Tag Archive | Carlos Martinez

Alton Central School (ACS) Board Votes 3 – 2 AGAINST ‘Common Core’ — Whatever The Vote Was Supposed To Mean!

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>> How come no ACS teachers attended … — Aug. 10, 2013.
>> ACS Board Aug. 8 Workshop … — Aug. 9, 2013.
>> ACS Workshop … should be hilarious — July 31, 2013.
>> ACS board not 100% behind Common Core? — June 11, 2013.

++++ Do a SEARCH on ‘Common Core’ or ‘Alton Central’ from
Sidebar search trench for other related posts >>>>>


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The ACS School Board vote at the September 16, 2013, meeting, however pathetic it might have been, duly confirmed my contention following the June Board Meeting that the ACS Administration and staff did NOT have the Board backing when it comes to Common Core.

This is why I have agitated, as the minutes from the Board meeting clearly show, to get a straight up-down vote from the Board on this.

It happened and it came out as I had expected — with the Board showing its contempt for ‘CC’.

I knew how Steve Miller was going to vote. He had already stated his support for CC for the record.

I was glad and impressed that Sandy Wyatt voted for CC. It is now official: Deanna and I think she is GOOD, VERY GOOD.

I had planned to get up at the first public input session and ask the Principal why teachers from ACS had not attended the Board meetings to present their side of the story.

Though I did bring it up, I did not have to. There were about 7 or 8 (maybe more) ACS teachers present, led by 6th grade teacher Mr. Richard Kirby, who I think represents the ACS teachers in some capacity. He stood up and spoke maybe four times. He did a good job of refuting the crazy claims about CC and also clearly stating the case of the teachers as to why they are in favor of CC. Thank you Mr. Kirby. Mr. Kirby, however, is not a lawyer nor a politician and as such was not as forceful as he should have been with the rebuttals. I see that a lot with teachers. They kind of get out of practice arguing with adults.

I was delighted to see Carol Locke, the Principal of Gilmanton School, at the meeting to defend and promote CC and also to unequivocally refute some crazy statements related to teachers resigning from Gilmanton because of CC that had been made at the August Workshop. That is the first time I had seen her, let alone met her. When she got up and stated her address (which she didn’t have to do) I realized that we were neighbors and that I even walk past her house on occasion. In addition to speaking as the Principal she also spoke as an Alton resident and grandparent. She has my thanks. She was impressive.

Mr. William Lander, the Superintendent, made a VERY GOOD forceful statement on behalf of the administration and staff as to their belief and commitment in CC.

But that was all in vain.

Politics prevailed. They were not voting on CC. They were voting on ideological political beliefs and their profound fear of anything that is other than their cherished ‘local control’.

But, here is the irony and I knew that this would be the case ever since I asked for the vote.

The vote meant nothing.

It changed nothing, it changes nothing!

Yes, to be fair some of the members did point this out before the vote — viz. that they were not sure what they were voting for or against.

But, they voted against their support of ‘CC’.

However, ACS is already committed and on track with a CC-based curriculum, books and testing for the 2013 – 2014 school year. That die is cast. Rotate has been reached and exceeded.

To change course they will have to take some other votes.

Mrs. Locke (first) and I (second) BOTH stood up in the second public input and asked for clarification as to what the voted meant, its ramification.

Mr. Lander, to his credit again, pointed out that the vote didn’t change anything. He was on the ball today. I was impressed.

I chased after Mr. Kirby, who left (no doubt in disgust) after the vote and asked him if he understood what the vote meant. He didn’t.

What a Board.

Of, there was healthy applause from the public gallery, but not the teachers, when the vote failed. Sad.

But, I want to applaud and thank four individuals that truly impressed me today:
Richard Kirby, Carol Locke, Sandy Wyatt & William Lander.

Alton Central School (ACS) Superintendent, Bill Lander, Cancels Board Meeting Set For Today, Monday, August 26, 2013. How Convenient?

