Colorado Springs, CO, United States
Colorado Springs, CO, United States

The Colorado College is a private liberal arts college in Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States, in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. It was founded in 1874 by Thomas Nelson Haskell. The college enrolls approximately 2,000 undergraduates at its 90-acre campus, 70 miles south of Denver in Colorado Springs. The college offers 42 majors and 33 minors, and has a student-faculty ratio of 10:1. Famous alumni include Ken Salazar, Lynne Cheney, James Heckman and Marc Webb. Colorado College has an acceptance rate of 18%, was ranked as the best private college in Colorado by Forbes, and listed as the #27 National Liberal Arts College in the 2015 U.S. News & World Report rankings. Colorado College is known for its unique "block plan," which divides the year into eight academic terms called "blocks"; a single class is taken during each block, which run for three and a half weeks.Colorado College is affiliated with the Associated Colleges of the Midwest. Most sports teams are in the NCAA Division III, with the exception of Division I teams in CC Men's Hockey and Women's Soccer.In the college education guide, Hidden Ivies: Thirty Colleges of Excellence, Colorado College is listed as one of the "Hidden Ivies." Wikipedia.

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Members of the Republican Party sitting in Congress have been particularly good at sticking with the “party line” on a wide range of issues — even when that means pouring more pollution into their constituents’ throats, working to increase the number of superstorms that slam the East Coast and the dramatic droughts that destroy the Southwest, voting through health care bills or amendments that make it much more expensive for normal Americans to get health care (apparently, just so the richest among us can keep more money in overinflated bank accounts), and pretending Donald Trump’s potentially corrupt connections and actions in regard to Russia wouldn’t have their faces exploding with range if it had been Obama in such a situation. There are many issues on which Republicans in Congress vote against the preferences of their constituents simply because that’s what the party leaders say they need to do, but there may be no topic where this is more the case than the topic of energy. Pollution industries (coal, oil, and gas) send nearly 100% of their political cash to Republicans. It’s a strikingly one-sided story for them. Incidentally, the Republican Party votes on the side of these pollution industries nearly 100% of the time. And by “Republican Party,” that basically means every single Republican. The thing is, even if some sensible, science-respecting, health-concerned, humanity-loving Republicans want to vote on the side of clean air and a livable climate, they know that the Koch Brothers, Chevron, Exxon, or other pollution giants will heavily fund a Republican primary challenger to remove them from Congress if they break rank. Among other reasons, this is likely a core reason why these cowardly politicians don’t follow their own moral compass. Frankly, I think Democrats would be wise to put a lot more attention on this matter and label the GOP the “Pollution Party,” but I’m not sure if I have the connections needed to get that message across. (That said, Bernie Sanders did share one of our stories on Facebook yesterday!) The good news is that some Republicans in Congress seem to be growing a moral backbone on the greatest threat to the human race … maybe. As Steve wrote the other day, there’s now a Climate Solutions Caucus in Congress. It is bringing together both Democrats and Republicans who want to work on stopping global warming. Following that story, we now have substantive news on 3 US senators breaking rank in order to protect an Obama rule regarding methane emissions. Needless to say, progressive climate hawks were jubilant. Think Progress reports: “The Senate failed to advance a resolution Wednesday morning that would have nullified a Bureau of Land Management methane waste prevention rule. Three Republicans — Sens. John McCain (AZ), Susan Collins (ME), and Lindsey Graham (SC) — sided with Democrats against allowing a vote on the resolution to proceed. “The vote marks a surprise defeat of congressional Republicans’ campaign to use the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to repeal a host of Obama-era regulations. The House passed a resolution in February to repeal the rule, but it was uncertain whether the Senate would approve the resolution before the deadline for using the CRA to repeal the rule expired. “As it turned out, the uncertainty over the future of the CRA resolution was justified.” “This is a huge win for our health, our clean air, and our climate, and shows that President Trump’s plans to unravel hard-won environmental protections are not a foregone conclusion.” “Today is a victory for our public lands and for the health of families across America, and a defeat for Donald Trump, corporate polluters, and their friends on Capitol Hill. People across the country will continue to resist and hold Congress and Trump accountable for any efforts to put the profits of polluters before the health of our families and our communities.” This particular instance may seem like a simple vote and technical matter, but I think it’s a big deal. Sure, McCain, Graham, and Collins aren’t likely to get knocked out of the Senate for standing up to the pollution industry and the ant-like Republican voting policy. Getting back to the technicality of the methane rule decision, here’s more from Think Progress: “Based on estimates, the rule will prevent the waste of 65 billion cubic feet of natural gas a year and save taxpayers $330 million annually. The repeal of the rule would have allowed for the unregulated release of a gas that traps 86 times more heat than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period. Because taxpayers collect royalties from energy produced on public lands, repealing the rule also could have reduced direct payments to taxpayers by $800 million over the next decade, according to the Western Values Project. “In March 1996, President Bill Clinton signed into law the Congressional Review Act, which Congress passed as part of the so-called Contract for America pushed by Rep. Newt Gingrich (R-GA) and other Republicans. The law empowers Congress to review new federal regulations issued by government agencies and, by passage of a joint resolution, overrule a regulation. “The CRA expressly prohibits agencies from issuing new rules “substantially the same” as one it has nullified. In fact, no agency has ever reissued a rule to replace a measure rescinded under the CRA, and no court has addressed whether such a rule would be valid. This ensures that any meaningful effort by the agency to address the problem would be met with years of costly litigation. … “If Republicans thought the methane waste rule went too far and if they wanted to change it, Democrats were ‘more than happy to sit down and discuss that,’ Cantwell said. By enacting the rollback, Republicans bar Congress from taking any action on that agenda legislatively. Nothing else can be done on this subject matter for that particular rule.” Also, something that will hardly be mentioned in mainstream media coverage of the news (if it’s mentioned at all) is that Republican voters overwhelmingly support this methane emissions rule. Like other humans, they think it makes sense to have clean air, and they understand that means imposing some requirements on the oil & gas industry to cut pollution. “The rule has widespread support in Colorado and across the West. In Colorado, 83 percent of residents supported the BLM rule, including a majority of support among Republican voters. Among seven Western states with significant amounts of public lands, the rule had overwhelming support among voters, according to a Colorado College poll.” Nonetheless, only 3 Republicans in the Senate broke rank and voted with their constituents. If we want Republican politicians to really start acting in the interests of the public on pollution matters, I think we need three basic things: Senators John McCain (AZ), Susan Collins (ME), and Lindsey Graham (SC) just made one small but forceful step forward on #2. Let’s hope they and others have the courage to protect human health and a livable climate again in the coming months. Check out our new 93-page EV report. Join us for an upcoming Cleantech Revolution Tour conference! Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech daily newsletter or weekly newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.

