Notices & Updates 2020-2021SY

Notices & Updates 2020-2021SY
Posted on 05/24/2021
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Updated 5/20/21
Head Start will have an optional summer session. It will be offered Monday-Thursday, June 1 through July 1 (except June 14, which is SRPMIC Day and the ECEC will be closed). The program will run from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Please contact your child's teacher if you are interested in your child attending the summer session. Limited bus services are available; if this is a service you require, please contact Melinda Hansen at 480-362-2200.

The Early Head Start summer program runs Monday-Friday, May 21 through July 23 (except 6/14 and 7/5); the hours are 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Please note: The ECEC campus summer hours are 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. from May 24 through July 23 (the ECEC is closed 6/14 and 7/5). Additionally, childcare services will continue through this same timeframe; if you are currently using childcare, then services are available regardless of your child’s age. Do you need childcare services? Contact your Family Advocate or call 480-362-2200.

Updated 4/21/21
Click here to read our FAQ sheet regarding ECEC reopening plans. Our procedures were developed with input from health authorities across SRPMIC, state, and federal agencies. This document includes answers to the following questions:

  • What health and safety measures will take place in the classroom and throughout campus?
  • What happens if there’s a confirmed case at the school?
  • Will my child be required to wear a mask?
  • How does curbside service work? Click here to view our infographic about drop-off procedures.
  • What services are offered if I continue remote learning for the remainder of the school year?
  • My child participates in Wait List remote services. What will be offered for Wait List families?

Additionally, ECEC staff and students are required to complete a daily prescreening for the following symptoms before arriving to campus:

  • Feeling feverish or having a measured temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Shaking or exaggerated shivering
  • Significant muscle pain or ache
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea or vomiting

ECEC staff, students, and campus visitors who have had close contact with someone who is test-confirmed to have COVID-19 will not be allowed on campus and should quarantine through the 10-day incubation period.

Updated 4/14/21
We are so excited to welcome students back to the ECEC! We know the transition back to the ECEC may be difficult for some children. They will need extra time to connect or reconnect with their teachers. In order to plan for a safe and successful transition to on-campus learning, the ECEC has created a return schedule to welcome back students in phases beginning Monday, April 26.

  • Week of April 26: Some full-day children will return to campus.
  • Week of May 3: Additional full-day children will return to campus.
  • Week of May 10: Additional full-day and some part-day children will return to campus.
  • Week of June 1: Remaining children will return to campus.
  • June 1 to July 1: (Optional) Head Start summer program in session Mon–Thurs from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Stay tuned for more information!

Students are considered “full-day” if they are dropped off between 7-7:30 a.m. and picked up by 6 p.m. (utilizing childcare). Students are considered “part-day” if they attend during school hours only (dropped off between 7-7:30 a.m. and picked up by 2 p.m. Part-day children will not have the option to return until May 10.

The ECEC recognizes that quality childcare is a vital service; this phased reopening plan was created to safely meet the childcare needs of our families. Please note: All families have the option to remain remote until the end of their program year, which is May 20 for part-day preschool and pre-K students, and July 23 for part-day infants/toddlers and all full-day children.

Reopening in phases is beneficial for many reasons:

  • Staff can provide individualized support for children’s social and emotional needs.
  • Classroom environments that won’t overwhelm children and help children regulate their emotions.
  • Children can help each other; those who have been in the classroom can help their returning peers adjust to the new environment.
  • There will be fewer families during drop-off and pick-up times.
  • Gives everyone—children, families, and staff—the opportunity to grow comfortable with all the new ways things are being done in the name of health and wellness.

ECEC staff will reach out to your family to discuss when your child will return to campus. Full-day families: You can help this process by taking our short survey about your childcare needs and return preferences. Thank you for your patience, understanding, and flexibility during this unprecedented time. If you have any questions, please reach out to your teacher or Family Advocate.


Tami Brungard
ECEC Leader

Updated 3/3/21
We have put together Family Engagement items for you to enjoy. March is National Nutrition Month, and we are excited to share with you some valuable resources from our partners at Salt River WIC, which helps coordinate the Community’s annual Wellness Fair. This year’s Wellness Fair is a weeklong virtual event from March 29 through April 4; it will focus on gardening and other outdoor wellness activities (see flyer below).

