LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Internal reviews conducted by the Kentucky Department of Education at three of Jefferson County's lowest performing schools show progress is being made towards improving achievement, but that some changes must still be made.

The internal school reviews took place at Fairdale, Waggener and Southern high schools in mid-January and were delivered to principals and district officials last week.

“Overall, the reviews reflect a great deal of hard work that is taking place inside these three schools,” said Dewey Hensley, chief academic officer for Jefferson County Public Schools. “These reports also show that the schools have made great strides over the past two years to address and remedy the deficiencies that were previously identified.”

Four other Jefferson County schools – Iroquois, Seneca and Doss high schools and Knight Middle School – had leadership assessments conducted by the state in January, but those results won't be released until March 6.

The seven schools were placed in “priority” status as a result of a 2010 law that called for the Kentucky Department of Education to identify the state's lowest-performing schools and outline a range of interventions aimed at turning them around.

The difference between the internal school reviews and the leadership assessments is that the internal review is shorter and focuses on one standard – teaching and learning – while the leadership assessments gauge school effectiveness, reviewing academic performance, learning environment and efficiency within each school.

“The state determines which review a priority school gets,” said Dena Dossett, director of planning for JCPS. “Fairdale, Waggener and Southern received the shorter visits because they had showed progress in the latest round of data that was released.”

Nancy Rodriguez, a spokeswoman for the Kentucky Department of Education, said the internal school review is designed to provide feedback to priority schools regarding progress on improving student performance during the preceding two years based on assessment and accountability data.

“Priority schools are required to receive a review every two years,” Rodriguez said.

During the 2012-13 year, the state identified four deficiencies at Fairdale, nine deficiencies at Waggener and ten deficiencies at Southern.

This year, the review team found that Fairdale has “satisfactorily addressed” three of its four deficiencies and that the fourth deficiency has been addressed in an “exemplary manner.”

At Waggener, the review team found that the school has “satisfactorily addressed” three of its nine deficiencies and has “partially addressed” the other six deficiencies.

At Southern, the review team found that the school has “satisfactorily addressed” three of its ten deficiencies, while six deficiencies have been “partially addressed” and one has been addressed in an “exemplary manner.”

This story will be updated.

Reporter Antoinette Konz can be reached at 502-585-0838 or @tkonz on Twitter.

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