Albuquerque, N.M. – The Media Arts Collaborative Charter School (MACCS) has made virtual learning more fun and engaging for students by implementing “Operation: Reconnect,” a comprehensive plan to increase students’ excitement, participation, and interest in virtual learning. Since implementation, MACCS has reached a 99% attendance rate and students are thriving while learning from home.
“Operation: Reconnect” focuses on relationship-driven contact, a progressive grading system and ten key strategies for virtual learning. MACCS teachers and staff are constantly working to develop new and exciting virtual lessons and have seen a significant increase in student collaboration and participation since school started this fall.
“Thanks to ‘Operation: Reconnect,’ our attendance has increased from 88% in September to 99% in November,” said MACCS Principal Jonathan Dooley. “Our teachers and staff are working with smaller groups of students, and we’ve implemented top strategies that work in a remote setting.”
MACCS teachers have also incentivized the grading system, allowing forgiveness on failing first term grades for students who participate fully and work to improve their grades. This system prioritizes progress and engagement, while simultaneously pushing for higher levels of academic achievement.
“Progressive grading allows us to reward our students’ learning and growing without being punitive,” said Dooley.
Alongside the school’s robust curriculum and new grading system, teachers are dialing in on students’ feelings and well-being more than ever.
Students and teachers take breaks during class to get up and move around, even while online. MACCS also utilizes music and singing to increase engagement and humor to keep kids laughing during the day. Conversations about current events are also used to gauge how students are feeling and create an open space for discussion and learning. Teachers and students have found that these activities boost morale and create an uplifting atmosphere for each student.
“Operation: Reconnect” emphasizes the importance of routine and simplicity and keeps a consistent daily structure for students. Additionally, quiet class time allows students to create and be together as a community. Routines can decrease anxiety and uncertainty of virtual learning and provide students consistency and normality.
Virtual learning is difficult, but MACCS is focused on providing students with the resources and skills needed to succeed while learning from home. Students are developing organizational and time management skills to help them succeed now and later on in their academic and professional careers.
The project-based curriculum at MACCS is focused on the areas of photography, filmmaking, web design, graphic design, and computer animation. Creative students can focus on choosing their curriculum pathway and creating a rich portfolio throughout the school year.
MACCS has won 125 awards, including nine Rocky Mountain Emmy awards, awards in National Geographic’s “Future Voices of New Mexico Photography Contest” and Microsoft’s Robo Rave. Student work has won recognition or top-place honors in several local independent film festivals, such as the Laugh Out Loud Comedy Fest and the Digital Deserts Film Festival, and the City of Albuquerque awarded MACCS the Creative Bravos Award in 2012.
MACCS has decided to continue virtual learning through April 2021 and continue implementation of “Operation: Reconnect.”
When absolutely necessary, families of special needs students may send their student to school two days a week to work online. Space is limited as schools must adhere to a 5:1 student-to-teacher ratio. MACCS will thoroughly sanitize the school buildings the days that the students are not on campus. The students that need to go to the school to participate in online classes will adhere to a socially distant and safe protocol.
“We want to do what’s best for our students and staff,” said Dooley. “We want to create the most consistent learning environment for our students. Moving back and forth between remote learning and in-person learning would add unnecessary stress to the education process.”
MACCS wants all families to know that we are here to support you beyond your student’s education. If you are in need, please reach out to us. We have a dynamic support staff that is knowledgeable about taking care of ourselves when things get overwhelming. When you feel confident, your student will feel confident as well.
To learn more about Media Arts Collaborative Charter School, visit their Facebook and Instagram. If you have any questions or concerns, contact Principal Jonathan Dooley at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your patience and understanding at this time.
Here is a link to the Governor’s Office NewMexico.gov as one central clearinghouse for all information around COVID-19. In addition, go to education information for schools and families to find the most up-to-date information from the Department of Health, Workforce Solutions, Department of Aging and Long Term Services and more. Here is a link to the Albuquerque Coordinated Resource Guide. It includes: Crisis Lines, Food Resources, and Housing. Also, the entire list of education companies offering FREE subscriptions due to school closings.
PED has a new page to help people in our communities who need assistance right now. Please share this page widely as it addresses questions about mortgage relief, utilities assistance, internet access, nutrition support, unemployment, and more.
Many New Mexicans are feeling overwhelmed, scared, and anxious right now. PED and the New Mexico Department of Health have put together this one-page memo with advice and resources for taking care of your mental health during isolation, talking to kids about COVID-19, countering virus-related stigma and racism, and more. Also, This Google Folder has additional resources including self-care tips for providers and coping skills for kids and adults.
On March 20, the USDE announced it will grant a waiver for states providing relief from federally mandated testing requirements. Due to the school closures associated with COVID 19 pandemic, New Mexico’s waiver has been submitted and can be viewed for public comment on the Assessment Memoranda page of the PED website. People can submit comments as well.
From the International District Healthy Communities Coalition
For General Information on COVID-19: New Mexico Department of Health, https://cv.nmhealth.org/ Center for Disease Control & Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html World Health Organization, https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019 Our World in Data, https://ourworldindata.org/coronavirus COVID-19 FAQ sheets available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese and Diné, CABQ.gov (view COVID-19 FAQs in multiple languages)
For Food Boxes Please see attachment and call before you make a trip for pick up.
Navajo Nation School, service, and health information for Navajo Nation vulnerable families has been built at https://navajofamilies.org It is regularly updated with tribal and state partners, and as comprehensive as possible.
The New Mexico Aging & Long-Term Services Department Anyone who is a senior or an adult with a disability who cannot access groceries to please call 1-800-432-2080. Leave a message with name, telephone number, and the city/town they reside in. They will be in contact with the person within 2 hours or sooner.
Hotlines For more speciﬁc questions from providers, facilities or the public, please continue to refer them to the NMDOH Epidemiology hotline at (505) 827-0006. NM Department of Health (NMDOH) is currently stafﬁng a Coronavirus Health Information Hotline at 1-855-600-3453.
Lastly, the health and safety of everyone at MACCS and living in New Mexico are of the utmost importance in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak. As proactive decisions are made to reduce the spread of the virus, we need to make sure 2020 Census outreach tactics shift as well.
It has never been easier to respond to the Census on your own, whether online, over the phone, or by mail—all without having to meet a census taker. Visit 2020Census.gov to complete the Census online, or call (844) 330-2020 to talk to a live Census employee who can help you fill out your form over the phone. The number for Spanish-speakers is (844) 468-2020. For a complete list of phone numbers available in different languages, visit this page of the Census website.
Here are some useful downloads:
- New Serving Times, Locations for Grab & Go Meals
- What You Need to Know about Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- Coronavirus and What It Means
- Talking to Kids about COVID-19
- 10 Facts about the Coronavirus Disease
- Social Distancing and Travel Recommendations
- United Way COVID-19 Community Economic Relief Fund
- Where to Get Food Boxes
- 10 Creative Ways to keep Kids, Teens Busy and Engaged
- Family and Youth Information about UNM SBHC Services
- FAQs about UNM SBHC Services