Saturday, September 18, 2021

Coaching Bilingual and Dual-Language Classrooms with Dyana Vera, Ep. 77 Buzzing with Ms. B: The Coaching Podcast

Ready to learn more about coaching bilingual classrooms? On episode 77 of The Coaching Podcast, I'm joined by Dyana Vera of Biliteracy Now. We explore the goals of bilingual education and some common misconceptions about the dual-language classroom. Join us as we discuss how instructional coaches can help dual-language teachers even if they don't speak both languages. You'll get tips and ideas for supporting bilingual teachers in the classroom.

What are best practices for coaching bilingual and dual-language classrooms?

On this episode of The Coaching Podcast, I’m joined by Dyana Vera of Biliteracy Now. We talk about the different bilingual models, the goals of bilingual programs, and what you need to know to be an effective dual-language coach.

Bilingual and Dual-Language Classroom Models

There are different models used in bilingual and dual-language classrooms. Some models are better than others, but none are perfect for every student. Also, as new information becomes available best practices evolve and change.

Goals of Bilingual or Dual-Language Programs

During my discussion with Dyana, I asked her about what she thinks makes a high-quality bilingual program. She shares three goals for any program.

  1. The program is bilingual and bicultural
  2. The students' first language is preserved and valued
  3. Students are academically successful

A Common Misconception

The biggest misconception about bilingual education is that teaching two languages at the same time will confuse students. Families often wonder whether children should learn both at the same time.

Dyana explains that there have been many studies that show that children are capable of transferring skills from one language to another easily. Bilingual education actually gives students more opportunities both in school and later in life.

One thing that’s important for educators to do is to evaluate our language ideologies and how they influence our beliefs about teaching children. She also tells us why it’s important for schools to measure individual student growth rather than comparing them to other students.

Best Practices in Bilingual and Dual-Language Classroom

Some practices help to contribute to success in bilingual and dual-language classrooms. Here’s a list of a few best practices. 

  • Use visual aids (pictures, graphs, charts, etc.)
  • Model what you are teaching
  • Provide students an opportunity to socialize without making them feel like they are being graded

Challenges for Instructional Coaches and Teachers

During the episode, we examine some of the difficulties faced by teachers and coaches of bilingual and dual-language classrooms. We also discuss ideas for overcoming them. Below are a few of the challenges we talk about in the episode. 

  • Finding high-quality literature and other materials
  • Administering and grading additional tests/assessments
  • Lack of time and no extra compensation for completing additional paperwork
  • Teachers being asked to translate materials or create resources because none exist
If you want to learn more about how to overcome these obstacles, be sure to listen to the entire episode.

How Can a Coach Who is Not Bilingual Support Bilingual and Dual-Language Teachers?

What do you do when you’re not bilingual but need to coach a dual-language classroom? Dyana and I discuss several things you can do, even if you can’t speak both languages. Here are some ideas for supporting teachers and students.

  • Observe and give feedback
  • Model for the teacher
  • Advocate for the staff
  • Ask what they need
  • Create trust with teachers and keep things confidential

Coaching Bilingual and Dual-Language Classrooms

As an instructional coach, there are things you can do to support your bilingual and dual-language teachers even if you don’t speak both languages.

Advocating is one of the primary roles of any coach. When supporting bilingual classrooms, you should ask that resources be bought in both languages.

Another way to help is to encourage schools to provide adequate PD. Professional learning should target the specific classrooms and how to support learners in these programs.

Bilingual education is something that we all should be aware of and learn about. However, it takes time to develop our understanding of it.

I'm grateful that Dyana came on today to begin this dialogue. Hopefully, it will get you started thinking about what bilingual and dual-language education could look like or should look like on your campus. If you want to hear all the details, make sure to listen to the entire podcast.

Ready to listen? You can listen below with the media player, or search for Buzzing with MS. B: The Coaching Podcast anywhere you listen to podcasts!

Helpful resources

The Confident Literacy Coach


Thank you for listening to Buzzing with Ms. B: the Coaching Podcast. Want more coaching ideas?

Check me out at buzzingwithmsb.com and on Instagram @buzzingwithmsb.

If you love the show, share it with a coach who would love it too, or leave me a review on iTunes! It’s free and it helps others find this show, too. Happy coaching!