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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Anura Guruge


Related posts:
1. Aug. 26 School Board meeting … — Aug. 26, 2013.
2. Hiring a once suspended facilitator … — Aug. 22, 2013.
3. ACS Board Chair ‘promoting’ facilitator … — Aug. 22, 2013.
4. Board members: To Disclose or Not … — Apr. 14, 2013.


Click to ENLARGE.

Click to ENLARGE.


Sheer genius. You have to hand it to them. So clever.

At least for that Alton taxpayers should be grateful. How many of YOU taxpayers actually realize that Mr. William ‘Bill’ Lander, Superintendent, despite the generous full-pay he receives only works part-time — with the blessing of the Board? Many of you probably can’t even remember. But the deal was that the new Superintendent, as opposed to the last ‘Pluto is a Planet’ advocate, was going to be full-time. We certainly pay him what appears to be a full-time salary. But, I found out, from the horse’s mouth itself, that he negotiated part-time hours! Has to be nice.

So, he cancels the Board Meeting, and avoids any discussion on the hiring of the $3,000 strategic plan facilitator, and says it is because it clashes with ‘Back to School Night’.

So did THEY forget it was Back to School Night?

How convenient … and other words beginning in ‘c’.

As some of you may have realized I like words. I like to play with words. After this strategic planner embroglio I have a new mind game to keep me amused in moments of idleness. You TOO can play it with me. How many words starting with ‘D’ can you come up with to describe this the latest School Board fiasco — with the exemplary Steve Miller, as ever, the exception.

The Town, the Selectmen, should give Steve Miller an award: The True Champion Of Alton Youth.

Well, looks like we the Alton taxpayers got shafted again. 

Alton Central School (ACS) Website CLAIMS That There Is A School Board Meeting, Monday, August 26, 2013. Is That True?

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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Anura Guruge


Related posts:
1. Hiring a once suspended facilitator … — Aug. 22, 2013.
2. ACS Board Chair ‘promoting’ facilitator … — Aug. 22, 2013.
3. Board members: To Disclose or Not … — Apr. 14, 2013.


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Click …


Given that we don’t miss many ACS School Board meetings, and I do pay some attention to what is being said, I do not think this is correct.

But, it was on the ACS Website all through this crucial weekend — as parents get ready for the first day of school on Tuesday, August 27.

It would be really, really good IF there is indeed a Board Meeting on Monday.

IF this is a mistake it will be quite embarrassing for the administration. Deanna has already fired off e-mails to the school and I have given a heads-up to a ‘friend’.

As the always redoubtable Board Member Steve Miller has stated, he wants a revote on the facilitator for the crucial ACS Strategic Plan.

I get a feeling that the ACS Superintendent, Bill Lander, for obvious reasons, is doing his best to either not have a revote or have it done in ‘private’ or even by phone. If he does we will still bring it up a the next school board.

These shenanigans involving Alton taxpayer money has to stop.

We are not being told anything about the 3rd party, independent bullying investigation that took place over the Summer. I am fairly certain that the Board paid for that investigation. At a minimum I want to know how much was paid. IF you were an Alton taxpayer wouldn’t you like to know.

One of the big problems is that this is a Board with secrets who love to do things in secret. That hardly anybody turns up to their ever so non-transparent meetings just emboldens a few of them. I wish more folks would attend, or at least watch the tapes.

Watch Alton Central (ACS) School Board Chair Read Glowing Synopsis Of Once Suspended Facilitator With NO Mention Of Suspension.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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Anura Guruge


The prior ‘hire the $3,000 Facilitator’ post
with ‘Breaking News’ retraction
from Board Member Steve Miller.


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This is classic. Watch this. Listen to the Chair, Sandy Wyatt, read this glowing resume. She reads about her tenure at Raymond. What is missing? Just the dates. Nothing more, nothing less. 

This resume was provided to her by the Superintendent, Mr. Bill Lander, who admits, and it is on this very tape, that he knows this person. Talk about keeping the public in the dark.

Watch and be amazed. This is your elected officials at work.

