Volume 1 , Number 2January 29, 2009


National and State Recognition

Gwinnett's TOTY wins national kudos as sponsor
The National Art Education Association (NAEA) has selected Aimée Burgamy of Trickum MS as the recipient of the 2009 Outstanding Junior Art Honor Society Sponsor Award. She earned this honor at the state level earlier this fall, before her selection as the national winner.

Ms. Burgamy, Gwinnett County's 2009 Teacher of the Year, teaches fine arts and sponsors Trickum MS' National Junior Art Honor Society (NJAHS). She co-sponsors the school's Art Club with Trickum teachers Moana King and Betsy Marinacci.

“I believe that Aimée was selected for recognition by the NAEA because her colleagues at the state and national levels recognize her exceptional talent for inspiring and motivating those students who have shown an outstanding ability in art,” says Robert E. Andrews, GCPS' director of Fine Arts. “She is constantly challenging the members of the Trickum MS National Junior Art Honor Society to work on attaining their highest potential in an art area and helping them to further their creative abilities and talents.”

Click here to read more about the national honor and here to learn more about NJAHS and the Art Club at Trickum MS.
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GCPS' Jahner named top supervisor in foreign language
David Jahner, GCPS' director for Foreign Language, was named the Prentice Hall National Foreign Language Supervisor of the Year by the National Association of District Supervisors of Foreign Languages (NADSFL).

Mr. Jahner served as the organization’s president from 2004 to 2006 and described his tenure in the office as one of the highlights of his career to date.

Described by a NADSFL colleague as “a professional who faces every challenge with enthusiasm, poise, and with his secret ingredient— humor,” Mr. Jahner began his career with GCPS as a German teacher at Brookwood HS in 1992. He became the system’s director of foreign language in 1999.

“Being part of NADSFL has made me a better leader and the connections I've established through this organization are invaluable,” Mr. Jahner says. “I am instantly connected to people all over the country who do the same type of work that I do. Having the opportunity to interact with national leaders in the language education profession means I can pick up the telephone and talk to them when a particular issue comes up and also share successes and challenges.”

According to Mr. Jahner, GCPS' foreign language program serves close to a third of the school system's students.
    • Approximately 26,100 students at the HS level— 17,000 in Spanish; 4,800 in French; 2,300 in Latin; 1,800 in German; and 200 in Mandarin Chinese;
    • 10,000 students at the MS level— 7,000 in Connections courses and 3,000 in year-long courses; and
    • 8,000 students in ES programs.

“We have 5,800 students in Levels 3 and above, meaning we are seeing more students going beyond the common two years of foreign language study," he says. "AP numbers are increasing annually as well. There is compelling research that indicates the study of other languages increases analytic and higher-order thinking skills, as well as benefiting a student's understanding of English. As a society, we simply must acknowledge the need to produce citizens who are proficient in more than one language.”

Click here to learn more about GCPS' Foreign Language department and here to learn more about NADSFL.
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Three Gwinnett staff members graduate from
National Staff Development Academy

Nancy Caudell-Trammell of Lanier MS, Lisa Newhouse of Walnut Grove ES, andPaula Everett-Truppi of J.P. McConnell MS are recent graduates of the National Staff Development Council’s Academy for Staff Developers, a prestigious learning experience aimed at improving the quality of teaching and learning in all schools. These educators began their work in July 2006.

"During our two-and-a-half years with the Academy, I was able to increase my knowledge and skills with regard to developing as a leader of a truly trusting and collaborative team," says Ms. Caudell-Trammell. "The introspection required to really know myself as a leader had the greatest impact on me. Though often difficult, I believe that this self-awareness is key to any leader's ability to build on strengths and grow and develop in areas of weakness."