Gardening is a fun way to bring the family outdoors and introduce children to topics like nutrition, culture, and mindfulness.

Gardening and other outdoor activities are essential to child development. Gardening connects children to nature and is an opportunity to teach children about Mother Earth. In addition, gardening supports many early learning outcomes, including language, communication, and social emotional development. At the ECEC, classrooms have participated in gardening activities throughout each school year. From planting a seed to watching it sprout, ECEC children have enjoyed learning where food comes from and how it relates to the land. The WIC program’s gardening tools will help you and your children plant seeds together and watch them grow this spring. We are also including a special gardening book to read with your child called How to Plant a Vegetable Garden.

We hope you enjoy the gardening activities and can join us during this year’s virtual Wellness Fair activities!

If you have questions, please reach out to your child’s teacher or Family Advocate, or call the ECEC at 480-362-2200.

Click here to view a larger image.

Updated 2/9/21
Dear ECEC Families,

We hope that this update finds your family in good health. We miss seeing the faces of students and families on campus. We hope you’ve had the opportunity to begin connecting with classroom staff via Microsoft Teams.

We always strive to improve communication and want to share some important information with families regarding school closure, supply distribution, 2021-2022 enrollment, and the CCDF Certificate Program.

  • The Community continues to remain in the Essential Services phase; the latest update from the Community Manager says this phase will be in effect until at least February 28. Learn more about the Community’s COVID-19 reopening plan here: The ECEC will remain closed to staff, students, and families during Essential Services and Phase 1. Staff will return to work onsite when the Community moves into Phase 2; students will return to campus (in-class instruction) during this phase, as well.
  • We are making changes to our supply distribution based on feedback from families and seeing a decline in pickups during our weekly distribution (see previous post below from 2/8/21). Beginning Tuesday, Feb. 16, lesson plans and materials will be distributed once per month. Each monthly activity bag will have four weeks of lesson plans, two activities, and a children’s book. A staff member will be onsite every Monday from 9:30-11:30 a.m. and 3:30-5:30 p.m. to support families who need to pick up items more than once each month, including cleaning supplies, diapers, wipes, and/or requested educational materials. We hope this change helps support families more effectively.
  • In March, we will begin our re-enrollment process for the 2021-2022 school year. All returning ECEC families will receive notification and paperwork to complete.
  • We continue to accept applications for our ECEC waitlist. If you or a family you know have a child 0-5 years old and would like to be placed on the wait list, you can request an application during distribution, send us an email request, or click here to download an application.
  • For families who are in need of support for child care services at this time, please consider applying for the CCDF Certificate Program. This program helps families cover the cost of child care centers in surrounding cities. Click here to learn more or contact Alizabeth Philbrick at 480-208-5755.

Thank you,

ECEC Staff

Updated 2/8/21
Beginning Tuesday, Feb. 16, the ECEC will change how we distribute lesson plans and the materials that come with them. Based on feedback from ECEC families, we will provide lesson plans and materials monthly.

The intention is for families to extend the learning and provide repetition for children to have success and master the skills being taught with each lesson. This means you will receive four weeks of lesson plans and materials at one time; you will no longer receive a delivery or pick up lessons a weekly basis. Your classroom staff will continue to provide weekly communication and support with the lesson plans and materials.

Please note: If you cannot make it to the monthly distribution for whatever reason, ECEC staff will continue to be on-site every Monday, excluding holidays.

Monthly delivery of lesson plans and materials will continue for families on our delivery routes. Families that have other supply requests delivered or picked up, such as diapers, wipes, cleaning supplies, etc., will continue with their current schedule.

Questions? Reach out to your Family Advocate or classroom, or call 480-362-2200.

Updated 1/19/21
Have you received an email invitation to join our new ReadyRosie program? We're so excited about this new opportunity for ECEC students and families. Click the link above to learn more.

Updated 1/8/21
The Early Childhood Education Center would like to survey parents and guardians about their student's at-home learning experiences during the pandemic.

