Fall 2013 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Las Virgines Unified School District

Fall 2013 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Las Virgines Unified School District

As part of its work to connect voters and candidates, Arts for LA presents these Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys to promote dialogue around issues related to arts education and its benefits.

Survey responses provided by each candidate are for voter information purposes only. Arts for LA does not endorse candidates seeking office. We are committed to fostering respectful, nonpartisan dialogue about issues relating to arts and culture. For more information, please read about our mission and values or our FAQ.

All eligible candidates were contacted to participate in the survey. If you would like to submit new or revise existing responses, please contact Arts for LA at advocate@artsforla.org or 213-225-7580.

The California Alliance for Arts Education and LA2050 served as Regional Partners by promoting Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys throughout Los Angeles County.

Elections for Las Virgines Unified School District will be held on Tuesday, November 5.

3 seats are available in this election. Elections are at large; voters may vote for any of the eligible candidates in this election.

For more information on where to vote, visit the Los Angeles County Clerk/Registrar-Recorder’s Office website.

If a candidate has not yet responded, please click on the candidate's name below to invite the candidate via email to participate.

Candidate order: Mary Jo Ammon, Angela Cutbill,Dallas B. Lawrence, Ray Pearl, Lesli Stein

Question 1: Tell us about a meaningful experience you had with art (visual, dance, drama, music) while growing up?

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As a child of an Air Force officer, my family moved a lot during my childhood. In school there were two good ways to feel a part of something as a new student: sports and performing arts. Never the great athlete, I took a chance in 7th grade and got a role in a school play. That experience made me feel successful, proud and part of a team. Having the opportunity to work closely with fellow students made me feel like I belonged and took away those feelings of being an outsider. I gained some self-confidence through this play that sticks with me today.

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Question 2: What role do you think creativity can play in supporting key priorities of the district, such as reducing the dropout rate, closing the achievement gap, and preparing more students for college eligibility and/or meaningful careers?

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There is no educational approach that is perfect for every child. Part of being a successful student involves a desire to be in class every day, knowing it is a place to belong and thrive. I believe the creative aspects of the arts are a great way to engage the mind in a different way, build self-confidence and self-esteem and give some students a way to belong, learn and thrive. Furthermore, I believe that as we move toward the critical thinking emphasis of Common Core, those creative students who approach art with their own unique perspective can bring that creativity to academic subjects, as well. The skills learned in the arts are, I believe, directly transferable to the work place and certainly make a well-rounded candidate for college.

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Question 3: Your district has embarked on an initiative to restore meaningful sequential arts education into its core curriculum. What do you feel are the strengths and weaknesses of the plan?

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The biggest strength of the plan is the fact that children have arts in the classroom starting in kindergarten and going all the way through 12th grade. Art will become an innate part of our students' education, rather than something foreign and external. Our District also took a big leap forward with the recent addition of a Performing Arts Center to both of our high schools. These student-centered facilities create many more opportunities for our students to participate in the arts either on stage or behind the scenes. The weakness of our plan is that so much of the arts education in our District is funded directly by parents through local PFAs or PFCs, limiting the scope of what we can offer our students.

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Question 4: How can your district make your arts education plan and its progress on the plan more visible to parents and leaders in your community?

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We can continue to prioritize the arts in our classrooms and continue to publicize the work done by our students. As our District has already started, utilizing the Performing Arts Centers as community gathering places to see our students in action will continue to create a positive arts culture throughout the district. We can also involve our local governments and business community, creating a mutually beneficial relationship where their facilities can display our students' work. Ultimately, the focus on the arts will lead to culture change in our District. I believe that change is good for our students today and will help make more well-rounded leaders tomorrow. As the emphasis on the arts radiates from our school, we will see our community embracing our arts culture, which will be biggest proof of the power of an arts education.

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Question 5: In light of the new funding structure for school districts in the state (i.e. the Local Control Funding Formula), how do you see arts education aligning with the eight new priority areas?

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As I've already discussed, I see arts education as a major tool in both Student Engagement and Student Achievement, as well as a catalyst in Common Core integration. I've also stated that arts education can go far beyond enhancing School Climate. Parental Involvement is already a major component of our arts programs, both in providing man-hours of support and in fundraising. This will only increase as we move toward more localized decision making. The added flexibility the LCFF provides will allow for more community-wide goal setting and give the district the power to identify and fund priorities, As the state funding formula changes and as California institutes Common Core Standards, there remains a place for arts education. The arts can lead to a different way of learning that aligns well with the changes ahead for education in California.

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Fall 2013 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Lancaster School District

Fall 2013 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Lancaster School District

As part of its work to connect voters and candidates, Arts for LA presents these Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys to promote dialogue around issues related to arts education and its benefits.

Survey responses provided by each candidate are for voter information purposes only. Arts for LA does not endorse candidates seeking office. We are committed to fostering respectful, nonpartisan dialogue about issues relating to arts and culture. For more information, please read about our mission and values or our FAQ.

All eligible candidates were contacted to participate in the survey. If you would like to submit new or revise existing responses, please contact Arts for LA at advocate@artsforla.org or 213-225-7580.

Arts for LA thanks the Museum of Art & History for their partnership in collecting and distributing these survey results. The California Alliance for Arts Education and LA2050 served as Regional Partners by promoting Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys throughout Los Angeles County.