The National Staff Development Council’s purpose is to ensure that every educator engages in effective professional learning every day so every student achieves. Ms. Everett-Truppi's love of staff development allowed her the opportunity to fully engage in her Academy experience. "The Academy equipped me with the tools to make adult learning a key tool in increasing student achievement," she says.
Ms. Newhouse agrees and is facilitating a "Partners in Teaching and Learning" cohort at her school.
"Continuous improvement takes place with continuous learning," she says. "It is critical for educators to continue their own learning in order to provide the best education for students. The key to student engagement is educator engagement."

For more information about the Academy, click here to visit NSDC’s web site.
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Gwinnett educators achieve National Board Certification
Gary Burrell of North Gwinnett HS, Kameron Pence of Collins Hill HS, Marlene Reilly of Centerville ES, and Carol H. Williams of Summerour MS have achieved National Board Certification through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS).

"These educators have taken an incredible step toward enhancing the quality of their instruction in the classroom," says Nikki Mouton, GCPS' executive director of Staff Development. "It is no small task to pursue National Board Certification, and we applaud each of these professionals in reaffirming their commitment to the highest ideals of teaching and learning."

Of the 9,602 teachers certified this year, 43 were based in Georgia. The state now has more than 2,500 Board-certified teachers and Gwinnett has more than 250 teachers with the national credentials.

Note: Teachers who began the process in another school system or under another name are not included in the NBPTS list for 2008. Please send a note to the Spotlight mailbox for recognition in the next edition. For more information about the certification process, click here to visit the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards’ web site.
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Two GCPS counselors named top 10 finalists
for National Counselor of the Year award

Margaret Cheeley of Collins Hill HS and Karen Griffith of Berkeley Lake ES will be honored at a Washington, D.C., gala later this month as finalists for the American School Counselor Association's National School Counselor of the Year Award.

“Karen Griffith and Margaret Cheeley are most deserving to be named in the top 10 finalists for ASCA's Counselor of the Year Award,” says Dianne Thompson, GCPS' director of Advisement and Counseling. “The students, parents, and faculties with whom they work are blessed to have such caring, creative, and energetic counselors. It is extremely unusual for a district to have more than one finalist. Not only are we the first to have two finalists— they were chosen from hundreds of applicants nationwide.”

Ms. Thompson adds, “Margaret and Karen truly ‘walk the walk’ of a counselor. They believe in our students’ resiliency and their ability to overcome whatever barriers lie between them and their future goals. They are solution-focused and share their expertise through consultations with colleagues and presentations at local, state, and national conferences. Gwinnett is fortunate to have such visionary counselors.”

Both counselors have been honored as state winners in the past. The finalists will attend congressional briefings during their visit to the Capitol.

Click here to learn more about these outstanding counselors.
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Quality-Plus Leader Academy welcomes
28 aspiring principals to Class of 2009

Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) recently announced the Class of 2009 for the Quality-Plus Leader Academy (QPLA) Aspiring Principal Program. This GCPS initiative, supported by a Broad Foundation grant, trains and develops future school principals during the 12-month program. The 28 assistant principals in the Academy’s third cohort were selected through a rigorous screening process.

“The Quality-Plus Leader Academy Aspiring Principal Program prepares GCPS leaders to lead 21st century schools and positively impact student achievement through a comprehensive leadership program,” says Dr. Glenn Pethel, GCPS' executive director of Leadership Development.

Once each month, academy members receive nine hours of instruction led by system leaders. Quality-Plus Leader Academy members also participate in Performance-Based Teams and a required residency program which affords the aspiring principals the opportunity to spend three 20-day periods working with a current school principal.