This survey is anonymous, and your answers will help the ECEC to support at-home learning for ECEC students.

Please take a few minutes to complete the survey.

We will close the survey at 5 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 15. If you have any questions, call or text Carmen Briones at 480-241-1854.

Updated 12/14/20

This month we are extending our warmest wishes to you and your loved ones. We want to acknowledge the important job that parents and guardians do as caregivers and their child’s first teacher.

We understand that during this pandemic, there can be times that we each feel overwhelmed. We recognize that for some, the holiday season can at times be stressful. We have put together a package of items to help with family fun and a reminder to care for yourself.

Attached you will find an activity calendar of family ideas—things like enjoying popcorn and a movie at home, to playing cards and games, to making paper snowflakes. Additionally, we have included a $40 gift card to Walmart to help support this family time, whether that is cooking a meal or enjoying an activity together.

Raising a family can mean at times facing unexpected costs. We hope this gift helps you during the holiday season. As a friendly reminder, the ECEC will be closed during the Salt River Schools winter break from Dec. 21, 2020, through Jan. 4, 2021. We will resume on Tuesday, Jan. 5, with distribution of learning materials at the ECEC.

As always, if you have a specific need, please contact your child’s teacher or your Family Advocate. It is our hope that you stay healthy and well while celebrating the holiday season.

- ECEC School Family

Updated 11/20/20

In honor of Native American Recognition Days, enjoy this special message from ECEC teacher Catherine Ahasteen of the Butterfly classroom.

Hello! My name is Catherine Ahasteen, and I am a teacher in the Butterfly classroom. To my Butterflies: I miss you with all my heart. Our goal is to be life-long learners. Education is important. Remember to make learning a top priority!

As a family, we think it’s important to celebrate and to give thanks each day for all that we have and the people we represent. My family’s tribal affiliations are the Colorado River Indian Tribes, Hopi, Mohave, Tewa, Oneida, and Ho-Chunk. We try to educate and give back to the community whether we wear our regalia or not.

Catherine Ahasteen's family photos!

Here is a little bit about my family:

  • The man standing next to the Code Talker statue is my son, Blaize (22), who’s in college. His great-grandfather, Louis Ahasteen, was a Code Talker.

  • The little girl in pink is my niece. This photo was taken at her kindergarten graduation. She is now 10, and stands 5’8”.

  • The two dancers in their grass dance regalia are my husband, Jarod Pidgeon, a high school English teacher, and my son, Selase, who’s in eighth grade.

  • The girl in the mask is my daughter, Cheyanne (17), who is a high school junior. She is graduating a year early, in May 2021!

Thanks for reading!

Updated 11/16/20
November is Native American Heritage Month; at Salt River Schools, we celebrate Native American Recognition Days the week before Thanksgiving. During this time, the Early Childhood Education Center would normally host a Social Gathering of O’odham and Piipaash social songs and dances. As a school, we look forward to this event every year, because it brings us together as a school family while honoring Indigenous cultures and languages.

In lieu of an in-person event this year, ECEC staff worked in partnership with the NYCP Literacy for All program and wrote a book about the ECEC Social Gathering, which is available here on our website. We hope you and your family enjoy the story and photographs. As a special treat, the ECEC will send students a stuffed animal representing the classroom they’re enrolled in.

Family gatherings are an important part of the holiday season and this year we must use extra caution to keep our families safe and healthy. In celebration and gratitude, the ECEC will provide each enrolled child with a $25 gift card to Fry’s grocery store to help your family create a memorable meal. A fun way to keep learning happening during the holidays is to include children in meal preparation, table setting, and clean up, which is what we do in ECEC classrooms, as well.

We hope you and yours remain safe and healthy.


Early Childhood Education Center Staff

Updated 8/12/20
The Early Childhood Education Center welcomes families to the 2020-2021 school year. We are a school that provides comprehensive service to families from prenatal through 2 years old in the Early Head Start and students 3-5 years old in the Head Start Program.

Our focus, especially now, is to ensure families and students receive instruction, connection, and support services. Teachers will provide activities and communicate twice a week with families participating in remote learning; teachers can also help families establish home learning schedules and organization so that your child receives the most benefit out of this new academic landscape.