News Article | September 20, 2017

Tutt Library has been technologically transformed, with a data visualization lab, space for new and emerging technology, Geospatial Information Systems laboratory and an experimental classroom equipped with teaching technology. Advanced audiovisual and technology-centric systems including wireless accessibility meet current and anticipated future demands. Faculty and students are able to access collections and information, and communicate with each other, even while off campus during CC's signature field study and study abroad experiences. Appropriately, one of the first classes to be taught in the new library is Colorado College President Jill Tiefenthaler's Economics of Higher Education, which she co-teaches with her husband, Research Professor Kevin Rask. The newly renovated library provides a physical home for academic services including the Crown Center, the Colket Center for Academic Excellence, library services and technology services. Innovative and collaborative learning and event spaces provide opportunities to showcase faculty and student projects, and there are support services for undergraduate and faculty research. An adjacent geothermal energy field has 80 wells, each 400 feet deep and five and a half inches wide, which function as a heat exchanger for the reversible geothermal heat pump that provides both heating and cooling in the library. Additionally, a 115-kilowatt rooftop solar array, 400-kilowatt offsite solar array and 130-kilowatt combined heat and power system are all part of the project. The 94,317 square-foot library includes 12,976 square feet of glass and has a seating capacity of approximately 1,100. There are terraces on each level with views of Pikes Peak and a live green roof. The library recently received the 2017 Innovation Award by the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO). The NACUBO Innovation Award Program honors higher education institutions that have made commitments and improvements across both process improvement and resource enhancement.