Elections for Lancaster School District will be held on Tuesday, November 5.

3 seats are available in this election. Elections are at large; voters may vote for any of the eligible candidates in this election.

For more information on where to vote, visit the Los Angeles County Clerk/Registrar-Recorder’s Office website.

If a candidate has not yet responded, please click on the candidate's name below to invite the candidate via email to participate.

Candidate order: William "Bill" Buck**, Keith Giles, Chris Grado, Diane V. Grooms, Sandy Price, John Michael Rosario

**Candidate has no email address available; contact the Los Angeles County Clerk/Registrar-Recorder's Office for contact info

Question 1: Tell us about a meaningful experience you had with art (visual, dance, drama, music) while growing up?

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Question 2: What role do you think creativity can play in supporting key priorities of the district, such as reducing the dropout rate, closing the achievement gap, and preparing more students for college eligibility and/or meaningful careers?

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Question 3: Your district has embarked on an initiative to restore meaningful sequential arts education into its core curriculum. What do you feel are the strengths and weaknesses of the plan?

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Question 4: How can your district make your arts education plan and its progress on the plan more visible to parents and leaders in your community?

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Question 5: In light of the new funding structure for school districts in the state (i.e. the Local Control Funding Formula), how do you see arts education aligning with the eight new priority areas?

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Fall 2013 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Hermosa Beach City School District

As part of its work to connect voters and candidates, Arts for LA presents these Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys to promote dialogue around issues related to arts education and its benefits.

Survey responses provided by each candidate are for voter information purposes only. Arts for LA does not endorse candidates seeking office. We are committed to fostering respectful, nonpartisan dialogue about issues relating to arts and culture. For more information, please read about our mission and values or our FAQ.

All eligible candidates were contacted to participate in the survey. If you would like to submit new or revise existing responses, please contact Arts for LA at advocate@artsforla.org or 213-225-7580.

The California Alliance for Arts Education and LA2050 served as Regional Partners by promoting Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys throughout Los Angeles County.

Elections for Hermosa Beach City School District will be held on Tuesday, November 5.

2 seats are available in this election. Elections are at large; voters may vote for any of the eligible candidates in this election.

For more information on where to vote, visit the Los Angeles County Clerk/Registrar-Recorder’s Office website.

If a candidate has not yet responded, please click on the candidate's name below to invite the candidate via email to participate.

Candidate order: Carleen R. Beste, Margaret Rose Bove-Lamonica, Jim Caldwell, Mary K. Campbell, Douglas T. Gneiser, Michael D. Goodhue, James Scott, Seth Weiss

Question 1: Tell us about a meaningful experience you had with art (visual, dance, drama, music) while growing up?

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My senior year of high school I participated in a capstone art class, and our teacher gave us keys to the lab, so we could come in and work on projects as our schedules permitted. Those keys were symbolic not only of the trust shown to us but also to in our ability to take ownership of our art and creativity.

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I grew up dancing ballet (and other dance forms) starting at age six and daily by the age of 12 through 21. Dancing and performing was my main identity all the way through my colleges years and, thus, provided me with multiple meaningful experiences - some of the most profound in my lifetime. Dance gave me discipline, physical and mental strength and acuity, confidence, artful self-expression, an appreciation for many forms of music, and an awareness of true beauty. I completely credit my deep dance experiences to the person I became.

My favorite school memories are associated with what schools now call "enrichment" experiences but we just called "chorus," "band," and "theater." I sang in or attended every concert and show in my public schools. Those classes were as much a part of the ordinary curriculum as English and Math class, and the performances were just as celebrated as competitive sports. Communities once understood that schools were important public forums for children (and their families) to grow in broader cultural experiences; we need to return to investing in those enrichment experiences.

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Question 2: What role do you think creativity can play in supporting key priorities of the district, such as reducing the dropout rate, closing the achievement gap, and preparing more students for college eligibility and/or meaningful careers?

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It is frustrating when parents, teachers, administrators see creative outlets as an either/or instead of a both/and opportunity for academic and personal growth and enrichment. Gardner's multiple intelligences theory demonstrates that there are many ways for people to engage with material and learn. Many of our students who are unsuccessful in traditional learning settings are some of our most creative - our curriculum and pedagogy must be adapted to meet students' needs.

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Fostering and nurturing creative capacity in developing children can have a profound impact on many areas of their lives. In balances out the heavy emphasis on left brain operations by accessing right brain functioning which leads to more optimal whole brain capacity and adeptness. This is not only helpful in optimizing academic achievement and student engagement, it can help to prepare students to ultimately succeed in an integrated world where abstract and complex thinking are increasingly needed and dominant. Finally, increasing creativity and play into the educational process contributes to more joyful, self-expressed, people who can be great local and global citizens.

Communities once understood that schools were important public forums for children (and their families) to grow in broader cultural experiences. We need to return to investing in those enrichment experiences. When asked about their favorite school experiences, very few people will eagerly recall their favorite English class or algebra lesson -- but they do energetically recall their enrichment classes and how they worked hard in school to retain their eligibility to perform. It is in those classes that students learn about themselves, and begin to select electives that define who they are as distinct from other classmates. The arts help us learn foreign languages and about different cultures as we see artwork and hear voices across history and geography.