Podcast produced by Fernie Ceniceros of Crowd & Town Creative
 
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Saturday, September 11, 2021

Changing Roles as an Instructional Coach with Megan Williams Martin, Ep. 76 Buzzing with Ms. B: The Coaching Podcast

Changing roles as an instructional coach can be daunting, especially if you're working in grades or subjects you haven’t taught before. On this episode of The Coaching Podcast, I’m joined by Megan Williams Martin. She shares how she transitioned from being a reading specialist to a secondary instructional coach. Listen to learn how to be prepared for your new role and what to do at the beginning of the year to build trust with teachers.

Many coaches shift from one grade level to another or from one content area to another this time of year. They may start at a new school or district and that can be a difficult change to make.

On this episode of The Coaching Podcast, my guest is Megan Williams Martin. She’s an instructional coach that recently moved from elementary school to middle school.

We talk about what the change was like for her and some things she did to connect with the teaching team. She shares how she built relationships and applied what she already knew to her new campus.

Megan and I discuss ideas for bridging your knowledge from one grade level range or content area to another. We also talk about the similarities and differences between primary and secondary school.

This episode is especially helpful if you've shifted roles. Even if you haven't, I think you're going to walk away with some valuable tips for the work that you're doing on your campus.

Changing Roles as an Instructional Coach

Megan admits that she was nervous when she decided to switch schools and grade levels. It was a big transition.

On the episode, Megan shares what she did to make the move a little bit easier. She mentions multiple times that she arrived at the school as a willing learner and open to suggestions. She also made it clear that she was passionate about educating teachers and kids.

In the beginning, she listened and learned about the team and the school. She did lots of research too. When the time was right, she offered suggestions that showed her value. She also made herself available to the staff as a sounding board.

Megan was honest with the team that she didn’t know everything. She explains in the episode that it’s OK not to know everything. The important thing is that you know how to do research and know who to ask to find the answers.

Another thing she did was find her people quickly. In the episode, she talks about how coaching is a difficult job to do alone and how to find support to make the job more joyful.

From Primary to Secondary School

We chat about how Megan’s work as a teacher and reading specialist in elementary school prepared her to become a middle school instructional coach.

She was keenly aware that going from primary to secondary school would pose a challenge in terms of credibility and tried her best to be prepared for it. The middle school teachers would be the experts in the content, but she was confident that she had a toolbox of strategies to share.

Instructional coaches often feel like they are the experts and need to know everything. But nobody knows it all.

Megan was honest with the staff that she did not have experience with middle school students. She explained to the teachers that what she did have was some great practices to help support teachers and meet the students' needs.

She was intentional about how and when she offered new ideas. She didn’t dump out all her strategies at once, but rather let it occur naturally.

Megan is a lifelong learner and soaks up everything. She said it was this openness to learning and her ability to find answers that led to success on her new campus.

To build relationships with teachers, she made sure to show her personality and got to know the teachers. She let them know that she was not there to change everything and that built trust.

One of the things she said helped the most was going into classrooms and offering support from the start of the year. She started with those teachers that were willing. In time other teachers recognized that she wanted to help and had good ideas.

Thinking about Changing Roles as an Instructional Coach?

Her final piece of advice is to try new grades and subjects. She never thought she would leave elementary. Now she says that secondary school is home for her.

I agree that coaches should be willing to try new things. If nothing else, you’ll learn a lot about what you like, what you don't like, and the way things work in different places. At best, maybe you’ll love it.

If you want to hear all about Megan’s transition from elementary to middle school, be sure to check out the entire episode. She shares practical tips that can help you get ready for any new coaching role.

Ready to listen? You can listen below with the media player, or search for Buzzing with MS. B: The Coaching Podcast anywhere you listen to podcasts!

Helpful resources


Coffee and Coaching Membership


Thank you for listening to Buzzing with Ms. B: the Coaching Podcast. Want more coaching ideas?

Check me out at buzzingwithmsb.com and on Instagram @buzzingwithmsb.

If you love the show, share it with a coach who would love it too, or leave me a review on iTunes! It’s free and it helps others find this show, too. Happy coaching!