Class of 2009 - Cohort III
Lynne Best of Duluth MS
Mark McCain of Duluth MS
*Amy Bryan of Riverside ES
Kelly McConnachie of Norcross ES
Dr. Horace Buckley of Dacula MS
Kim McDermon of Norcross ES
Loretta Denmark of Nesbit ES
James Parris of Peachtree Ridge HS
Dr. Debbie Durrence
of Peachtree Ridge HS
Ricardo Quinn of G. H. Hopkins ES
Jennifer Fero
of Maxwell HS of Technology
Kim Reed of Freeman's Mill ES
Chris Godfrey of Patrick ES
Myrlaine Salter of Shiloh HS
Reuben Gresham of North Gwinnett HS
Eric Thigpen of South Gwinnett HS
Jeff Hall of Brookwood HS
Pamela Valrie of Lilburn MS
Todd Hamilton of Pinckneyville MS
Dr. Melissa Walker of J.E. Richards MS
Sheri Hopson of Parkview HS
Tommy Welch of Meadowcreek HS
Lisa Marie Johnson of Berkeley Lake ES
*Christina Wimmer of Parsons ES
Clayborn Knight of Margaret Winn Holt ES
Dr. Chandra Young of Susan Stripling ES
Lamont Mays of Frank N. Osborne MS
Dr. Michael Zinn of Pinckneyville MS
*Ms. Wimmer has been named the principal for Rebecca Minor ES for 2009-10 and Ms. Bryan will lead Sycamore ES.

Click here to read more.
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Communication efforts recognized with state awards
GCPS was a big winner in the 2008 Publication, Photography, and Electronic Media Contest of the Georgia School Public Relations Association (GSPRA), receiving three Best in Category Awards, eight Gold Awards, two Silver Awards, and one Bronze Award.

Every GCPS entry earned recognition at some level. The entries were produced by staff in GCPS' Communication and Media Relations Department, unless otherwise noted, in support of initiatives for other departments.

Department staff working on winning entries include Sloan Roach, executive director of Communication and Media Relations; Laura Nurse, director of Publications and Public Information, Martha Dyer, graphic design and production specialist; and Kondria Woods, editorial specialist.

2008 Publication, Photography, and Electronic Media Contest awards
Entry
Award(s) received
2008-09 New Teacher Handbook (produced for Staff Development)
Gold in Handbook Category and Best in Category Award
Gold in Special Purpose Publication Category and Best in Category Award
"Starfleet Institute" article
(Spring 2008 Communiqué)
Gold in Excellence in Writing Category and Best in Category Award
2008-09 New Administrators Folder (produced for Leadership Development)
Gold in Special Purpose Publication Category
2008-09 Choice Book
(produced for Teaching and Learning)
Gold in Special Purpose Publication Category
2008-09 Employee Calendar
Gold in Calendar Category
"Green GCPS" article
(Fall 2007 Communiqué)
Gold in Excellence in Writing Category
GCPS eNews
(Subscription community newsletter)
Gold in Electronic Communication Category
Communiqué Connection (related online resources, companion to Communiqué)
Silver in Electronic Communication Category
Back to School 2007
(GCPS TV production with CMR support)
Silver in Audio-Visual Category
Berkeley Lake ES International Festival (photo taken by school staff, used on GCPS web site)
Bronze in Photography Category

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EB Spotlight on ...