Neuropsychological baseline testing is commonplace in the assessment of concussion; however, claims of 'sandbagging' the baseline have led neuropsychologists to ask to what extent athletes can perform intentionally poorly on baseline testing without reaching threshold on the test validity indicators. Seventy-five undergraduate athletes were re-administered the ImPACT neurocognitive battery, which they had previously taken to establish baseline functioning, but were instructed to perform more poorly than their baseline without reaching threshold on the test validity indicators. Eight participants were able to successfully fake significantly lower scores without detection by validity indicators. Concussion history was not related to performance. Successful fakers did not perform significantly worse on the Reaction Time Composite and Three Letters Total Letters Correct, questioning the utility of these measures for detecting 'sandbagging' Successful fakers reported using less purposeful faking strategies which naturally facilitated errors. The data suggest that 'sandbagging' the baseline, even under conditions involving motivation, instruction, and experience with the test, is difficult to accomplish without being detected. © The Author 2012.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ORGANIZATION | Award Amount: 374.73K | Year: 2013

Nerve cells, or neurons, are specialized cells of the nervous system that receive and send signals to coordinate animal behavior. Dendrites are the highly branched structures of neurons that are used to gather sensory information from other cells or the environment. These dendritic branches are critical for the function of the nervous system because a loss of dendrites is associated with deficits in learning, motor control, and sensory perception. The goal of this project is to identify the molecular mechanisms that regulate dendrite development. Dendrite development will be investigated in the simple genetic model organism Caenorhabditis elegans, a microscopic round worm because it is completely transparent, enabling the observation of dendrite development in living animals, and because it is high amenable to genetic manipulation. The research will focus on a genetic analysis of a class of proteins called RNA-binding proteins, which are hypothesized to be important in dendrite development because they regulate genetic messages known as messenger RNAs. This research project is expected to identify several specific RNA-binding proteins, present in worms and other species including humans, which are important for regulating dendrite development. Furthermore, the research is expected to determine the molecular mechanisms for how these RNA-binding proteins regulate dendrites. This research will impact the field of developmental neuroscience because it will provide a better understanding of how the individual neurons make the connections that allow for a functional nervous system that responds to the environment and controls behavior. This project will also have an impact on student training and public awareness; Colorado College and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs will collaborate on this research project and train several undergraduates and master students, incorporate this research into undergraduate courses, and participate in community outreach programs to illustrate the importance of developmental neuroscience research.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: Genetic Mechanisms | Award Amount: 387.32K | Year: 2014

Intellectual Merit: Bacteria have a covering membrane, analogous to human skin, designed to keep their internal components in and foreign bodies out. Some bacteria have developed the ability to import foreign DNA across this membrane and incorporate it into their own genomes. This ability is called natural transformation or competence. Because competent bacteria can import everything from their own native DNA to animal DNA, they can adapt rapidly in stressful environments, such as in the presence of antibiotics. This research project is to better understand how bacteria are able to find DNA and move it across their membranes. What is currently known is that some bacteria can make structures, called Type IV Pili, which consist of pores through their membranes and through which associated long appendages can project outward. Type IV Pili are used by bacteria to pull themselves across a surface, essentially using the appendages as retractable grappling hooks. The machinery responsible for competence is believed to be similar in structure to Type IV Pili. This similarity suggests two hypotheses: first, the set of genes that build the competence machine must be similar to the set of genes that build Type IV Pili, and second, the competence machine performs similar actions to Type IV Pili, albeit for a different purpose. This research will use Type IV Pili genes to identify potential competence genes and then evaluate whether those genes really do participate in building a competence machine. In addition, Atomic Force Microscopy will be used to take very high resolution pictures of competent bacteria to see both the competence machines and appendages. Looking at the competence machines themselves yields an understanding of how a population of cells becomes more competent. Perhaps populations become more competent when each cell makes more machines or when more cells makes machines or when each machine makes more appendages. The pictures will also indicate whether competent bacteria might use their appendages to fish for DNA by throwing them out and retracting them to move the DNA toward themselves. The overall goal of this research is to generate a much deeper understanding of both the genetic basis and the physical mechanisms of competence in bacteria.