Each ECEC family has an assigned Family Advocate whose role is to support your family. They will contact you twice a month to check in, but families are encouraged to contact them directly. In August, ECEC Family Services staff will contact your family to complete the beginning-of-the-year orientation form. This information is required annually by Head Start.

Communication and collaboration between the ECEC and families is important for student and family success! In order to stay connected we encourage you download the Salt River Schools app (for both iOS and Android devices) and keep visiting us here on our school website for the latest news and updates. We depend greatly on technology these days and are available by email, phone call, or text (see contact information below). Please let us know if your family has any needs.

Click here to download the flyer.

Wishing you well,

ECEC Family Service Staff

Jessica Begay 480-787-8185
Carmen Briones 480-241-1854
Carrie Hodge 480-241-2806
Dawna Hulet 480-240-8299
Amber Murray 
Pamela Prasher 480-208-6861
Lisette Rincon 480-651-6215
Martha Villalobos 480-207-9932

Updated 8/5/2020

An important part of Head Start/Early Head Start is the partnership between our programs and the families we serve. Your answers to this short, anonymous survey will help ECEC staff and leadership develop a training calendar that best fits the needs of our families.

Although the survey is anonymous, we are encouraging participation by offering two Kindle Fire tablets in a random drawing - if you want your name in the drawing, please answer the final question of the survey.

To ensure everyone can participate, the survey will also be mailed with a self-addressed return envelope, or you can drop it off at meal pick-up.
The survey will be available until Aug. 17 and the winners drawn on Aug. 20.

If you have any questions, call 480-362-2200.

Updated 7/22/2020
Dear Early Childhood Education Center Families,

The ECEC 2019-2020 school year is at a close. We are so grateful to our students, families, staff, and Community for making the year as amazing as possible, given the unforeseen pandemic situation and safety precautions we’ve had to take to ensure the health and wellness of our stakeholders.

One of our favorite rites of passage to end any school year is celebrating our rising kindergarteners. Watch the digital Pre-K ceremony below and help us wish these students well on their next adventure.

Thank you to those who participated in our recent survey; it has helped us make plans for the upcoming 2020-2021 school year, which will have a remote (home-based) start on Monday, August 3. Please consider taking this *new* survey to help education and Community leaders understand family educational needs; the survey is anonymous, but if you provide your name, it will be entered into drawings to win one of several prizes, including an iPad, gift certificates, and more.

Families will be contacted by their 2020-2021 classroom staff the week of July 27. As we all figure out how to live, learn, and flourish within a pandemic, it is incredibly important that the lines of communications are strong between the ECEC and our families. Caregivers are a child’s first teacher, and we are here to support and empower you while your child learns from you at home.

Thank you,

ECEC Staff

Updated 7/20/20
Staff at the Early Childhood Education Center hope you all are well. We have a few updates for our families:

  • This is the last week of the ECEC 2019-2020 school year.
  • Wednesday, July 22, is the final distribution day from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the bus loop (entrance is at Chaparral Road). Distribution includes materials for at home activities and supplies requested by families (diapers, wipes, formula, etc.). If you need to turn in enrollment paperwork, you may also stop by at this time.
  • Thursday, July 23, will be the last day for the remote summer learning program.
  • New School Year Info: ECEC leaders are finalizing our 2020-2021 school year remote learning plan and will share with families as soon as possible. Families will hear from our teacher staff next week (beginning July 27). 
  • #2020Census: Just 42.6% of all possible Census forms have been returned for the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community; the goal is 100%, which would mean more funding for vital Community programming, including programs at the ECEC. Click here to learn more about the SRPMIC Census effortsClick here to fill out your Census from online; it takes just a few minutes and will impact the next 10 years. Once you complete the Census, email [email protected] to be entered into a weekly raffle.
  • WIC: The Woman, Infant and Child (WIC) program provides nutritional foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education to pregnant women, and to infants and children up to age five. WIC is also available to single dads, grandparents, guardians/foster parents (court documents required). WIC has income-based eligibility. If you receive AHCCCS or TANF (cash or food stamps), you automatically qualify (verification of participation required). For more information, call 480-362-7300.  