Podcast produced by Fernie Ceniceros of Crowd & Town Creative
 
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Saturday, September 4, 2021

Coaching Call: Coaching New Teachers with Nikki Drury, Ep. 75 Buzzing with Ms. B: The Coaching Podcast

Coaching new teachers is challenging! Many teachers get overwhelmed by all the information they need to learn when starting at a school. On this episode of The Coaching Podcast, I’m joined by literacy instructional coach Nikki Drury to talk through how to best help teachers navigate a new campus. Listen to this coaching call to get tips and strategies for helping new teachers.

Why is coaching new teachers so hard?

On this coaching call, I’m joined by Nikki Drury. She's a literacy instructional coach in a Texas grade 3-5 school.

Nikki has many coaching responsibilities but spends much of her time developing new teachers. Some teachers she coaches have limited classroom experience, while others have several years at different campuses.

Nikki and I talk about some of the challenges she faces coaching new teachers. We discuss how to find the balance between showing and doing for teachers.

Tips for Coaching New Teachers

Nikki’s school has many campus-aligned literacy strategies and programs in place. It can be overwhelming for new teachers to learn so many things all at once.

While discussing this on the call, one tip I suggest is making a video for each strategy. The videos can feature her or any other willing teachers modeling the lessons in action.

This will create a video library that teachers can watch on-demand. Teachers can get extra support when they want, but it won’t add to their already heavy workload.

Developing Teachers' Thinking

On this episode of The Coaching Podcast, Nikki and I discuss how to develop the thinking skills of teachers. This is critical for lasting change and improving teachers’ practice.

When I model a mini-lesson or any other type of lesson, I want teachers to see the thought process that goes into it.

During the planning, I explain how I'm pulling from the standards and figuring out what to focus on. Once the lesson plan is complete, I model it in the classroom. Then I debrief with the teachers and ask questions that guide them to think about what they saw in the lesson.

This technique is super impactful for teachers. It can be a valuable way to spend time with new teachers.

If you give it a try, let me know how it goes in the comments below or tag me on Instagram.

More Ideas for Coaching New Teachers

The ideas above are a small sample of what we discuss on the coaching call. This episode has many tips and topics, including tiering support, classroom management during guided reading, and encouraging teacher visitations. If you’re a literacy coach, you’ll find lots of valuable tips to help you coach with confidence.

Ready to listen? You can listen below with the media player, or search for Buzzing with MS. B: The Coaching Podcast anywhere you listen to podcasts!

Learn more
Helpful resources



https://buzzingwithmsb.mykajabi.com/confident-literacy-coach

Thank you for listening to Buzzing with Ms. B: the Coaching Podcast. Want more coaching ideas?

Check me out at buzzingwithmsb.com and on Instagram @buzzingwithmsb.

If you love the show, share it with a coach who would love it too, or leave me a review on iTunes! It’s free and it helps others find this show, too. Happy coaching!

Podcast produced by Fernie Ceniceros of Crowd & Town Creative
 
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Saturday, August 28, 2021

Building Relationships with Teachers, Ep. 74 Buzzing with Ms. B: The Coaching Podcast

Do you struggle building relationships with teachers? It can be hard for instructional coaches to connect with the teaching team. In episode 74 of The Coaching Podcast, I list five ways to improve your relationships with your teachers. I share practical tips and what it looked like when I was coaching. Listen for suggestions to help your mindset, so it’s easier to bond with teachers.

Building relationships with teachers is fundamental to coaching. It's also really hard sometimes!

On this episode, I share five strategies instructional coaches can use to build relationships with teachers. They are practical and help frame your work while allowing you to get to know your teachers.

I encourage you to take ideas from this podcast and apply them to your coaching work. It’s especially helpful to start at the beginning of the year. A little bit of effort and work now will set the tone for your coaching work for the rest of the year and make everything so much easier.

Listed below are some of my favorite ways to build a relationship with staff on campus. If you want to learn all my tips and suggestions, be sure to listen to the entire episode.

1. Focus on the Trust Equation

All relationships require trust. Donald Miller explains the trust equation as empathy plus credibility equals trust. 

To gain trust and build a relationship you must be empathetic and credible. One of the ways I showed empathy as a coach was listening without judgment. I built credibility with the staff by being real and realistic.