That said, I feel bad for Sandy Wyatt. I don’t know her and I am not sure, and I could be wrong, but I think she is not Machiavellian. In this instance she was set up by Mr. Lander. For that I feel bad. But, she, as the Chair, must have some powers to question and censure.


Facilitator Hired By Alton Central (ACS) SCHOOL BOARD, For $3,000, To Spearhead Crucial ‘Strategic Plan’ Suspended In Raymond Last September.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>> ACS Strategic Plan stumbles … — Aug. 22, 2013.
>> ACS Aug. 20, 2013 Board Meeting — Aug. 20, 2013.

>> ACS Board Aug. 8 Workshop … — Aug. 9, 2013.
++++ Do a SEARCH ‘Alton Central’ from Sidebar search trench for other related posts >>>>>


Breaking News

Click to ENLARGE.

Click to ENLARGE.

….
This is indeed interesting news. I was under the impression that
Superintendent, Mr. Bill Lander,
had briefed the Board, in non-public session, as to this matter.

Why would he have not done so?

Did he not think it was germane?


Key Points:

§ Superintendent, Mr. Bill Lander, who proposed Jean Richards, with unstinted praise, never mentioned this suspension in public session.

§ Board Members present at the August 8 meeting where this was approved: Sandy Wyatt, Terri Noyes, Steve Miller & Carlos Martinez.

§ Suspension from Raymond took place in September 2012 — less than a year ago.

§ It is not clear from the 2nd (Raymond) report, but there still appears to be residual cases in court.

§ She is now Superintendent of a school district, Monroe, with 72 students? Link.

§ Why weren’t any other Superintendents considered, or was this (another) insider-job given that Mr. Lander has indicated that he ‘knows’ her?

§ Given that bullying in various forms is a major issue at ACS it seems ironic that the Board would decide to hire a facilitator who was at ‘troubled’ Raymond.

§ To me this is another example of this board being insensitive to the parents & kids at ACS and thumbing their nose, yet again, at the bullying issues!

§ I hear, and I do not as yet, have the details, that Alton’s Prospect Mountain High School is facing a bullying lawsuit. So, the Board hires this facilitator for their strategic plan? What are they drinking?


Click to access.

Click to access.


Click ...

Click …


School Board Chair reading glowing account of proposed facilitator
with no mention of the suspension (and resignation).

Alton Central School (ACS) School Board Meeting, August 12, 2013 — DISSOLVED Due To Lack Of Quorum! W.T.F.!

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>> NOT a single teacher from ACS … — Aug. 10, 2013.
>> ACS Board Aug. 8 Workshop … — Aug. 9, 2013.

++++ Do a SEARCH on ‘Common Core’ or ‘Alton Central’ from
Sidebar search trench for other related posts >>>>>


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AWOLAug12


This was beyond the pale.

This was unacceptable.

This was unprofessional.

This was rude.

None of the three even bothered to call, e-mail (or even text) the Superintendent or the Chair to say that they would not be making it (or at least that is what they implied). We (Deanna, I and Steve Parker from the Public) all sat and waited … till 6.15.
<< See BELOW >>

If it was an emergency one would hope that these folks have a family member that could have called.

I felt genuinely sorry for the Chair Sandy Wyatt. She tries. She deserves better respect than THIS from her own Board Members. She looked slightly bemused seated there …

This was very uncharacteristic for Steve Miller. That was commented upon by the few that were there.

Yes, I better than most understand that things come up and that everybody has a personal life in addition to their civic and professional duties.

The Principal Sydney Leggett wasn’t there either, but her absence was expected as I was led to believe.

But, not to let anyone know ahead of time was rude ….  And we are talking about 3 people here. Yes, if one didn’t bother to notify, I could handle that.

Third School Board meeting, counting last Thursday’s workshop, that Krista Argiropolis has missed. I think, and I could be wrong, that she missed another earlier in the year.

