academia.

Developing the Whole Child

The IB® PYP is built upon a holistic framework that goes beyond academic excellence. It focuses on evolving the whole child—encompassing advanced knowledge, concepts, skills, attitudes, and actions. The ultimate goal is to instill in students the qualities that make them well-rounded individuals, like openmindedness, empathy, principled behavior, and strong values. By strengthening these attributes, we aim to shape responsible global citizens who contribute positively to society.

Transdisciplinary Themes for Deeper Learning

As a core focus, the IB® PYP incorporates globally significant transdisciplinary themes to guide deeper learning. These themes, such as “Who We Are,” “How the World Works,” and “Sharing the Planet,” enable students to connect different subjects with real-world issues. This interdisciplinary approach allows students to understand the interconnectedness of knowledge and develop a more comprehensive knowledge of the world around them.

Passionate and Dedicated Educators

Our educators are the key communicators in delivering the IB® PYP properly and effectively. They collaborate to provide an integrated learning model across all disciplines, creating a curriculum based on students’ experiences and interests. To ensure the highest quality of education, our faculty participates in professional development and extensive IB training, inspiring them to innovate new learning methods that ignite students’ curiosity and action.

Global Connections and Inspiring Engagement

The IB® PYP is synonymous with global connectedness—pushing us to translate the best practices in the classroom. We encourage students to engage with communities beyond their immediate surroundings, morphing a newfound sense of global awareness and empathy. This exposure enriches their learning experiences and prepares them to be active and kind citizens in an interconnected world.

Parent and Community Involvement

We can’t elevate our students without their parents’ help. The effects of the IB® PYP reach far past the classroom walls, fusing with our students’ everyday lives. We value parent support and welcome their active involvement in their child’s education. That way, students can further learn how their lessons reflect daily life.
Community experts are invited to share their knowledge and experiences with our students, building meaningful connections between the school and the broader community. With invaluable support from parents and the community, our students can be confident as they find their place in the world.

Empowering Students to Take Action

Our IB® primary school knows that there are only results with action. The IB® Programme empowers students to be active citizens within local and global communities by participating in various activities that make a positive impact. From community service initiatives to environmental conservation projects, our students’ experiences both enrich their education and ignite a sense of responsibility to be empathetic to others.
Looking for an “IB® elementary school near me?” Send your child to a school that sets them up for success. Tour Strelitz International Academy today.

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