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Question 3: Your district has embarked on an initiative to restore meaningful sequential arts education into its core curriculum. What do you feel are the strengths and weaknesses of the plan?

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Art curriculum is often perceived as being extraneous to common academic pursuits, so it is incumbent on school officials to emphasize the potential for integration into a common education experience. Art curriculum is just one lens a school can use to teach content and skills. For example academic skills, like research methods, can be directed towards an art field. Similarly, “the arts” are a multi-faceted field that can use science and math to analyze force and movement in dance, or the technology behind electronic arts. The weakness of an initiative is common misperception and costs associated with training stakeholders in the necessary pedagogy.

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I'm currently learning about the plan, but the strength is that they have one!

The California budget debacle has left few districts with the wherewithal to fully incorporate the arts back into the rightful places in our curriculum. So I support any initiative to start returning enrichment classes to our core curriculum, even if it is less than ideal.

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Question 4: How can your district make your arts education plan and its progress on the plan more visible to parents and leaders in your community?

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Engaging stakeholders in the progress and development of the school and it’s students is critical to showing the value of the arts in the education of the whole person. While the arts can be showcased on their own – through a performance or an exhibit – it is also important to demonstrate how they can be interwoven into everyday curriculum and schedules. To accomplish this habit, art work – like class work – must be displayed regularly and presented in portfolio format to parents and stakeholders like any other kind of expected school product.

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Ideas: Get local artists more involved in building a city mindset around the arts and their impact on healthy communities and individual citizens. Build programs that benefit all of the citizens so that there is a vibrant presence and essence of the arts and their impact on our individual and collective humanity.

HBCSD is such a small district that we are uniquely positioned to effectively publicize the re-integration of our arts programs. That said, our Administrators need to create time for public performances and displays in the regular educational schedule -- not just as after-school programs.

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Question 5: In light of the new funding structure for school districts in the state (i.e. the Local Control Funding Formula), how do you see arts education aligning with the eight new priority areas?

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The new LCFF permits more autonomy and accountability at the most local of school levels. This responsibility requires that there is stakeholder engagement and evaluation of spending plans - oversight will be monitored under the accountability plan. Because of this oversight, it is critical that school stakeholders make a strong case for arts education within the curriculum. The common core presents an opportunity to highlight arts because of its emphasis on creativity and critical thinking - areas that lend themselves well to art education and inquiry based learning.

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I did not have the time to research the funding priorities prior to the deadline for this survey, but my general thoughts are: - New common core curriculum standards are intended to help prepare students to be more capable to meet the demands of the current and future environment (creativity, collaboration, communication, critical thinking). Immersion in the arts can, arguably, be a positive impact on all of these priorities!

Under the current funding formula, HBCSD will never have sufficient funds to fully absorb arts education into our curriculum, as such. However, our School Board needs to make all enrichment activities, with arts education at the forefront, one of our highest priorities. Schools are just locations where teachers and students come together to create an educational experience, yet it is the arts that provide the ambient color and sound that make the experience so special.

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Fall 2013 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Hawthorne School District

Fall 2013 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Hawthorne School District

As part of its work to connect voters and candidates, Arts for LA presents these Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys to promote dialogue around issues related to arts education and its benefits.

Survey responses provided by each candidate are for voter information purposes only. Arts for LA does not endorse candidates seeking office. We are committed to fostering respectful, nonpartisan dialogue about issues relating to arts and culture. For more information, please read about our mission and values or our FAQ.

All eligible candidates were contacted to participate in the survey. If you would like to submit new or revise existing responses, please contact Arts for LA at advocate@artsforla.org or 213-225-7580.

Arts for LA thanks PS Arts for their partnership in collecting and distributing these survey results. The California Alliance for Arts Education and LA2050 served as Regional Partners by promoting Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys throughout Los Angeles County.

Elections for Hawthorne School District will be held on Tuesday, November 5.

3 seats are available in this election. Elections are at large; voters may vote for any of the eligible candidates in this election.

For more information on where to vote, visit the Los Angeles County Clerk/Registrar-Recorder’s Office website.

If a candidate has not yet responded, please click on the candidate's name below to invite the candidate via email to participate.

Candidate order: Luciano A. Aguilar, Yaquelin Amador, Eugene M. Krank, Patricia Ann McCorvey, Sergio R. Mortara

Question 1: Tell us about a meaningful experience you had with art (visual, dance, drama, music) while growing up?

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Growing up i was very involved in dance and drama. When I was 5 years old i was a member of a rhythm band. I had the opportunity to compete against other school bands, winning in multiple occasions , feeling proud and making my family proud as well. Even though school achievement was the most important participating in multiple art programs showed me character and discipline. Learned to be a team player and a leader at times. It was a great experience!!

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Question 2: What role do you think creativity can play in supporting key priorities of the district, such as reducing the dropout rate, closing the achievement gap, and preparing more students for college eligibility and/or meaningful careers?

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Creativity plays a key role in our schools and in our children's life. It develops a sense of belonging, exposing their ideas and being accepted with their multiple individualities and talents. Schools that offer their students a variety of art programs are more likely to keep them interested and willing to excel in the rest of school assignments. Creativity leaves important trades that will help our children to be successful in life.

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Question 3: Your district has embarked on an initiative to restore meaningful sequential arts education into its core curriculum. What do you feel are the strengths and weaknesses of the plan?

