New Mexico Academy for the Media Arts

“Operation: Reconnect” at Media Arts

March 12, 2020 8:56 pm/By Jonathan Dooley

Media Arts COVID-19 Response Guidebook

Media Arts ESSER III American Rescue Plan (ARP) Application, 2021-22

Media Arts – 2022-23 Plan for Safe Return to In-Person Instruction & Continued Services


About New Mexico Academy for the Media Arts

New Mexico Academy for the Media Arts (formerly Media Arts Collaborative Charter School) is the premier film, visual arts, and graphic design school in New Mexico. The tuition-free charter school allows students grades 6-12 to pursue coursework in photography, filmmaking, graphic design, and computer animation. 

Graduates are prepared to succeed in media industry careers or enter college programs. This success is a result of opportunities both inside and out of the classroom where students can pursue internships such as managing live sports broadcasts. 

The Curriculum

As part of the curriculum, students participate in project-based learning to develop understanding in core subject. Students incorporate creative projects with regular coursework to bolster learning. Students also fulfill industry-level internships prior to graduation.

The curriculum is enhanced by access to state-of-the-art equipment. Students can explore a passion for the media arts in a film production studio, an art studio and a photography studio with the latest digital cameras and editing programs. 

Students also participate in competitions through the STEM program and explore the voices of our rich, diverse history in our Humanities program.

Teachers and Awards

Instructors are experts in their fields – earning PhDs and Master’s degrees, or working in their respective industry before teaching. Through the dedication of the school’s educators, students have earned national awards, including 12 Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards and over 30 National Geographic Future Voices of NM photography awards. 

Professional Industry Affiliations

Media Arts is proudly affiliated with several industry organizations like the Society of Motion Pictures and Television Engineers® (SMPTE®) and the New Mexico Film Foundation. Partners like these help students develop relationships with leading professionals. 

Apply for the Fall ’23 Semester

Back to in-person learning, Media Arts is accepting applications for the 2023-2024 school year through


Albuquerque, N.M. – The NM Academy for the Media Arts has made learning more fun and engaging for students by implementing “Operation: Reconnect,” a comprehensive plan to increase students’ excitement, participation, and interest. Since implementation, Media Arts has reached a robust attendance rate and students are thriving.

“Operation: Reconnect” focuses on relationship-driven contact and a progressive grading system. Media Arts teachers and staff are constantly working to develop new and exciting lessons and have seen a significant increase in student collaboration and participation.  

“Thanks to ‘Operation: Reconnect,’ our attendance has increased from 88% in September to 99% in November 2020,” said Principal Jonathan Dooley. “Our teachers and staff are working with smaller groups of students, and we’ve implemented top strategies that work.”

Media Arts 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. Media Arts also utilizes increased 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 decrease anxiety and uncertainty, and provide students with consistency and normality. 

In essence, Media Arts is focused on providing students with the resources and skills needed to succeed. 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 Media Arts 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.

Media Arts has won 125 awards, including 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.

Media Arts has continue implementation of “Operation: Reconnect” because of its overwhelming success. “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.”

Media Arts wants all families to know that they are here for support beyond the student’s education. If families are in need, please reach out to the school. They have a dynamic support staff that is knowledgeable about how to take care of ourselves when things get overwhelming. When families feel confident, students will feel confident as well.

To learn more about the NM Academy for the Media Arts, visit their Facebook and Instagram. Thank you for your patience and understanding at this time.

Here is a link to the Governor’s Office 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, Center for Disease Control & Prevention, World Health Organization, Our World in Data, COVID-19 FAQ sheets available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese and Diné,  (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  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.

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