Navigating Magellan through
2020-2021

From Scott Hibbard, Head of School

As we proceed through the 2020-2021 school year, we recognize that the last few months have been challenging for all of us. COVID-19 has reshaped our lives, our families, our businesses, our economy, and our world. At Magellan, we’re committed to providing a stable ecosystem for our students to learn amidst uncertainty, conflicting health and safety advice and inconsistent direction from government entities.

The decisions made around our academic models for the 2020-2021 school year have not been made lightly. We are challenged to balance an ideal educational environment with the health and safety of our students as well as our faculty and staff.

When Magellan shifted to home learning this past March and completed the school year in this mode, we hoped that the health conditions in our Austin community would improve throughout the summer. As we have seen, public health has significantly worsened over the last month in many states and metropolitan areas across the US, and in particular, here in Texas.

Due to these conditions and with guidance regarding on-campus instruction published by Austin Public Health on July 14, 2020, we started the school year on Tuesday, August 18 with students in PP4 – 8th grade participating in Home Learning for the first three weeks of classes. On Tuesday, September 8, our campuses opened for on campus instruction through small class sizes for our youngest learners and hybrid and 100% distance program offerings for students in grade 1-8.

All Magellan families are expected to follow strict health and safety guidelines and protocols for their children to attend school, and we remain committed to providing every child with an exceptional experience and the social emotional support they need. Together with community collaboration, we can keep our campuses as safe as possible for the students, faculty and staff. Just as we are committed to keeping #MagellanTogether by providing financial assistance to families in need, we are equally committed to keeping our campuses as healthy and safe as possible.

The Health & Safety Advisory Committee – in collaboration with the school’s Leadership Team – is providing ongoing input on policies and protocols for learning on campus. These policies and protocols include expectations for both families and school staff and can be reviewed in the document to the right.

It is possible that we will be required to close in person classes during the school year. At that time, all programs – regardless of grade level – will shift to a home learning environment. We are confident strength of our home learning program will provide a robust continuance of our student’s education from home.

Our preschool students will open on September 8 in a full-time, 5 day/week program. Based upon our experiences this spring and best practices, in person learning for children of this age is essential. Class sizes will be modified to accommodate 10 students per classroom. Regular full time home learning will not be available for students in PP3 and PP4 (unless the school is mandated to close).
Our kinder students will open on September 8 in a full-time, 5 day/week program. This decision is based upon the essential literacy foundation at this grade level and the class composition (50% of students are new to Magellan and to a Spanish-immersion model). Class sizes will be modified to accommodate 10 students per classroom. Please note that regular full time home learning will not be available for students in Kinder unless the school is mandated to close.
Primary students in grades 1 – 5 will start the school year in a hybrid model where each class is separated into two groups (cohort A, cohort B). The hybrid model allows us to reduce in-person class size to mitigate health risks. Cohorts will rotate on a weekly basis with half the students attending school in person, on campus for one full week and half the students participating in home learning for one full week. Each classroom will have a lead teacher for in person learning. First and second grade classes will also have shared assistants. During Home Learning, we will have a separate full-time teacher providing instruction for every two classrooms (e.g. during week A, this teacher will work with the 1st A and 1st B cohorts who are learning from home that week). The lead teachers and the Home Learning teachers will meet on a weekly basis to plan their lessons and activities and ensure that learning is integrated across the two modes of instruction.

Families may choose to have their child participate only in Home Learning in 1st – 5th grades.

Our Middle School students will start the school year in a Hybrid model, where each class is divided into two groups (cohort A, cohort B). The hybrid model allows us to reduce in-person class size to mitigate health risks. Cohorts will rotate on a weekly basis with half the students attending school in person, on campus, for one full week and half the students participating in home learning for one full week. Middle School families may choose to have their child remain at home and participate in 100% home learning.