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Question 4: How can your district make your arts education plan and its progress on the plan more visible to parents and leaders in your community?

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Hawthorne School District has an excellent communication with parents and the community in general, we are always proud to show what our children are doing. We will like to continue doing so by always sending flyers or other information materials when there's a new art program available as well as any performance by our kids on or off campus. Parents respond very well to invitations to see their children shine and with that in mind we have made our schools very accessible.

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Question 5: In light of the new funding structure for school districts in the state (i.e. the Local Control Funding Formula), how do you see arts education aligning with the eight new priority areas?

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Fall 2013 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Hacienda La Puente Unified School District

Fall 2013 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Hacienda La Puente Unified School District

As part of its work to connect voters and candidates, Arts for LA presents these Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys to promote dialogue around issues related to arts education and its benefits.

Survey responses provided by each candidate are for voter information purposes only. Arts for LA does not endorse candidates seeking office. We are committed to fostering respectful, nonpartisan dialogue about issues relating to arts and culture. For more information, please read about our mission and values or our FAQ.

All eligible candidates were contacted to participate in the survey. If you would like to submit new or revise existing responses, please contact Arts for LA at advocate@artsforla.org or 213-225-7580.

Arts for LA thanks the Nuvein Foundation for their partnership in collecting and distributing these survey results. The California Alliance for Arts Education and LA2050 served as Regional Partners by promoting Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys throughout Los Angeles County.

Elections for Hacienda La Puente Unified School District will be held on Tuesday, November 5.

3 seats are available in this election. Elections are at large; voters may vote for any of the eligible candidates in this election.

For more information on where to vote, visit the Los Angeles County Clerk/Registrar-Recorder’s Office website.

If a candidate has not yet responded, please click on the candidate's name below to invite the candidate via email to participate.

Candidate order: Joseph K. Chang, Bryan Coreas, Jeffrey de la Torre**, G. Anthony Duarte, Penny Fraumeni**, Henry E. Gonzales

**Candidate has no email address available; contact the Los Angeles County Clerk/Registrar-Recorder's Office for contact info

Question 1: Tell us about a meaningful experience you had with art (visual, dance, drama, music) while growing up?

This candidate has not yet responded.

There are many meaningful experiences I’ve had with art growing up that have shaped my life and continue to inform my creativity. One of the more recent experiences in the arts involved mentoring a class of first-time middle school actors as they examined and helped shape an adaptation of Shakespeare’s As You Like It. As part of a group of mentors who were also first-time actors, I would encourage students to step up on the stage and share their personal narrative through thought-provoking workshops. They helped me understand how uplifting it feels to be in the presence of people who motivate you to try your best. Both groups learned that theatre is challenging for anyone regardless of their age level. I felt proud to share a stage and to rejoice in the applause of a job well done.

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Question 2: What role do you think creativity can play in supporting key priorities of the district, such as reducing the dropout rate, closing the achievement gap, and preparing more students for college eligibility and/or meaningful careers?

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As a district we need to acknowledge the full spectrum of our students’ talents. Allowing for creativity and self-expression in and out of the classroom provides an arena for our students to harness an in-depth personal connection to education that steers clear from the stereotypical monotone reactions to learning. We need to provide many opportunities for our students to find their inspiration, to imagine the possibilities and the power they have to transform their peers and their community.

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Question 3: Your district has embarked on an initiative to restore meaningful sequential arts education into its core curriculum. What do you feel are the strengths and weaknesses of the plan?

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One of the strengths of our plan is that we began by recruiting volunteers from within the faculty and staff, allowing them to use their experience in the arts and in working with our students to shape district goals. Some of the areas for improvement are specifying the stakeholders. Identifying the groups as accurately as possible assures that we target each of our diverse audience members. Likewise the lack of a timeline means that we may never see this plan completed. Finally, establishing the program from a student-initiated level versus a top-down approach would be a great tactic to our VAPA plan. To foster creativity, we have to ensure that our students support the plan and its goals well before they are implemented. Incentivizing the art program by incorporating their suggestions from the start allows for ownership of their education. When students feel their voice is heard in education, they are more likely to succeed.

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Question 4: How can your district make your arts education plan and its progress on the plan more visible to parents and leaders in your community?

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A great step to gain visibility of VAPA plans would be to have an agenda of all on-going projects and initiatives, with relevant documents accessible via the web to be reviewed at the board meeting, with deadlines on reporting updates. Another step would be to reduce the use of stock photos on district media and instead showcase students working on their VAPA activities, sponsoring competitions and recognizing student effort in this stead. However, the most effective way to make our arts plan visible is to advocate for it as a board member personally with parents, students and other stakeholders as we make visits to school sites and conferences.

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Question 5: In light of the new funding structure for school districts in the state (i.e. the Local Control Funding Formula), how do you see arts education aligning with the eight new priority areas?

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We know that arts education benefits low-income, English learner and foster youth students –all key beneficiaries of the local control funding formula. This makes for an exciting opportunity to place arts education as a primary tool for student progress, as an avenue for student involvement and creative expression. There is no doubt that when students feel like they are acknowledged as stakeholders in their own education and feel empowered to make changes, success is inevitable as they discover their own personal drive to triumph.

