Graduation dates for the Class of 2022 have been set.

Massac County High School graduation will be Friday, May 13, 2022, while Massac Junior High School graduation is scheduled for Thursday, May 12, 2022.

The Massac County Unit 1 Board of Education approved the dates during its Dec. 20 meeting.

The board also approved a new internet/telephone contract with Clear Wave. Superintendent Jason Hayes noted Unit 1 is currently under contract with the company. The new five-year contract will take effect July 1, 2022.

Through the new contract Unit 1 will receive an upgrade to its internet service from the current 1 gigabyte per second to 5 GB/s.

“That’s expanding for the future,” Hayes said, noting “the monthly price (will go) up (to $12,104), but our monthly (internet) reimbursement is also going up (to 90%, or $9,971.10 per month), so our out-of-pocket expense will go down (to $2,132.90 per month). We’ll pay less out of pocket per month and have five times the band width and unlimited long distance.”

The expansion will assist the district in the future.

“We don’t need it now, but in five years, we probably will,” Hayes said “We have more and more devices on our networks. Tom can track how many devices are connected, how long they’re connected, how much data they’re using — it goes up every month.”

Tom Walker is Unit 1’s director of technology. In his annual technology report during the board’s June 28 meeting, Walker reported he had deployed 2,100 devices during the 2020-21 school year with every student and teacher having a Chromebook and other miscellaneous Chromebooks in labs. Walker started using Google Chrome in fall 2012 with five devices; that number grew to 800 in 2016. Also during last school year, the use of Google Classroom increased 150% since the 2019-20 year. From December 2020 through May 2021, 4.1 million emails were sent and received through the district email, a number that doubled from the same period the previous year.

“This was all his brain child,” Hayes said back in June. “(Walker) got us involved in Google Education when he first came on board in 2008. We were very early on in Google Education Suite. We were one of the first to start the SECURLY internet filter, also; so we’ve been early adopters on all this. That’s the result of Mr. Walker; he’s always trying to get out there and get ahead of things. It really paid off (during the 2020-21 school) year because we had the capability, applications and resources already and had them for years.”

In other business on Dec. 20, the board:

• Approved the appointment of Kathy Rushing as interim board secretary to fill in over the holidays.

• Gave its final approval for the 2021 tax year levy resolution.

• Gave its final approval of policy updates, which had their first reading at the November meeting. These are posted online at unit1.massac.org/district-info.

• Approved submission of the FY 22 property tax relief grant application.

• Approved the school improvement plans for Metropolis Elementary School and MJHS, which are required for the Illinois Empower Program.

• Approved the resignation of Kelly Medley as MCHS custodian.

• Approved the employments of: Morgan Capen as MCHS assistant baseball coach; Alison Aranjo as MCHS night custodian; and Sabrina Beck as MCHS assistant girls track coach.

• Took no a action taken on the Student A suspension hearing.

• And, tabled the practice field work at MCHS.

Board President Mark Souders thanked Frank Clapp for his years of service at Massac Unit 1 and noted he will be missed. Clapp is the day maintenance custodian at MCHS and is retiring at the end of December.

The board’s next meeting is 6:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 24, 2022, in the MCHS library.

Massac students will resume classes on Monday, Jan. 3, 2022. There will be no school on Monday, Jan. 17, 2022, in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

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