Contrary to what many may believe this is not a strictly volunteer position. The board members do get a stipend — though I think Steve Miller gives it back (or does something similar). The stipend is $1,000 a year I think. Yes, they do much more than attend the meetings, but …

I get a feeling that there is some gameplay involved here.

But this was a bad and dangerous game to play.

Yes, as ever, there was hardly any public. Apathy reigns. Parents only appear to care about renovating the building. Sad. A building does not a school make. But, obviously that is the thinking in town.

Well, a bid had to be granted today. It could not because there was no meeting.

I am, as is my wont of late, going to stand up, if nothing else but for the record, and demand that the Board adopt a set of rules as to their conduct.

I found out today that School Board members are NOT obligated to attend any of the meetings. Once elected they could miss every meeting.

That has to change.

This was bad.



I have since found out that TWO (2) Board Members (and yes, I know who they are but won’t mention their names to avoid embarrassing the third) quite correctly, per SAU policy, e-mailed the Superintendent, William ‘Bill’ Lander earlier that day. Mr. Lander got the e-mails and was aware that they would NOT be attending.

The third member rather than e-mailing Lander e-mailed the Chair instead. Not sure whether she got that e-mail prior to the meeting.

LANDER never disclosed to us, the public, that he had heard from two of the members.

There was NO REASON for him not to do so — other than maybe just plain bad manners.

This is why at the next School Board meeting I demanded that they add a permanent Agenda Item, right after the pledge, that says: ‘Regrets From Board Members’.

That should preclude Lander playing all coy and as usual by his own rules.

This was mainly Lander’s fault for not telling us.



How Come NOT A Single Teacher From Alton Central School (ACS) Or Prospect Attended School Board ‘Common Core’ Workshop?

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>> ACS Board Aug. 8 Workshop … — Aug. 9, 2013.
>> ACS Workshop … should be hilarious — July 31, 2013.
>> ACS board not 100% behind Common Core? — June 11, 2013.

++++ Do a SEARCH on ‘Common Core’ or ‘Alton Central’ from
Sidebar search trench for other related posts >>>>>


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So how come not a SINGLE TEACHER from Alton Central School (ACS) or Alton’s Prospect Mountain High School attended the much vaunted School Board workshop to discuss Common Core?

It is not like teachers don’t attend School Board meetings. They were there in droves earlier in the year when the $18M Bond was being discussed — all seated regimentally together. They attend when awards are being given out.

But, come this crucial, ‘KEY TO THE KIDS’ meeting on Common Core they are conspicuous by their absence.

It could not have been a coincidence or accident.

They were either telling us something or had been told by the Administration to stay away.

Their absence can be interpreted in multiple ways.

As I already said I was disappointed and amazed that the Administration did NOT stand up and defend their decision to pursue Common Core — at least in 2013 – 2014.

We had ancient folks from out-of-town standing up and talking about their teaching experiences from the 1970s — as if that had any bearing on CC.

There were all these non-educators that stood up and claimed that various teachers and unions were against CC.

Wouldn’t it have been wonderful to have some of OUR teachers there to give us THEIR impressions.

Because in the end, it is what they think that really matters?

I could be wrong but I have a sneaking feeling that the Administration told them to stay clear to avoid any flack!

That the Administration, to their dismay or otherwise, knows that they do not have a majority support by the Board is probably influencing their decisions.

Don’t we have an anointed, much-hailed ‘Champion of the Children’? How come he wasn’t there? Whether you support CC or not, somebody OTHER THAN the estimable School Board member, Steve Miller, the GUARDING of Alton’s school kids, needs to be there to represent the kids.

The Administration clearly demonstrated that they are not going to stand up.

I am doing my part. Don’t forget that it was I that got the ball rolling on CC — since I knew that we had an issue even more divisive than the $18M Bond. So I am doing my part — though I really am not passionate one way or another about CC. I am a great believer that you can take a child to a playground but you can’t get her to go on the monkey-bars.