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Fall 2013 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Culver City Unified School District

Fall 2013 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Culver City Unified School District

As part of its work to connect voters and candidates, Arts for LA presents these Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys to promote dialogue around issues related to arts education and its benefits.

Survey responses provided by each candidate are for voter information purposes only. Arts for LA does not endorse candidates seeking office. We are committed to fostering respectful, nonpartisan dialogue about issues relating to arts and culture. For more information, please read about our mission and values or our FAQ.

All eligible candidates were contacted to participate in the survey. If you would like to submit new or revise existing responses, please contact Arts for LA at advocate@artsforla.org or 213-225-7580.

The California Alliance for Arts Education and LA2050 served as Regional Partners by promoting Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys throughout Los Angeles County.

Elections for Culver City Unified School District will be held on Tuesday, November 5.

3 seats are available in this election. Elections are at large; voters may vote for any of the eligible candidates in this election.

For more information on where to vote, visit the Los Angeles County Clerk/Registrar-Recorder’s Office website.

If a candidate has not yet responded, please click on the candidate's name below to invite the candidate via email to participate.

Candidate order: Steven Mark Levin, Kathy Paspalis, Susanne Robins, Karlo Silbiger, Vernon L. Taylor, Claudia Vizcarra, Robert Zirgulis

Question 1: Tell us about a meaningful experience you had with art (visual, dance, drama, music) while growing up?

I vividly remember learning about the city of Guernica in Spain, and the massacre that happened there, by coming across a print of Picasso's famous painting of the same name. Because the painting made an emotional connection, I learned about the history with a deeper understanding and a sense of meaning that I would have missed if I had simply read about it in a textbook.

Growing up, I participated in music and theater programs. I had flute and piano lessons; flute through my public school and piano through private lessons, and I also sang in various choirs throughout my public education years. I participated in theater in elementary school, and also in high school. I carry those experiences and fond memories with me today.

I would like to share two. First, I studied ballet, tap and jazz for over ten years as a child and through that experience learned the value of physical expression of emotion to myself as well as others. I also learned much about cooperation and teamwork. My second meaningful experience was learning to sew. I used sewing as a creative outlet for many years and saw it as a creative means of solving problems (repairs, creating something unique but functional), expressing my own style and being independent.

I first picked up a musical instrument at age 2 and began taking lessons at age 3. Because music was cut in the Culver City Elementary Schools when I was in 3rd grade, my first real experience with group music instruction was at Culver City Middle School. My band teacher saw that I had natural musical ability, so he asked me to play in the marching band at football games and in the high school musical when I was just in 6th grade. I gained confidence in my ability and it ended up leading to a college degree in music education and a career teaching music.

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I loved music class in kindergarten. I loved singing with the rest of children, as our teacher played the piano. In later years, I kept trying to get that feeling back. Every year I tried out for the choir. And every year, I failed. Then, after years of frustrating piano classes, I starting concluding, that sadly, I didn’t have a ‘good ear’. Then in 5th grade I won the school wide contest for music appreciation, after recognizing the first few notes of “Morning’ by Edvard Grieg. Together, these experiences form the basis for my commitment to full access to arts education.

I took an Art History course in UCLA and was inspired to travel around the world to see great works of art I had seen pictures of. I learned to appreciate the works and communication the artists from all those periods were trying to convey.

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Question 2: What role do you think creativity can play in supporting key priorities of the district, such as reducing the dropout rate, closing the achievement gap, and preparing more students for college eligibility and/or meaningful careers?

When students are engaged, they are more successful, and when they are successful, they are more engaged. When a student succeeds in art, and feels empowered, that carries over to greater success in other areas. Similarly, when art is incorporated into the classroom, it engages the students and broadens their perspective.

Creativity and the arts keep kids’ minds engaged and attentive. Therefore the creative arts are a critical component in supporting CCUSD’s key priorities, including but not limited to preparing all our student for their world after high school, closing the achievement, and reducing the dropout rate. It’s about keeping kids engaged, and we strive to do that in CCUSD as an original Arts for All District.

Creativity allows students who are having difficulty connecting with the content find their own path to understanding, connecting and relevance. I found as a teacher, that by allowing students to pursue and present their understandings in their own way, they were considerably more engaged, had a greater depth of understanding and were more able to make connections to other content areas or pre-existing knowledge. When students are more engaged, can see the relevance to the content from their own unique perspective, they learn more and perform better academically.

Our superintendent likes to call it a "plus." Music, art, dance, athletics, drama, film, all provide students with a reason to come to school. It prepares students for the types of skills that they will need to be successful in college and the workforce, and it helps us to build a generation of creative thoughtful people who will support the arts and culture for years to come.

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Research has been conclusive in showing that students, especially low income students, who have a history of in depth arts involvement earn better grades and demonstrate higher rates of college enrollment. The evidence also shows that sequential standards based education increases test scores in every subject area, lower drop out rates and closes achievement gaps for students from low income families and for students of color. Additionally, access to arts education can prepare students for jobs in the creative economy that prevail in the Los Angeles region. Supporting investments to strengthen our arts program will be my priority if elected.

I think we need to have more field trips to art museums and expose children to the arts an early age so they can understand what they are seeing.

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Question 3: Your district has embarked on an initiative to restore meaningful sequential arts education into its core curriculum. What do you feel are the strengths and weaknesses of the plan?

