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Knickerbacker Middle School Multi-Year Improvement Plan a Success

March 29, 2023

Lansingburgh Central School District is proud to announce Knickerbacker Middle School has received an accountability status of “Local Support and Improvement” (LSI) - the best possible school accountability status - from the New York State Education Department (NYSED). Under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), public school districts nationwide are held accountable for how their students succeed. ESSA is the primary federal law governing national K-12 public education.  

Each state has its own accountability system for its schools based on ESSA criteria. New York State classifies schools into different accountability categories by considering multiple factors. These include student academic performance, absenteeism, social-emotional learning, student growth and more. NYSED accountability categories from highest to lowest are:

  • Local Support and Improvement (LSI, previously known as "In Good Standing”). The highest possible accountability status.
  • Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI).
  • Targeted Support and Improvement (TSI). 

All schools, no matter their accountability status, are encouraged by NYSED to continuously improve, which is why "In Good Standing" was recently updated to the LSI status. While the LSI status is the highest achievable, the change in the name is meant to encourage schools meeting NYS regulatory education requirements to continue striving for improvement with the local support of their district.

In December 2018, Lansingburgh was informed Knickerbacker Middle School (KMS) had been identified as a Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) school. Both school and district administration began improvement planning right away and by January 2019 a multi-year process to improve upon the CSI determination had begun. Step one was developing an improvement plan (per NYSED, a School Comprehensive Education Plan (SCEP) which needed to be implemented at the start of the following school year and then updated for each following school year until the KMS accountability status improved.

The KMS improvement plan was put into action at the start of the 2019-2020 School Year, and it has been updated each school year based on the latest student and school data. Of note is that starting in 2019-2020, three school years in a row faced some level of COVID-19 pandemic-related disruption.

Examples of some key strategies from the 2022-2023 version of the KMS improvement plan include the following.

Ally Program: Formed with the intent of ensuring every KMS student has a teacher, staff member, or counselor to reach out to for support. The program is based on individual student needs. Some students meet with their allies weekly, some meet monthly and some quarterly or only as needed. This includes checking in during lunches, after school meetings, and quarterly scheduled ally events at school. The program has helped build closer relationships between KMS teachers/staff and students to ensure their well-being and academic success.

21st Century After School Program: In the 2022-2023 School Year, the district began this grant-funded after school program for KMS students and it has since expanded to Lansingburgh High School as well. It offers multiple activities/clubs that increase student engagement in the school environment and help them meet standards in core academic subjects (reading, math).

On Thursday, March 16, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Antonio Abitabile, Assistant Superintendent of School Improvement Rebecca McGrouty and KMS Principal Carrie Phelan gathered all the middle school faculty/staff together to inform them of the improved accountability status and to thank them for yearslong dedication to achieving this goal.

“To demonstrate this level of improvement over these past very difficult three years is a testament to the level of commitment that our families, students and staff have invested in this process. Ultimately, it has made us a better district overall and we look forward to continued improvement in the future,” said Dr. Abitabile after the meeting.    

Principal Phelan added “I’m so proud to be part of Knickerbacker Middle School, where our teachers and staff always come together with the best interest of our students to make the necessary improvements. Lansingburgh is a place where the administrators at the district level are so supportive of the schools and our surrounding school community is equally supportive. This is what makes our school and district such a special place.”

The district wishes to thank all the members of the Knickerbacker Middle School community (teachers, staff, administrators, students and their families) for helping make the school the best it can be. 

2022-2023 Knickerbacker Middle School Comprehensive Education Plan Members

  • Carrie Phelan
  • Colleen Buff
  • Edda Sacco
  • Elaine Garrett
  • Haylie Szemplinski
  • Joe Otter
  • Katie Secore
  • Mary Kate Graham
  • Michelle Coon
  • Nancy Andress
  • Phil Faseun
  • Reanna Terano
  • Rebecca McGrouty
  • Stephanie Cronk
  • Zach Tacelli