Stay informed with Salt River Schools educational updates by visiting or our social media pages (search "Salt River Schools on Facebook Instagram, and YouTube).

Have you downloaded the Salt River Schools app yet? Stay up-to-date on all the latest happenings and search “Salt River Schools” in the iTunes App Store or Android’s Google Play!

Be safe,

ECEC Staff

Updated 7/1/20
ECEC staff are working hard to make sure we are ready when it is time to reopen. We are in the process of finalizing a plan that follows federal, state, and Community safety guidelines with regards to COVID-19. Our goal is to keep students, families, and staff safe and informed.

At this time, there is no ECEC reopening date scheduled. The ECEC, like all of Salt River Schools sites and programs, has been following the SRPMIC government’s “Return to Work Plan” since June 1; under this plan, the Community, including our school, will be in Phase 1 through at least the end of July. Schools may begin reopening in Phase 2, and no one knows when that will occur. ECEC staff will return when Phase 2 is activated by the SRPMIC Tribal Council, and we will welcome children and families into our building only when the necessary safety measures and protocols are in place. We will keep you informed throughout this process.

It’s important that ECEC has your current phone number, address, and email. Please call us to update your records, as needed. If you have not been contacted by an ECEC staff member during the closure, call us at 480-362-2200 and leave a message with your name and your child’s name and we will return your call. Please note: All currently enrolled students are eligible to enroll for the 2020-2021 school year.

We appreciate your patience and understanding in these challenging and uncertain times. We hope ECEC families take advantage of our Wednesday drive-up distribution days, where you can get free activities, materials, and supplies—please call ahead and let us know what you need. This service is available at the ECEC on July 1, 8 & 22 (Wednesdays).

If there is anything you need please reach out to us. We wish you and your families well!

Tami Brungard, Ed.S

Early Childhood Education Leader
(480) 362-2202

Updated 5/13/20
We hope you are doing well. With the safety measures in place throughout the Community, there will be no in-person promotion ceremony next week to celebrate our Pre-K students as originally planned.

However, we invite you to visit the ECEC today (5/13) until 1 p.m. and tomorrow, (5/14) from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to pick up special promotion items, including a felt graduation cap and materials to decorate it with your student (our distributions take place in the bus loop, which you can access from Chaparral Road).

In the past, our families have been super-creative in decorating these items and we would love for you to share photos and videos of you and your student making these caps. You can send the photos/videos to our Communications and PR Director Taté Walker at [email protected] and we will share those on our social media pages to celebrate the accomplishments of our ECEC students!

In addition, check out this promotion/graduation celebration opportunity from O'odham Action News.

We hope you are well and we look forward to seeing you!

Tami Brungard, Ed.S
Early Childhood Education Leader
(480) 362-2202

Updated 5/4/20
Hello, ECEC families! May 4-8 is Educator Appreciation Week. We are grateful for all our dedicated staff at the ECEC that continue to support families and the Community during the school closure. Check out the video ECEC staff put together to let families know how much we miss them:

We also wanted to let you know that this week, we will have new learning activity materials for families to pick up Wednesday (5/6) and Thursday (5/7) from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. We also have handmade masks available, which were made and donated by ECEC Assistant Teacher Thanaa Salloum. Please use the ECEC bus loop (entrance on Chaparral Road) to pick up your activity bags.

We hope you are well and we look forward to seeing you!

Tami Brungard Ed.S
Early Childhood Education Leader
(480) 362-2202

Updated 4/27/20
This message is to update families about the re-enrollment process for the upcoming 2020-2021 school year. To help ease any pressure related to enrollment deadlines and to respect safety protocols enacted in response to COVID-19, the Office of Head Start is allowing schools a measure of flexibility regarding re-enrollment procedures. Here is the ECEC enrollment plan:

  • If your child is currently enrolled at the ECEC and will be able to return for the 2020-2021 school year in August, then you will not have to fill out a re-enrollment form (it will be automatic this year). Please note: This does not include pre-k students transitioning to kindergarten (see third bullet).
  • If your child is currently enrolled in Early Head Start (birth to 3 years old) and will transition to Head Start (3- and 4-year-olds), you must fill out a Head Start program application. The ECEC will mail you an application packet with a prepaid return envelope; please mail your completed application back as soon as possible.
  • If your child will transition from pre-k to kindergarten, please call Salt River Elementary School at 480-362-2400 to ask about their enrollment procedures, or click here to visit their kindergarten enrollment page. They are eager to support your child on their next educational journey.
  • Families with questions about the CCDF Certificate Program can email Alizabeth Philbrick for enrollment information.
  • There is a different process for families of children who will enroll at the ECEC for the first time. Please call the ECEC at 480-362-2200 for more information.