We are making good progress at bringing the arts into our schools. As leader of the booster club at Farragut, I helped raise money for art and music in the classroom, and for the artist in residence at Farragut, whose contract is funded by the booster club. CCUSD has done a lot at the district level, for example with Symphonic Jazz Orchestra, but there is much more we could do. When incorporated into the classroom (such as the Drama Education Network program, which teaches language arts and other subjects through drama), we can combine art with other subjects, enriching both.

The strengths of the plan are its longevity, the commitment of the District to it, and the results we see in the children who actively participate in the programs connected with it. The weaknesses are, as with almost everything in this weak economy (and especially at the height of the recession just a few years ago), funding and sufficient staffing.

Just as one needs to learn the strokes to learn to swim and one needs to learn to write letters to write paragraphs, students need to learn the basics of arts skills to effectively utilize them in expressing their understandings and emotions. Sequential arts education is important just as sequential core content area education in terms of being able to produce and appreciate various art forms. The only weakness is the potential of treating art as a separate content area from other subjects, it should be an integral part of all learning. This is because its an extremely effective means of differentiating learning in the classroom.

It allows us to better connect the arts with the rest of the curriculum and introduce teachers in a variety of subject-matters to the power of teaching with the arts in their classrooms. However, it is an optional training / program, so while some teachers are incorporating it into their daily lesson planning, others are not. The arts can never be an extra, they must be an essential part of the curriculum.

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The existing plan, and policy, both created in 2004, are a good start. The investments the District has made lately, especially as a result of the funding that Measure EE, the Education Foundation, the Music Center and the Centre Theatre Group, and our local partners such as Sony - have also been significant. Still and all, it’s unclear to me whether there has been adequate data collection to determine if the programming is reaching all students, what the gaps might be, and what kind of investments are necessary to address them.

The district needs to do more work.

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Question 4: How can your district make your arts education plan and its progress on the plan more visible to parents and leaders in your community?

As in many other areas, CCUSD needs to reach out to the community more. Rather than waiting for people to come to us with ideas and offers to volunteer, we need to go out in the community and ask people how they would like to help. That should include public workshops on art education, the benefits and challenges, and an open discussion of what we're doing and what we could be doing.

Publicity and 'marketing' efforts, via Culver Currents online and in print, the CCUSD website, and other outlets in the Culver City community help spread the word regarding the arts in CCUSD. Communication via students to parents, friends and neighbors helps as well. Inviting the community, and/or having music performances and art installations, etc. accessible and in public spaces can help make the arts education plan and its progress more visible as well.

First would be to post the full arts education plan on the district website for all to see. Second would be to offer arts education forums at the schools to provide information and receive feedback from the community. Second, each school should have a means of showing the community the arts education products from that school which could be in the form of school art shows, highly visible exhibit areas with monthly themes and family arts nights. Finally, an annual arts education report which would be both printed and online would allow families to learn about what has been done, what is in the works and how they might participate.

Include it in board action. During my 4 years on the board, we have only addressed the arts 3 times. First to cut our music program by 25% (where I was the only board member to vote against it). Second to pass a district-wide k-12 music curriculum (at my insistence). And third, to bring back a music teacher as part of an expanded program and vision that I spearheaded with the superintendent. However, if we want the entire plan to gain more exposure, then the board has to highlight it on a more regular basis. We need to take action, setting policy that promotes the arts.

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I'd like to see a district wide, but centralized Back to School, or Open House, to showcase our arts education programs. I feel that not only would such an event familiarize parents and community members with the many benefits of arts education, but it would create the space for showing progress, not only in the various delivery models, but in the increased access to all student populations. Such an event, could also showcase our other creative endeavors: language and science programs. And it would be a lot of fun!

We need to communicate with the parents and get their support for the arts programs.

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Question 5: In light of the new funding structure for school districts in the state (i.e. the Local Control Funding Formula), how do you see arts education aligning with the eight new priority areas?

The eight priority areas (achievement, engagement, school climate, basic services, common core standards, course access, parental involvement, other student outcomes) are inextricably intertwined. Improvement in any one of these areas affects the others. Art can be a wonderful way to improve engagement and achievement, promote a positive climate of learning, and engage parents and the larger community. The key is to make it an integral part of the school culture, not a separate, isolated activity.

I do not think that the Local Control Funding Formula changes our focus and priorities in CCUSD. We are student centered, and 'whole child' focused. Providing kids with hands-on access and exposure to the creative arts is key to a well-rounded education and a well-rounded person. That means that we will continue to integrate the arts into our classrooms from K-12, and work to continue to bolster our programs that are independent of arts integration efforts, as best we can with the funding provided to us.

The LCFF will benefit CCUSD in that a little more funding for our target populations will be available. Arts education offers an excellent set of media for working with the targeted youth populations by providing alternative means of self expression and a humanistic approach to helping those who struggle. I recommend using the additional funds for professional development for a selection of Culver City teachers to learn a variety of means of integrating arts into core content education which they would bring back and share with the other teachers. I would also like to add art/music and dance therapy to our offerings for students in the target populations.

In our district, the LCFF will provide us with more funding to educate those populations in need of more support. It will also provide the board with some flexibility in how we spend our money. Both are positive developments that should help us to better prioritize money to our arts programs.