Alton Central (ACS) School Board Summer ‘Workshop’, Thursday, August 8, 2013: Bar Common Core Segment The Rest Was A Non-Event.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>> ACS Workshop … should be hilarious — July 31, 2013.
>> ACS board not 100% behind Common Core? — June 11, 2013.

++++ Do a SEARCH on ‘Common Core’ or ‘Alton Central’ from
Sidebar search trench for other related posts >>>>>


I urge you to watch the video as soon as it is available.

I will update this post with a link to it — as soon as Deanna spots it online.


The Workshop from 1: 30 to 3:45 pm was devoid of a audience bar us and a substitute teacher taking notes for the local rag. That was IT!

The Workshop from 1: 30 to 3:45 pm was devoid of a audience bar us and a substitute teacher taking notes for the local rag. That was IT! One of the Board Members was also missing — for the 2nd meeting in a row. Must be taking the Summer off.


I got up and spoke at least 5 times -- I think. Got one major breakthrough. Motion passed, unanimously, that in future MOST public documents discussed by the Board will be displayed, via a 'magic lantern', on the big screen so we can all see what the heck they are talking about.

I got up and spoke at least 5 times — I think. Got one major breakthrough. Motion passed, unanimously, that in future MOST public documents discussed by the Board will be displayed, via a ‘magic lantern’, on the big screen so we can all see what the heck they are talking about. This picture was taken around 3:50 when the CROWDS poured in for the Common Core segment. Didn’t see many Alton parents. A lot of old folks — even older than ME!


It really was a Workshop in two parts: 3 hours of tedium and paper shuffling from 1 to 4 and then 1:20 minutes of rather amusing (if not for the fact that it was so sad) live entertainment along the lines of ‘no, I don’t believe you‘ rhetoric on Common Core.

When we got there just at 1pm my friends Raymond Howard and Steve Miller were there. I was glad. I actually went and sat with them leaving Deanna to sit in the front row. By 1:30 Ray and Steve had both left, albeit after Ray had given one of his pithy and always to the point remarks, in public input, that he always gets the feeling that the Board just loves to spend our money. Ray and Steve had work to do. I feared this with the timing of this Workshop.

So from 1:30 till 3:45 when busloads of ol’ folks turned up to contribute to the Common Core entertainment Deanna and I were the only bona fide PUBLIC at the meeting.

This is beyond the pale. It is diabolic.

Though nothing of IMPORT transpired the agenda for this Workshop included ‘Building Discussion’ and ‘Strategic Plan’, in addition to ‘Common Core’.

So in February – March we had all those fireworks about ACS building renovation and the $18 M bond, now come August no other parents can spare 2 hours to attend this Workshop?

I got up and had my say about this. I claimed that this Board in general, though there are two notable exceptions, make the public feel unwelcome and redundant. Their habit of glibly discussing documents that the public does not get to see is a classical example of this. Yesterday they spend 50 minutes talking about two documents and we (i.e., Deanna and I) had no idea what they were talking about. Bloody waste of our time — but that is how this Board views us. Mere taxpaying chattel — because we are not as rich and famous as they are!

Well, at least, with the help of Carlos Martinez and Steve Miller, I did get a motion passed — unanimously. In future we, the public, will get to see, on the big screen, via a ‘magic lantern’, the documents being discussed by this august board — though, of course, they retained the right, to arbitrarily override this provision when it is not convenient to them or the Administration. Well, we will see how this transpires. Dying to see the minutes.

That there have only been 4 members at this and the last board meeting was beneficial. These 4 members kind of balance each other out. I wonder how many board meetings you can miss before your conscience tells you that you need to quit?

In reality, other than this ‘public display’ motion that I forced them to adopt, the only real action that came out of this Workshop was the formation of a 22 member Strategic Team to look at EVERYTHING pertaining to the future of ACS — including buildings and grounds.

Deanna volunteered to be one of the team members — representing the parents. [To be fair, I was also asked, but I declined because I have never been a committee person. I am broadband.]