2. Schedule One-to-One Conversations

To build a relationship, you need to get to know the person and they need to get to know you. When I was a campus coach, I would have one on one conversations with the teachers and ask how I could support them.

These conversations gave me context about the teachers and if I needed to clarify my role to them. Once these initial conversations happen, I created a rotation schedule to regularly check in with the teachers. This let them know I cared and built rapport.

3. Share Stories and Build Personal Connections

When we share stories with teachers, we get to know who they are and they get to know who we are. We also get to learn about what has shaped each of us personally and professionally.

The first step you can take is to use the details from the stories that you've shared to build bridges with the teachers. This isn’t going to be the foundation for your coaching work, but sometimes it's a way to get them to talk to you.

4. Start with a Positive

When first visiting a classroom, an instructional coach should begin by noticing something positive. In some classes, it’s easier to find the good than in others, but there is always something in every room that you can praise.

Doing this will make sure that that you are framing your work in a way that shows that you're not there to focus on what's wrong but to grow what's already great. Try to start with something positive but don't lie or make it up.

5. Give Them a Quick Win

You build your credibility if you can be the person who gives a teacher a quick win. If you can change something in the classroom for the better or solve a small problem, you will improve the relationship.

When we show teachers that we're there to support them and help them figure out better ways of doing things, it builds trust. Giving them a quick win also shows that we are useful and valuable.

Building Relationships with Teachers

If we approach teachers with the understanding that they are trying their best, then our support can come from a place of goodness and sincerity. I find that once I stray from that belief, my coaching support gets more strained and it's harder for me to build the relationship in any context.

We want to approach coaching with that mindset. If the teacher is doing their best, then we should be there to support them and help them grow.

Ready to listen? You can listen below with the media player, or search for Buzzing with MS. B: The Coaching Podcast anywhere you listen to podcasts!

Learn more
Helpful resources



https://buzzingwithmsb.mykajabi.com/confident-literacy-coach

Thank you for listening to Buzzing with Ms. B: the Coaching Podcast. Want more coaching ideas?

Check me out at buzzingwithmsb.com and on Instagram @buzzingwithmsb.

If you love the show, share it with a coach who would love it too, or leave me a review on iTunes! It’s free and it helps others find this show, too. Happy coaching!

Podcast produced by Fernie Ceniceros of Crowd & Town Creative
 
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Saturday, August 21, 2021

10 Roles Coaches Serve...and What They Looked Like in My Coaching, Ep. 73 Buzzing with Ms. B: The Coaching Podcast

If you’re not clear about your instructional coaching role, teachers will give you additional responsibilities. In this episode of the Coaching Podcast, I share my reflections on an article from Joellen Killion about the 10 roles of coaches. Listen as I explain what each looked like in my day-to-day coaching so you can get a sense of how I did these things on my campus. This episode is packed with lots of instructional coaching tips and ideas.

Instructional coaches serve the needs of students, teachers, and other school staff in different ways.

At one school, they may be responsible for helping to design curriculum to teach English learners in kindergarten while at another their role might entail teaching teachers how to better support students with disabilities.

Many times, the responsibilities of instructional coaches are misunderstood by teachers. I’ve found that when teachers don't understand the role of an instructional coach, they make it up.

Joellen Killion was my guest on Episode 50 of the Coaching Podcast. On this episode, I share my reflections on her article The 10 Roles of Coaches

I explain what these roles look like in the classroom and my coaching practice.

The 10 Roles of Coaches

1. Resource Provider

In Episode 68I discussed using different levels of support to create access points for all teachers. Providing resources is a level one or low-level support. It’s one of the least scary things a teacher can ask for from a coach, but it has big rewards.

As a coach, I would compile resources based on gaps in practice and the needs I noticed while co-planning with teachers. When you share materials with teachers, it helps build the relationship and shows that you think about them.

2. Data Coach

Coaches, teachers, and principals look at tons of data. This season during a coaching call episode with Christy al-Jerby, we talked about systems that can be helpful for reviewing assessment and data.

I suggested she have a standing meeting with teachers on the calendar to review data and plan for next steps. As a coach, I scheduled weekly data meetings in advance, often at the beginning of the year.

3. Curriculum Specialist

Coaches need to know a lot of stuff. Especially if they specialize in a content area like literacy or math.