Please reach out to your Family Advocate if you have any questions. Thank you for your patience and understanding during this unprecedented time of change. Remember: We will do this together.

Tami Brungard Ed.S
Early Childhood Education Leader
(480) 362-2202

Updated 4/21/20
We hope this message finds you well. We wanted to let you know that if you were unable to pick-up your activity and resource bags last week, please come by the ECEC Wednesday, April 22, between 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. to pick yours up. Please note: We will now be using the bus loop (entrance on Chaparral Road) for distributions. 

Here is some information ECEC Policy Council President Lori Lewis has asked me to pass along: 

  • The Food Bank near the Salt River Community Building at Longmore and McDowell roads is a great resource for families needing food assistance. Their hours of operation are Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. They are closed every weekday from noon to 1 p.m. For more information, call 480-362-7277.
  • The Community has several important notices regarding its COVID-19 prevention efforts. Please review those here:

If you have any questions, please call your Family Advocate or the ECEC at 480-362-2200 (if no one answers, please leave a message with how to reach you and we'll return your call as soon as possible). Be sure to also check out the main Salt River Schools website for any news/updates.

Have a safe and healthy week. 

Tami Brungard Ed.S
Early Childhood Education Leader
(480) 362-2202

Updated 4/14/20

We hope you and yours are doing well. This message is to let you know that more activities and supplies to help you and your child with home learning experiences will be distributed tomorrow, Wednesday, April 15, from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the ECEC.

Additionally, we hope you take advantage of the great online learning resources posted here and check out these great resources:

If you have any questions, please call your Family Advocate or the ECEC at 480-362-2200 (if no one answers, please leave a message with how to reach you and we'll return your call as soon as possible).

Have a safe and healthy week. 

Tami Brungard Ed.S
Early Childhood Education Leader
(480) 362-2202

Updated 3/24/20
I hope this message finds you and your family well. Although, we are not able to see you and your children daily, you are in our thoughts. This message is to let you know that on Friday, March 27, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., the ECEC will distribute special activity bags for our families to enjoy and learn from while school is closed. 


Additionally, ECEC teachers and staff have been working on-site and at home to support the program. You child’s teacher and family advocate will be reaching out to you weekly. Please let them know if there is anything you need; if we are unable to provide something, we will do our best to assist you in researching other supports.

You play such an important part in helping your families feel safe during this time. A great resource is Dr. Becky Bailey, founder of Conscious Discipline. Here is a great tip from a longer post on the Conscious Discipline website about how families can address COVID-19 (the coronavirus) together - click here to read more:

Now more than ever safety and active calming have become mission-critical for families everywhere. Regardless of how many years we've been developing our own social emotional toolset, it's difficult to help a child co-regulate when we feel anxious ourselves! It's important to remember:

  • Our calm increases children's calm.
  • You are the most important Safe Place for your child.
  • The brain requires safety and connection. Be intentional about cultivating both.
  • Create a "new normal” together using routines and play.
  • Provide helpful ways for children to contribute every day.
  • Consciously choose to see the best in others and circumstances.


Finally, I encourage you to follow the Salt River Schools Facebook page and our district website for the most updated information regarding COVID-19 and its impact on our schools. 

The best way to contact ECEC staff is by sending a message to their Salt River Schools email address. You can also call Barbara, Deborah, Sherilyn, or myself on our office phone lines and we can assist you with your questions. Together we will make the best of this new situation we find ourselves in - thank you for your continued patience and support.

Tami Brungard Ed.S
Early Childhood Education Leader
(480) 362-2202

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