MAPS Media Institute shifts into high gear
State of the Arts By Kristi Niemeyer
After a year’s hiatus, the MAPS Media Institute (MMI) seems to be in fast-forward mode.
The nonproﬁt organization, headed by former Hollywood producer Peter Rosten, has been awarded a ﬁve-year 21st Century Community Learning Center grant ($115,000 per year, $575,000 total), administered by Montana’s Ofﬁce of Public Instruction. The funding helps MMI provide after-school instruction in a wide range of media arts to high-school students in the Bitterroot Valley.
“This is giant for us,” says Rosten. “We’re blessed to have gotten their support.”
In addition, Montana’s Department of Labor and Industry has designated MMI as an Eligible Training Provider, which allows economically disadvantaged adults to apply for funds to attend the program.
Initially exclusive to Corvallis High School, MMI has embarked on an expansion plan to include students from all ﬁve high schools in Ravalli County. The new program, offered after school Mondays-Thurs-days, commences Sept. 14 in MMI’s own facility in the Westview Center, a former junior high school in Hamilton.
Down the road and as funding permits, the organization also aims to add a daily program during school hours for students in Hamilton, Corvallis and Darby. A survey conducted this spring predicted an enrollment of 70 schoolday enrollees and 200 after-school participants.
MMI is also expanding its curriculum offerings to include creation and production of television commercials, short ﬁlms, documentaries, website design and advertising tools and journalism. The latter includes production of a “60 Minutes”-style magazine show, written, reported and produced by Ravalli County students.
Rosten will continue to teach students how to make television commercials, public service announcements, short ﬁlms and music videos. Other teachers include Steve Slocum, documentary ﬁlms; Mike Henderson, website design; and Ian Marquand, broadcast journalism.
The faculty, says Rosten, “knows what this business looks like, we know the services we want to train for and their monetary value.”
All curriculum areas include creation or formulation of content, writing skills, production and post-production work (which includes editing and computer skills) and work-place competencies (deﬁned as problem-solving, group dynamics and presentation skills).
Teaching kids to succeed in a business environment is woven throughout the curriculum, which includes a creative section, where students “share all facets of the creative process on an even playing ﬁeld,” and a business component that provides hands-on experience in managerial and ﬁnancial responsibilities.
“This is about jobs,” Rosten says. “Our clients come to us.”
MMI’s roster of clients includes the Ravalli County Youth Suicide Prevention Alliance, the Ravalli County DUI Task Force, the Montana Association of Students Financial Aid Administrators and the Marcus Daly Hospital. The most lucrative project was an advertisement created for the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, which paid MAPS $75,000 for two 30-second spots that ran in 38 states.
Rosten believes the organization’s track record was key to receiving the 21st Century Community Learning Center grant. “They knew what they were buying,” he says.
The federal program supports the creation of community learning centers that provide academic enrichment opportunities during non-school hours. Although most afterschool programs supported by 21st Century grants are geared toward younger children, MMI is aimed at high-school students.
MMI will also be listed as an Eligible Training Provider on the state’s website, www.mtjoblinc.com. While this means adults could enroll in the program, “our focus is largely high-school kids.”
“Our big idea is to create a media production company that not only builds communication skills, but builds valuable job skills too,” he adds. “It’s one thing to send a kid from Montana into the world. It’s another thing to bring the world to us.”
• MAPS Media Institute: mediarts.org
• 21st Century Learning Centers: www.ed.gov/programs/21stcclc
• Eligible Training Providers: The list is posted online at www.mtjoblinc.com/training.asp. To learn more about that program, contact Sue Butler in the Department of Labor and Industry Workforce Services Division, 406-444-2958 or email@example.com.