They need to understand the national and state standards as well as local initiatives. Instructional coaches also need to know best practices and have access to resources.

In this role, I met with three grade levels every week for 90 minutes. I would walk them through the planning process. Teachers would share ideas and collaborate. Then we would structure this information so that teachers had lessons to try out in their classroom.

4. Instructional Specialist

Being an instructional specialist is not just about what is taught but about how you teach. This type of work often happened during PLCs.

During professional learning, we created lesson plans and talked about the strategies we could use to approach the activities. I kept a bank of high-impact strategies for each content area as well.

I share all about this planning process in The Confident Literacy Coach CourseI explains how to plan with teachers and build high-impact strategies that can be used throughout the year.

5. Mentor

Mentors are often thought of as something for new staff. But all teachers and coaches need a mentor because they help us grow.

As a coach, I had mentors to learn from and ask questions. They also helped me become a better a coach and that allowed me to help more teachers.

This coaching role was one of the most enjoyable. Developing close relationships and getting to know teachers as people was fun and rewarding.

6. Classroom Supporter

The real magic of coaching happens whenever you’re in the classroom and doing the work. The coaching cycle is impactful because you are modeling, observing, providing feedback, and planning alongside the teacher.

It may seem like you are spending a lot of time with one teacher, but it’s worth it. It really changes practice in the classroom.

7. Learning Facilitator

This role looks different depending on your school and district. I did a lot of professional development for our teachers.

When I visited classrooms and planned with teachers, I noted what was holding us back from achieving big changes in our students. I would weave these topics into our professional learning.

As a learning facilitator, you can create opportunities for teachers to learn from each other. I encouraged teachers to visit other classrooms and had willing teachers model strategies. You want colleagues to learn from each other because everybody in the room has some knowledge to share.

8. School Leader

This is another role that looks different depending on your campus. I was part of the leadership team. This group had discussions and dialogues about the growth of the school.

We talked about what we saw happening overall. Based on that, we set goals and supported those goals over time through our work.

9. Catalyst for Change

Being a catalyst for change isn’t always easy. Whether we do it through questioning, creating opportunities to learn, or modeling a new strategy, we're always pushing the envelope a little bit.

We get people to move because catalysts make things happen. This can be a stressful position because not everyone likes being pushed or pulled. It can be difficult to inspire others to try something different.

In my experience, teachers were more likely to listen to ideas when we worked on things they were concerned about. They wanted solutions to their problems.

10. Learner

Coaches must continually learn and reflect. To support teachers, coaches need to know stuff.

Instructional coaches need to be lifelong learners. We have to grow and get better because that’s what we ask teachers to do.

Those are the 10 roles that coaches serve and what I did in those roles as an instructional coach. I hope that it gives you an idea of what each role can look like in a school building.

To get my top tips on how to succeed in the different coaching roles listen to the entire episode.

If you want to learn more about how I began as a coach, check out The Instructional Coaching eBook Start-Up GuideI wrote it after a few years of coaching. It teaches you some of the things that I did and what I wish I had done.

If you are a new coach or have under three years of experience, there's a lot of information in the eBook that will help you establish yourself as a coach. It helps you figure out how to do all the stuff that coaches are required to do.

Ready to listen? You can listen below with the media player, or search for Buzzing with MS. B: The Coaching Podcast anywhere you listen to podcasts!

Learn more
Helpful resources



https://buzzingwithmsb.mykajabi.com/confident-literacy-coach

Thank you for listening to Buzzing with Ms. B: the Coaching Podcast. Want more coaching ideas?

Check me out at buzzingwithmsb.com and on Instagram @buzzingwithmsb.

If you love the show, share it with a coach who would love it too, or leave me a review on iTunes! It’s free and it helps others find this show, too. Happy coaching!

Podcast produced by Fernie Ceniceros of Crowd & Town Creative
 
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Saturday, August 14, 2021

Leveraging the Principal-Coach Relationship with Angela Kelly Robeck, Ep. 72 Buzzing with Ms. B: The Coaching Podcast

On this episode of the Coaching for Podcast, Angela Kelly Robeck joins me to share her insights into why instructional coaches should put time into developing a partnership with school principals. We talk about building better communication and questions to ask to understand the principal's vision for the school. Listen now for coaching tips to help improve your principal-coach relationship!