Broader Impacts: All the proposed research will take place in collaboration with undergraduate students. The PIs have a strong track record of involving undergraduates in research, having collectively worked with 108 students in ten years each at Colorado College. Many of these students were women and minorities, and the PIs actively recruit such students. The PIs are a physicist and a biologist in collaboration, and the dozen students expected to conduct research in their labs on this project will reflect this same combination of majors. In addition, the PIs developed a biophysics course for first-year students based on the research, which culminates with a project in which the students prepare a bacterial sample, image it with atomic force microscopy, and then write a journal-style paper to present their research, thus giving them an experiential taste of scientific research. This experience will be offered to 48 first-year students during the term of the award.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: S-STEM:SCHLR SCI TECH ENG&MATH | Award Amount: 76.33K | Year: 2013

There is no precedent for math instruction using wet labs to engage students in mathematics through data-driven inquiry experiences. In this project, we construct Laboratory Experiences in Mathematical Biology (LEMBs) for undergraduate math classrooms. LEMBs are developed collaboratively at Utah State University (USU)and Colorado College, aimed at sophomore classrooms including both STEM and non-STEM majors. Students manipulate and interact with real-world biological mechanisms, construct their own mathematical descriptions and gain deeper understanding of underlying mathematical relationships. LEMBs are open-ended, inviting student participation and creativity. Student acquisition of modeling and problem-solving skills and the effect of LEMBs on other skills are evaluated using pre/post-tests, think-aloud exercises, and instructor/student interviews. We are creating new knowledge about learners construction of modeling and problem-solving skills. LEMBs invite student-centered mathematics instruction and expose faculty to alternative pedagogy. We assemble pedagogical materials to facilitate lab-based instruction, including alternate mathematical pathways rooted in the labs, multiple assessment items, and educational vignettes based on classroom observations to illustrate key pedagogical techniques. LEMBs and instructor support materials are available to faculty nationwide via Open Access publication through USUs Digital Commons. Presentations about LEMBs are made at conferences, and articles are submitted to research and education journals.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: HYDROLOGIC SCIENCES | Award Amount: 94.91K | Year: 2015

Humans have dramatically altered the nitrogen cycle through food and energy production activities. Increased nitrogen loading to landscapes often results in nitrogen export to the coast, leading to algal blooms, dead zones, and declines in fisheries. Nitrate removal in riparian aquifers and riverbeds provides an important ecosystem service that mitigates nitrogen loads to coasts. However a vast majority of nitrogen never reaches the coast, rather it is retained within the watershed or transformed by microbes. Riverbanks and bottoms are prime locations for this retention and transformation, providing a valuable ecosystem service. In tidal freshwater zones (TFZs) where tides pump river water in and out of the riverbanks and riverbed, nitrate removal may be particularly effective. This study will determine the nitrogen removal efficiency of TFZs. If TFZs play a disproportionately large role in nitrogen removal within watersheds, management strategies should seek to protect TFZs by maintaining riparian buffer zones and limiting sediment sources that could clog riverbeds, reducing their removal efficiency. The research should improve our ability to manage nitrate in freshwater and better value the ecosystems services of tidal freshwater zones and estuaries. The results will be shared with the public in two ways: (1) Creek Fest, an outreach event that promotes watershed stewardship to over 1000 attendees, the PIs will will discuss implications for TFZ management with local stakeholders; and (2) the PIs will also develop a virtual field trip to educate high school and college students in land-locked classrooms on ecosystem services in tidal environments.