This candidate has not yet responded.

Arts education fits right into at least 5 of the 8 priorities defined by the Local Control Funding Formula guidelines. As mentioned earlier, there is ample proof of improved student achievement, student engagement and school climate. A robust arts education program is essential for the development of 21st century skills: critical thinking, collaboration skills, and creativity, that are central to Common Core Standards. Arts education is also key for parental involvement, because arts projects remove many of the barriers that often impede parents from participating, such as language. And as importantly, it allows for the expression of culture for immigrant families.

Without arts you have no soul.

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Fall 2013 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Compton Unified School District

Fall 2013 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Compton Unified School District

As part of its work to connect voters and candidates, Arts for LA presents these Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys to promote dialogue around issues related to arts education and its benefits.

Survey responses provided by each candidate are for voter information purposes only. Arts for LA does not endorse candidates seeking office. We are committed to fostering respectful, nonpartisan dialogue about issues relating to arts and culture. For more information, please read about our mission and values or our FAQ.

All eligible candidates were contacted to participate in the survey. If you would like to submit new or revise existing responses, please contact Arts for LA at advocate@artsforla.org or 213-225-7580.

The California Alliance for Arts Education and LA2050 served as Regional Partners by promoting Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys throughout Los Angeles County.

Elections for Compton Unified School District will be held on Tuesday, November 5.

4 seats are available in this election. Elections are at large; voters may vote for any of the eligible candidates in this election.

For more information on where to vote, visit the Los Angeles County Clerk/Registrar-Recorder’s Office website.

If a candidate has not yet responded, please click on the candidate's name below to invite the candidate via email to participate.

Candidate order: Carlos Acevedo**, Carol Ann Bradley, Tomas Carlos, Charles Davis, Cierra Amber Evans, Margie N. Garrett, William T. Kemp, Joseph L. Lewis, Yolanda Hernandez Lopez**, Francisco Javier Orozco, Stephany A. Ortega**, Diana Padilla, Mae Thomas, Satra D. Zurita

**Candidate has no email address available; contact the Los Angeles County Clerk/Registrar-Recorder's Office for contact info

Question 1: Tell us about a meaningful experience you had with art (visual, dance, drama, music) while growing up?

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Question 2: What role do you think creativity can play in supporting key priorities of the district, such as reducing the dropout rate, closing the achievement gap, and preparing more students for college eligibility and/or meaningful careers?

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Question 3: Your district has embarked on an initiative to restore meaningful sequential arts education into its core curriculum. What do you feel are the strengths and weaknesses of the plan?

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Question 4: How can your district make your arts education plan and its progress on the plan more visible to parents and leaders in your community?

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Question 5: In light of the new funding structure for school districts in the state (i.e. the Local Control Funding Formula), how do you see arts education aligning with the eight new priority areas?

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Fall 2013 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Claremont Unified School District

Fall 2013 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Claremont Unified School District

As part of its work to connect voters and candidates, Arts for LA presents these Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys to promote dialogue around issues related to arts education and its benefits.

Survey responses provided by each candidate are for voter information purposes only. Arts for LA does not endorse candidates seeking office. We are committed to fostering respectful, nonpartisan dialogue about issues relating to arts and culture. For more information, please read about our mission and values or our FAQ.

All eligible candidates were contacted to participate in the survey. If you would like to submit new or revise existing responses, please contact Arts for LA at advocate@artsforla.org or 213-225-7580.

The California Alliance for Arts Education and LA2050 served as Regional Partners by promoting Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys throughout Los Angeles County.

Elections for Claremont Unified School District will be held on Tuesday, November 5.

3 seats are available in this election. Elections are at large; voters may vote for any of the eligible candidates in this election.

For more information on where to vote, visit the Los Angeles County Clerk/Registrar-Recorder’s Office website.

If a candidate has not yet responded, please click on the candidate's name below to invite the candidate via email to participate.

Candidate order: Steven Michael Llanusa, David Nemer, Nancy Treser Osgood, Joseph Salas, Paul A. Steffen

Question 1: Tell us about a meaningful experience you had with art (visual, dance, drama, music) while growing up?

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My mother was a professional actress and went on to teach speech at Rio Hondo College. My father was a professional director and then taught theatre at Whittier College. I grew up in the theatre, and my earliest memory is watching my mother perform in Death of a Salesman when I was only three years old. I was surrounded by creativity when students would come to our home to practice their speeches and refine their performances. I developed a deep appreciation for artistic creativity.

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Question 2: What role do you think creativity can play in supporting key priorities of the district, such as reducing the dropout rate, closing the achievement gap, and preparing more students for college eligibility and/or meaningful careers?

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One of the Claremont Unified School District goals is educating the “whole child.” Through my volunteer work on the Claremont Educational Foundation Board of Directors we have focused on raising support from community members and local businesses to support art and music education in our elementary schools. For the past three years we have donated $200,000 in support of those programs, at a time when neighboring districts are slashing art and music education.

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Question 3: Your district has embarked on an initiative to restore meaningful sequential arts education into its core curriculum. What do you feel are the strengths and weaknesses of the plan?