How can an instructional coach help the principal achieve their vision for the school?

On Episode 66, Jacy Ippolito and I discussed creating a coaching culture in schools. One of the things that we talked about was why the principal-coach relationship was essential for reaching school-wide goals.  

This was such an important topic that I wanted to go deeper into it. Angela Kelly Robeck joins me on this episode to discuss the different ways a principal-coach relationship can impact a school. 

Angela is an author, certified coach for school leaders, and the host of The Empowered Principal Podcast. We talk about how to build a positive partnership between coaches and principals.

The Principal-Coach Relationship

Ideally, the coach-principal relationship should be mutually satisfying. It functions best when both parties work together to implement the vision for the school. This requires having a clearly defined coaching role and staying in your lane. 

However, most principals are overwhelmed and do not have time to think about the coach's role in the building. Coaches can help by sharing ideas and explaining how they would benefit the school leader.

The Importance of Communication

Having a productive relationship requires good communication. The leader needs to convey their vision to the coach and staff.

Once it is communicated, the principal should delegate and allow the coach to do their work in the classroom. They shouldn’t undermine the coach’s job or assign them quasi admin tasks because that can damage the relationship with teachers and lead to resistance. 

But what can a coach do when a principal micromanages them or doesn’t listen to their input? Angela recommends stepping back and getting clear with your values and vision. Start working on what you can control and ways to reach your goals.

You get to decide how you present yourself. When you show up positively, people notice and see your commitment. When you do what you believe in, the teachers will notice and feel that. 

Principals want to hear wins and challenges. Angela suggests giving the principal three quick wins along with discussing any challenges. She explains how principals don’t want coaches to hide problems. Instead, they want to know about them. They also want to hear ideas that the coach has for how to overcome them. Problems usually get solved quickly when you come up with a solution to try out.

Questions a Coach Should Ask Their Principal to Understand Their Vision

Angela gives us three questions coaches can ask principals to clarify the vision for the school. These questions help coaches understand what the principal is trying to accomplish. It will also help the principal get clear on what they want from the coach.

Here are the questions Angela suggests you ask your administration to better understand them.

1. If there was one legacy that you could leave behind as a school leader, what would that be and why?

2. How do you see my role in supporting this goal? What is the big picture of how a coach fits into this? How do you envision this on a day-to-day basis?

3. What emotions and energy are you aiming for on campus? How do you want classrooms to feel? What is an ideal school culture in your mind?

Leveraging the Principal-Coach Relationship

Relationships, whether personal or professional, require work and aren’t always easy. During the episode, we discuss some ideas for getting through challenges with people.

Angela shares why your relationship with your boss is more about mindset than you think. She explains that the way we feel about and engage with someone comes from how we think about them. When we are struggling with someone, it’s usually because of the thoughts we are having about them.

Our brain creates this story about the person and every time we interact with them, it’s looking for that confirmation. When we become cognizant that it is happening, we gain control of it. 

We can create a different story and find positive qualities about that person. This will make it easier whenever we have to interact with them. She gives specific techniques we can use to neutralize these feelings and have more cooperative relationships.

Finding Your Coaching Community

Coaching is not easy work, but there are some things you can do so you don’t get overwhelmed. We talk about suggestions for how to find a safe person to talk to about your work so you’re not keeping it all in. The Coffeeand Coaching Membership is a great place to get support and find like-minded people that you can talk to about your work.

Angela also gives us tips for helping educate principals on the role of a coach. She shares some of the challenges of building the principal-coach role and how to overcome them. We talk about how to build the principal-coach relationship and so much more!

Ready to listen? You can listen below with the media player, or search for Buzzing with MS. B: The Coaching Podcast anywhere you listen to podcasts!


Helpful resources


Coffee and Coaching Membership


Thank you for listening to Buzzing with Ms. B: the Coaching Podcast. Want more coaching ideas?

Check me out at buzzingwithmsb.com and on Instagram @buzzingwithmsb.

If you love the show, share it with a coach who would love it too, or leave me a review on iTunes! It’s free and it helps others find this show, too. Happy coaching!

Podcast produced by Fernie Ceniceros of Crowd & Town Creative
 
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