Honors
  • Gwinnett County Public Schools more than 1,500 Gwinnett students designated as AP scholars by the College Board, recognizing our students' high performance on college-level work while in high school.
  • Debi West of North Gwinnett HS— selected as one of four 2008 honorees for Woodruff Salutes Georgia Arts in Education Leaders.
  • The following GCPS educators were honored at the 2008 Georgia School Counselors Association Conference: Karen Griffith of Berkeley Lake ES (Elementary School Counselor of the Year); Dr. Helen Clark of Dacula HS (High School Counselor of the Year); and Keith Chaney, selected while principal of Grayson HS (Advocate of the Year). Previously, the three were named county and region winners.
  • Kelly Murdock of Mill Creek HS— named 2008 State AAAAA Softball Coach of the Year.
  • Congratulations to the following GCPS educators who report recent honors from a familiar retail store: Kathy Traylor of Shiloh MS—Centerville Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year; and Rodney Wayne of W.C. Britt ES—Snellville Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year.
  • Debbie Cate of Teaching and Learning— earned the Shining Star Award from Gwinnett Coalition Great Days of Service for her work in coordinating participation of 95 schools in Gwinnett’s Great Days of Service .
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Student/Team Honors
    • Gwinnett County Public Schools— 1,545 students earned recognition as AP Scholars for exceptional achievement on Advanced Placement (AP) exams.
    • Shiloh HS Concert Choir, directed by Craig Johnson— earned a $5,000 prize and served as back-up singers for the "American Idols" holiday concert in Athens. The choir also won the Most Outstanding Choir of Festival Award (grand prize), Judge's Choice Award, and 1st place in AA Division at the Heritage Music Festival in Washington, D.C. As a grand prize winner, the choir has been invited to the Heritage Gold Festival in the spring.
Congratulations to these communities, student-athletes, and coaches for AAAAA state athletic championships this year:
    • The Collins Hill HS Girls Cross Country Team, coached by Andrew Hudson, assisted by Jessica Sedor, and Richard Ramsey;
    • The Mill Creek HS Competition Cheerleading Team, coached by Brenda Petty, assisted by Ashley Baker, Amy Farah, Camille Larkin, Meredith Mitchell, Stephanie Ooley, Hayley Rounds, and Katie Waldrop;
    • The Mill Creek HS Softball Team, coached by Kelly Murdock, assisted by Courtney Cooper, Faith Davenport, Jennifer Maloney, Frank Turner, and Emily Webb; and
    • The Peachtree Ridge HS Boys Cross Country Team, coached by Ron Clanton and assisted by Tomy Sitton.
Congratulations to the following music educators whose bands have achieved top honors this year:
    • The Berkmar HS Marching Patriot Corps, directed by Nicholas Wiebers;
    • The Brookwood HS Bronco Marching Band, directed by Rudy Wilson and Laura Stanley;
    • The Central Gwinnett HS Black Knight Marching Band, directed by Chad Deal and Kevin Carwile;
    • The Collins Hill HS Screamin’ Eagle Band, directed by Richard Marshall and Ryan Bybee;
    • The Duluth HS Wildcat Marching Band, directed by Russ Thompson;
    • The Grayson HS Marching Band, directed by Robert Barnes;
    • The Meadowcreek HS Marching Mustang Band, directed by Jimmie McKinley and Matthew Ross;
    • The Mill Creek HS Marching Band, directed by Erik Mason;
    • The Norcross HS Blue Devil Marching Band, directed by Rudy Gilbert and Doug Maloney;
    • The Parkview HS Panther Band, directed by Richard Magner and Michael Barr;
    • The Peachtree Ridge HS Roaring Lions Marching Band, directed by Heath Jones and Heath Lawless; and
    • The South Gwinnett HS Band of Stars, directed by William Owens and Josh Luke.
Click here to view the honors and recognitions earned by each of these talented bands.
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Degrees
    • Dr. Amy Gee of Kanoheda ES— earned a doctoral degree in Education Technology Management from Northcentral University.
    • Dr. Sandra Wrapp Harris of Trickum MS— earned a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from Argosy University.
    • Dr. Renae Jackson of Shiloh High School— earned a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from Capella University.
    • Dr. Kimberly Mohr of GIVE Center East— earned a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Phoenix.
    • Terese Burroughs of Meadowcreek ES— earned a specialist’s degree in Educational Administration and Supervision from Lincoln Memorial University.