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Through my volunteer work on the Claremont Educational Foundation (CEF) http://www.claremonteducationalfoundation.org/board-members/ we have raised over $200,000 per year over the last three years to support art and music education in our Claremont elementary schools. Each principal submits a funding request to the CEF Board, and we work collaboratively with those principals to support the art and music education programs requested at each school site. A part of the mission of the Claremont Unified School District is to support the “whole child” and our community donates to CEF to protect that core value.

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Question 4: How can your district make your arts education plan and its progress on the plan more visible to parents and leaders in your community?

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Through CEF we have been very intentional about sharing the work of our students with the larger community. We educate our donors about the impact of their gifts. We have featured the arts education program at Danbury Elementary School (which serves orthopedically challenged students) in our newsletter. Our community just completed a theatre renovation project at Claremont High School. As Board members we can continue to advocate for the importance of arts education in our schools.

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Question 5: In light of the new funding structure for school districts in the state (i.e. the Local Control Funding Formula), how do you see arts education aligning with the eight new priority areas?

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Arts education will impact several of the priority areas in the new Local Control and Accountability Plan. In Student Achievement our curriculum will help prepare our students for college and careers. Student Outcomes will be impacted by preserving a variety of art, music, and theatrical courses (including AP and IB classes). Parental Involvement can support arts education (as evidenced by CEF donations). Through Course Access we can continue to offer the A-G classes to prepare our students for our UC and CSU higher education.

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Fall 2013 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Beverly Hills Unified School District

Fall 2013 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Beverly Hills Unified School District

As part of its work to connect voters and candidates, Arts for LA presents these Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys to promote dialogue around issues related to arts education and its benefits.

Survey responses provided by each candidate are for voter information purposes only. Arts for LA does not endorse candidates seeking office. We are committed to fostering respectful, nonpartisan dialogue about issues relating to arts and culture. For more information, please read about our mission and values or our FAQ.

All eligible candidates were contacted to participate in the survey. If you would like to submit new or revise existing responses, please contact Arts for LA at advocate@artsforla.org or 213-225-7580.

The California Alliance for Arts Education and LA2050 served as Regional Partners by promoting Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys throughout Los Angeles County.

Elections for Beverly Hills Unified School District will be held on Tuesday, November 5.

2 seats are available in this election. Elections are at large; voters may vote for any of the eligible candidates in this election.

For more information on where to vote, visit the Los Angeles County Clerk/Registrar-Recorder’s Office website.

If a candidate has not yet responded, please click on the candidate's name below to invite the candidate via email to participate.

Candidate order: John P. Dohm, James Fabe, Howard Goldstein, Lisa Korbatov

Question 1: Tell us about a meaningful experience you had with art (visual, dance, drama, music) while growing up?

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Question 2: What role do you think creativity can play in supporting key priorities of the district, such as reducing the dropout rate, closing the achievement gap, and preparing more students for college eligibility and/or meaningful careers?

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Question 3: Your district has embarked on an initiative to restore meaningful sequential arts education into its core curriculum. What do you feel are the strengths and weaknesses of the plan?

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Question 4: How can your district make your arts education plan and its progress on the plan more visible to parents and leaders in your community?

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Question 5: In light of the new funding structure for school districts in the state (i.e. the Local Control Funding Formula), how do you see arts education aligning with the eight new priority areas?

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Fall 2013 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Bassett Unified School District

Fall 2013 Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys: Bassett Unified School District

As part of its work to connect voters and candidates, Arts for LA presents these Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys to promote dialogue around issues related to arts education and its benefits.

Survey responses provided by each candidate are for voter information purposes only. Arts for LA does not endorse candidates seeking office. We are committed to fostering respectful, nonpartisan dialogue about issues relating to arts and culture. For more information, please read about our mission and values or our FAQ.

All eligible candidates were contacted to participate in the survey. If you would like to submit new or revise existing responses, please contact Arts for LA at advocate@artsforla.org or 213-225-7580.

Arts for LA thanks the Nuvein Foundation for their partnership in collecting and distributing these survey results. The California Alliance for Arts Education and LA2050 served as Regional Partners by promoting Arts & Culture Candidate Surveys throughout Los Angeles County.

Elections for Bassett Unified School District will be held on Tuesday, November 5.

3 seats are available in this election. Elections are at large; voters may vote for any of the eligible candidates in this election.

For more information on where to vote, visit the Los Angeles County Clerk/Registrar-Recorder’s Office website.

If a candidate has not yet responded, please click on the candidate's name below to invite the candidate via email to participate.

Candidate order: Maria Arreola, Renee "Lucy" Chavez**, Victoria A. Medina, Dolores Rivera, Javier Romo, Art Sandoval, Paul Solano

**Candidate has no email address available; contact the Los Angeles County Clerk/Registrar-Recorder's Office for contact info

Question 1: Tell us about a meaningful experience you had with art (visual, dance, drama, music) while growing up?

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Question 2: What role do you think creativity can play in supporting key priorities of the district, such as reducing the dropout rate, closing the achievement gap, and preparing more students for college eligibility and/or meaningful careers?

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Question 3: Your district has embarked on an initiative to restore meaningful sequential arts education into its core curriculum. What do you feel are the strengths and weaknesses of the plan?

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Question 4: How can your district make your arts education plan and its progress on the plan more visible to parents and leaders in your community?

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Question 5: In light of the new funding structure for school districts in the state (i.e. the Local Control Funding Formula), how do you see arts education aligning with the eight new priority areas?

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