For many of you, the months of May and June mark the end of the school year. It’s the time of year we celebrate seniors as they complete their high school careers.

I’ve heard several people remark recently that the Class of 2022 experienced only one “normal” high school year before the pandemic hit: ninth grade. Tenth grade was interrupted in March 2020, with most schools moving to online instruction for the remainder of the year. Many spent their junior year in total remote learning or a hybrid of remote and in-person instruction.

Senior year started with masking and social distancing, with some students still doing remote or hybrid learning.

My younger son is a member of the Class of 2022. Fortunately for him and his classmates (and their photo-taking families), prom and graduation will be held in person.

I’m grateful that high school seniors can have some normalcy during graduation season. However, I can’t forget the uncertain and unsettled first days of the pandemic.

Living in a suburban neighborhood with broadband infrastructure, my family was lucky we could provide our son with a device and reliable internet access. That access allowed him to safely attend school online for his entire junior year.

Two years after the pandemic brought the homework gap into the stark light of reality, access for students is starting to improve slightly. But much work is still ahead of us. In our cover story for this issue, “Vital Connections,” Contributing Editor Glenn Cook traveled to Oklahoma to talk to school board members, students, parents, teachers, and administrators in rural districts. His story spotlights the challenges of rural broadband connections.

In “Funding for Broadband,” Associate Editor Michelle Healy speaks with technology funding experts on ways to get and use federal money for school technology needs. Kajeet General Manager Michael Flood shares some current trends in the nation’s digital divide in his article, “Homework Gap Insights.”

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions.

Until next issue. . .

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