    • Lisa Carr-Dixon of Federal and Special Programs— earned a specialist’s degree in Administration and Supervision, Educational Leadership, and Professional Studies from the University of West Georgia.
    • Doreen Cestari of Glenn C. Jones MS— earned a specialist’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Piedmont College.
    • Amy Pollingue Clay of Lilburn ES— earned a specialist’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Nova Southeastern University.
    • Mark Collins of Freeman’s Mill ES— earned a specialist’s degree in Administration and Supervision, Educational Leadership, and Professional Studies from the University of West Georgia.
    • Markelia Cooper of GIVE Center East— earned a specialist’s degree in Elementary Education from Troy State University.
    • Jean Herald of Mountain Park ES— earned a specialist’s degree in Administration and Supervision, Educational Leadership, and Professional Studies from the University of West Georgia.
    • Jesse Hunter of Shiloh MS— earned a specialist’s degree in Administration and Supervision, Educational Leadership, and Professional Studies from the University of West Georgia.
    • Missy Jones of Lilburn ES— earned a specialist’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Nova Southeastern University.
    • Susan Evans Kemeter of Craig ES— earned a specialist’s degree in Administration and Supervision, Educational Leadership, and Professional Studies from the University of West Georgia.
    • Carol Madden of Dacula MS— earned a specialist’s degree in Administration and Supervision, Educational Leadership, and Professional Studies from the University of West Georgia.
    • Elizabeth Poole of Richard Hull MS— earned a specialist’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Piedmont College.
    • Donna Springer of Mill Creek HS— earned a specialist’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Piedmont College.
    • Kenney Wells of Berkmar MS— earned a specialist’s degree in Administration and Supervision, Educational Leadership, and Professional Studies from the University of West Georgia.
    • Linda P. Williams of Snellville MS— earned a specialist’s degree in Educational Leadership and Supervision at Cambridge College.
    • Julie Carter of Camp Creek ES— earned a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction-Technology from Grand Canyon University.
    • Todd C. Clark of G. H. Hopkins ES— earned a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Liberty University.
    • Laurie Kovach of Level Creek ES— earned a master’s degree in Elementary Education from Brenau University.
    • Olga Martin of Lilburn ES— earned a master’s degree in Reading and Literacy from Walden University.
    • Beth Nielsen of Riverside ES— earned a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Piedmont College.
    • Lora Novak of SNP— earned a master’s degree in Adult Education from the University of Georgia.
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Presentations
    • Dr. Tiffany Coleman of Simonton ES— co-presented "Do Your PLCs (Professional Learning Communities) Need Some TLC?" at the National Staff Development Council (NSDC) Conference in Washington, D.C. Dr. Coleman and Dr. Dot Schoeller, Simonton ES principal, presented "After School Learning Communities: Growth for Teachers and Students" at the NSDC Conference.
    • Paula DeVivo of Dr. M.H. Mason Jr. ES— presented "More than English," a poster about her participation in the Pueblo Ingles program, at the Georgia Association of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (GATESOL) annual conference on Jekyll Island.
    • Lisa Lang of Curriculum and Instruction and Sharon Smith of Brookwood ES— co-presented "Connecting Home and School Literacies: A is for Anchoring in Alphabet Texts, B is for Bridging Reading and Writing, C is for Creating Writing Opportunities” at the International Reading Association’s West Regional Conference in Seattle.
    • Kathy Traylor of Shiloh MS— presented "Using TI Technology in 7th and 8th Grade Math" and "3D Tools and Toys: Making the 7th grade GPS Come Alive" at the Georgia Council of Teachers of Mathematics Conference at Rock Eagle.
The following GCPS counselors presented at the 2008 Georgia School Counselors Association Conference:
    • Andi Hodgin of Lanier MS and Erin Mason, former GCPS counselor – “Technology: What’s Hot for your School Counseling Program;”
    • Christy Armstrong of Duncan Creek ES, Jennifer Martin of W.J. Cooper ES, Rachael Fogleman and Kate Anderson of Bethesda ES, and Stacey Miller of Riverside ES— “Opening Doors to Diversity;”
    • Dana Booker of Sweetwater MS—“How to Have an Effective Peer Tutoring Program;”