Rarely monitored for discharge or nutrient fluxes, TFZs are dynamic transition zones between rivers and estuaries. In TFZs, semidiurnal stage fluctuations should promote intense bank storage and release. Bank storage zones may be efficient sites of nitrate removal. However, associated water table fluctuations may also aerate shallow groundwater and enhance nitrification, adding nitrate to groundwater. The net effect of these two tidally induced, opposing processes could range from net nitrate production to removal within TFZs. This proposal asks how tidally induced hydrodynamic processes such as bank storage and water table fluctuations control nitrogen transformations within the riparian aquifers of TFZs and how these processes upscale to influence nitrogen fluxes from land to sea. It is hypothesized that: 1) TFZ hydrodynamics promote two hot spots of nitrogen transformation in the riparian aquifer: a nitrification hot spot at the soil-groundwater interface where semidiurnal water table fluctuations oxygenate the shallow groundwater, and a denitrification hot spot near the river-groundwater interface where surface water exchanges through oxygen depleted sediments; 2) as tidal range increases in the downstream direction within the TFZ, nitrate production via nitrification increases more than nitrate removal via denitrification. These hypotheses will be tested using a combination of field observations within a TFZ, laboratory experiments, and numerical models. The field component will characterize fluid and nitrogen fluxes across the river-aquifer interface and identify non-conservative nitrogen transport in the riparian aquifer of a TFZ within the Christina River Basin (Delaware). Sediment cores will be used in laboratory column experiments to explore relationships between water table fluctuations, groundwater redox conditions, and nitrogen transformation. Numerical models will be used to upscale nitrogen fate along the TFZ of the Christina River Basin.

Women continue to be largely under-represented in the geosciences. Female role models and mentors can play an important role in the lives of female students, especially when choosing and committing to a career path. This project is providing a pathway for STEM undergraduate women into the geosciences through a combination of formal and informal, professional and peer mentoring. The research is also providing insight into why mentoring is beneficial to STEM women. This project recruits first-year college women interested in the geosciences (from any STEM major) from institutions in two geographic regions: the Front Range of Colorado and the Carolinas. During their first year, these women are invited to a regional mentoring workshop to i) learn more about geoscience careers, ii) meet peers with similar academic interests, iii) gain better self-awareness of their values, strengths, and abilities for a career in the geosciences, and iv) expand their psychological, social and institutional resources for a career in the geosciences. After the workshop, the program participants have access to peer mentoring and resources through a web platform. Through this platform, they are able to interact with each other via discussion forums. In addition, they have access to in-person mentoring with female role models via scheduled get-togethers at each institution. The research is focused on quantifying i) the impact of the workshops and mentoring on participants intentions and behaviors related to geoscience career choices, ii) the impact of the workshops and mentoring on the skills and resources participants use to overcome career-related barriers, and iii) the key features of the workshops and mentoring strategies that predict positive changes in participants perceptions of and beliefs about the geosciences.

Experimental research on the effectiveness of mentoring has been largely absent from the mentoring literature. This project will fill the gap in the literature by conducting a randomized experiment wherein undergraduate women at Colorado State University and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte will be matched based on their initial interest in geosciences, academic record, and demographic characteristics. Matched pairs will be randomly assigned to intervention (workshop and mentoring) or control conditions. Thereafter, women in both groups will participate in a biannual web-based survey with questions concerning their identification with math, their sense of potential fulfillment in careers in the sciences in general and geosciences specifically, their gender stereotypes of the geosciences, and their experiences with mentors. In addition, interviews will be conducted with the women in the intervention group to examine supports and challenges, and the role of the intervention in their interest and/or persistence in geoscience educations and careers. Dissemination of results will be accomplished through publication in peer-reviewed journals and presentations at professional meetings.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ANTARCTIC INTEGRATED SYS SCI | Award Amount: 155.14K | Year: 2015

The Ross Ice Shelf is the largest existing ice shelf in Antarctica, and is currently stabilizing significant portions of the land ice atop the Antarctic continent. An ice shelf begins where the land ice goes afloat on the ocean, and as such, the Ross Ice Shelf interacts with the ocean and seafloor below, and the land ice behind. Currently, the Ross Ice Shelf slows down, or buttresses, the fast flowing ice streams of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS), a marine-based ice sheet, which if melted, would raise global sea level by 3-4 meters. The Ross Ice Shelf average ice thickness is approximately 350 meters, and it covers approximately 487,000 square kilometers, an area slightly larger than the state of California. The Ross Ice Shelf has disappeared during prior interglacial periods, suggesting in the future it may disappear again. Understanding the dynamics, stability and future of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet therefore requires in-depth knowledge of the Ross Ice Shelf. The ROSETTA-ICE project brings together scientists from 4 US institutions and from the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences Limited, known as GNS Science, New Zealand. The ROSETTA-ICE data on the ice shelf, the water beneath the ice shelf, and the underlying rocks, will allow better predictions of how the Ross Ice Shelf will respond to changing climate, and therefore how the WAIS will behave in the future. The interdisciplinary ROSETTA-ICE team will train undergraduate and high school students in cutting edge research techniques, and will also work to educate the public via a series of vignettes integrating ROSETTA-ICE science with the scientific and human history of Antarctic research.