Steve Miller will also be on the team representing the Board. That is wonderful. I am glad. So in some ways I know that I am well represented on this Strategic Team: Deanna and Steve. What more can I wish for.

The Common Core was something else — as I knew it would be.

The Administration, to their shame, punted the ball. Neither the Principal nor the Superintendent, William Lander, Esq., had the gumption to stand up and defend what they claim that they believe in.

Instead they got a young lady, quite impressive, from the Dept. of Education, in Concord, to be their proxy. She was politic and didn’t know as much as she should have. She was outsmarted and out-researched by the Common Core detractors.

I know folks will scream at ME but I really have no skin in the game when it comes to Common Core.

Though I have a Master’s and have taught (adults) extensively, I am not a great believer in formal education! So to me Common Core, Apple Core, Metal Core are all the same. Yes, it is also true that I will make sure that my kids know the basics of what they need to know — by hook or by crooks. Once you know the basics, the rest is up to the individual. At least that is how it worked for me.

What cracks me up about Common Core is that our current principal Sydney Leggett has been talking about CC ad nauseum ever since she became Principal. She has told me, on the record, that ACS is committed to CC for 2013 – 2014,

I tried to get a vote — and vote of confidence — on CC yesterday. Check the tape. Sandy Wyatt, the Chair, who I have learnt to respect immensely, and have found is far more savvy than she lets on, very glibly brushed my request aside. By I will try again at the next board meeting which I think is this coming Monday. I want a vote by this Board — for the record.

I think, if Mrs. Wyatt allows me, that the vote will indicate that THIS board is not in support of CC! We know that Carlos Martinez will vote against it. He has to. He has no choice. I know that Steve (my friend) does support CC and did, BRAVELY, go on the record the last time we spoke about it. As ever kudos to Steve. So they cancel out each other. Let me take a stab at this. I think the vote will be 4 – 1 AGAINST CC! So where does that leave Mrs. Leggett?

I did hear something interesting yesterday. Though I had also heard a statement to the contrary at an earlier meeting, there was a muttering that Mrs. Leggett may never have got a VOTE from the Board to proceed with CC. Oh dear!

IF I had a say, I will stand with Mrs. Leggett. We need SOME standards and CC is a standard. That I am a UNESCO-brat may or may not have anything to do with it. But since I am a foreigner I don’t count anyway.

But, let me please urge all ACS parents to WATCH THE TAPE.

make up your own mind. Come to the meetings. They sure beat TV.

Alton Central (ACS) School Board Summer ‘Workshop’ — Thursday, August 8, 2013, 1 pm – 5 pm. It Should Be Hilarious.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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by
Anura Guruge


Related posts:
++++ Do a SEARCH on ‘Common Core’ or ‘Alton Central’ from
Sidebar search trench for other related posts >>>>>


entertainmentmaskAt this ‘workshop’, originally billed, erroneously, by the Superintendent, William Lander, as ‘the retreat’, will address, in public, ‘Common Core‘ and the new charter for the ‘Buildings & Grounds Committee‘.

There is also a session on the future vision of the board, but I think there is nothing that cannot be easily and inexpensively fixed there with some pairs of Dollar Store reading glasses.

The scheduled 1 hour segment for discussing ‘Common Core’ should prove to be the BEST public forum entertainment that has been available in Alton all Summer. Forget the July 3rd fireworks. The fireworks during this session should be spectacular. Jane Cormier, Alton’s indefatigable State Rep, Jane Cormier, per her husband, School Board member Carlos Martinez, will attend and speak on this issue. Per a request I had made in May, Carlos asked whether she could be on the agenda. That was denied. She will have to speak during ‘public input’ so to speak. This should be a very entertaining hour.

Now that the Board, made an about-turn, and decided that they are not going to move the 4th Grade modulars, we should also have some fun discussions during the ‘Buildings & Grounds’ segment.

I am assuming that the SAU, will per custom, tape all of this and put it on YouTube. My guess is that parts of this will go viral. Now if we could only monetize that through YouTube. That will pay for a $36 M school.

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