    • Karen Donald of Berkmar MS and Katonia Perdue Brown of J.P. McConnell MS—“School Counselors' Role in Supporting Teachers and Administrators in Improving Student Motivation;”
    • Karen Griffith of Berkeley Lake ES— “Building Resiliency – A Second Look;”
    • Leslie Harper of Collins Hill HS and Sarah Hardee of Peachtree Ridge HS— “Peer Leaders Bridging the Gap to Student Achievement;”
    • Dr. Lynn Hunnicutt of Creekland MS (co-presenter)—“Educational Support Groups: A Natural Bridge in Crossing Obstacles” and "Are You An Author? GSCA Review Board Members Want Your Ideas;"
    • Mary Pederson of Peachtree ES and Sharon Jones of Berkmar HS—“Counselors Use the Classroom Performance System;”
    • Dianne Thompson of Advisement and Counseling, Karen Griffith and Laura Marantz of Berkeley Lake ES, Kelly Cowart of Patrick ES, Carol Loveless of Snellville MS, and Demetria Williams of Advisement and Counseling—“Mentoring: Bridging the Gap for New Counselors;”
    • Carla Winkler of Creekland MS (co-presenter)— "Culturally Competent: Creekland's Three-Cube Approach to Discovering Greatness in Everyone;"
    • Ashley Wood of Jackson ES (co-presenter)— "Issues with Disordered Eating in the Lower Grades;" and
    • David Young of Brookwood ES—“Skits and Raps for the School Counselor” and MS Worksetting professional development.
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Publications
    • Jeanine Jones of Nesbit ES—published an article, “Kente Cloth-Inspired Weavings,” in the December issue of arts & activities magazine.
    • Dr. Judy Stephenson of Riverside Elementary— published a chapter, entitled "Teaching the Basics of Language Learning: Developing a First Grader's Early Literacy Skills," in the book Negotiating Literacy Learning: Exploring the Challenges and Achievements of Struggling Readers, K-6 by Bixler, J.B. (Ed), 2008.
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Participants
    • Congratulations to the following GCPS counselors who hold leadership positions in the Georgia School Counselors Association (GSCA): Demetria Williams of Duluth HS (first vice president); Robin Zorn of Dr. M.H. Mason Jr. ES (second vice president and BEACON editor); Dr. Lynn Hunnicutt of Creekland MS (treasurer); Carol Lane of Alton C. Crews MS (MS worksetting vice president); Dr. Helen Clark of Dacula HS (secondary worksetting vice president); Brent Henderson of Norcross HS (region chair at-large); Lee Jackson of Grayson HS (crisis outreach chair); Vanita Pryor of Alton C. Crews MS (evaluations chair); and Kelly Cowart of Patrick ES (mentoring chair).
    • Paula DeVivo of Dr. M. H. Mason Jr. ES— elected secretary of the Georgia Association of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (GATESOL).
    • Nicole Melvin and Elizabeth Miller, both of Trickum MS, and Heather Tone of Parsons ES— selected to participate in the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE) Teacher Academy.
    • Debbie Schulte of Brookwood HS— completed the Disney Half Marathon and Full Marathon.
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Grants/Gifts
    • Berkmar HS— received a $7,000 Georgia Learn and Serve Grant from the State Department of Education for students to implement three community partnering and service projects during second semester.
    • Computer applications classes at Collins Hill HS, taught by Dr. Stacy Byous and Jacquie Sedor— received a $688 grant from the Collins Hill Education Foundation to fund materials and postage for a service project. The students will be writing letters to community businesses to solicit donations for the Gwinnett Children’s Shelter. Using skills learned in the fall, students will create letterhead, write letters, create flyers, and track donations.
    • Maxwell HS of Technology— received a donated engine from Subaru and Infiniti of Gwinnett and a donated Toyota RAV4 from Toyota Motor Sales and Southeast Toyota, in support of the school’s Auto Services program.
    • South Gwinnett HS’ Math department— received a grant for the purchase of interactive classroom technology from the South Gwinnett Cluster Foundation.
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Something to celebrate?
Share your good news with your colleagues in the quarterly Spotlight publication. If you have earned a state or national award, earned a degree, made a presentation, or had work published, send the information to the Spotlight mailbox via Lotus Notes, or to the Communication and Media Relations department through the courier. The deadline is March 13 for the spring issue. Click here to send your submissions to Spotlight.

Click here to give us your feedback on the new Spotlight.

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    Last modified on 04/15/2009