The ROSETTA-ICE survey will acquire gravity and magnetics data to determine the water depth beneath the ice shelf. Radar, LIDAR and imagery systems will be used to map the Ross Ice Shelf thickness and fine structure, crevasses, channels, debris, surface accumulation and distribution of marine ice. The high resolution aerogeophysical data over the Ross Ice Shelf region in Antarctica will be acquired using the IcePod sensor suite mounted externally on an LC-130 aircraft operating from McMurdo Station, Antarctica. Field activities will include ~36 flights on LC-130 aircraft over two field seasons in Antarctica. The IcePod instrument suite leverages the unique experience of the New York Air National Guard operating in Antarctica for NSF scientific research as well as infrastructure and logistics. The project will answer questions about the stability of the Ross Ice Shelf in future climate, and the geotectonic evolution of the Ross Ice Shelf Region, a key component of the West Antarctic Rift system. The comprehensive benchmark data sets acquired will enable broad, interdisciplinary analyses and modeling, which will also be performed as part of the project. ROSETTA-ICE will illuminate Ross ice sheet-ice shelf-ocean dynamics as the system nears a critical juncture but still is intact. Through interacting with an online data visualization tool, and comparing the ROSETTA-ICE data and results from earlier studies, we will engage students and young investigators, equipping them with new capabilities for the study of critical earth systems that influence global climate.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ROBERT NOYCE SCHOLARSHIP PGM | Award Amount: 1.19M | Year: 2015

With funding from the National Science Foundations Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship program, the Colorado College Noyce Scholarship Program is recruiting Noyce STEM Teaching Scholars in the sciences and mathematics. The project is funding 29 scholarships over 5 years: 9 of these are graduating from the 9th semester Teacher Preparation Program (Noyce Scholars) and 20 are graduating from the 5th Year Master of Arts in Teaching Program (Noyce MAT Scholars). In this project, Colorado College is collaborating with Colorado Springs School District 11 and Harrison School District 2. The goal of the project is to develop high-quality, culturally-conscious science and mathematics teachers. To achieve that goal, the project is creating a community of undergraduate Noyce STEM Interns who develop a sense of self-efficacy for teaching diverse learners and consider teaching science or mathematics as a career. To further support the goal, the curriculum is infused with the practice of culturally relevant pedagogy to prepare the teachers-in-training for the high-need schools in which they will work. The project also includes a newly-designed teacher induction program, with an integrated mentoring program, to help teachers thrive in the environment of high-need schools.

The PI team has identified four barriers to recruitment, preparation, and retention of high-quality teachers and has developed strategies to address them. The first barrier is exposure of STEM educators to culturally diverse teaching experiences. To address this barrier, the PI team is providing 20 STEM freshmen and sophomores in summer internships that focus both on culturally relevant pedagogy (CRP) and research methods and analysis. The strategy to address the lack of appropriate preparation for CRP is to integrate the principles of CRP into the teacher education curriculum. To overcome the barrier of staffing and retaining qualified STEM teachers in high-need schools, the project is combining the financial incentive of the scholarships with a rigorous clinical experience that links educational theory on multicultural education with pedagogical practice and long-term teacher professional development. To overcome the barrier of retaining thriving STEM teachers in high-need schools, the project is developing a two-year induction program that includes mentoring and intentional engagement to prevent teacher burnout. The project is being evaluated using demographic data, grades and graduation rates, lesson plan analysis, and, through surveys, student perceptions. The data collected will inform teacher preparation program nationwide in best practices to recruit, prepare and retain culturally relevant teachers for under-resourced schools.

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