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Owensboro, Kentucky

Audubon Elementary: Reaping the Results of High Standards and Accountability. Audubon Elementary in Owensboro, Kentucky is a formerly low-performing school that has turned itself around and was recognized as a National Title I Distinguished School in 1998-1999. This 450-student high-poverty school now ranks 18th in the state for student performance. The school ranks second in the state in writing, with the percent of students identified as distinguished or proficient in writing going from 12 percent to 57 percent since 1994. Scores have also increased from five percent to 70 percent in reading, and from zero percent to 64 percent in science. In part because of new teachers hired with funding from President Clinton's class size reduction initiative, class sizes now range from 15 to 22. Under Governor Patton, Kentucky has implemented standards, invested in low-performing schools and now has high-poverty schools that rank among the best performing schools in the state. In 1998, five of the 20 highest performing elementary schools for reading were high-poverty schools, as were six of the top 20 in math, and 13 of the top 20 in writing. This school is an excellent showcase of how high standards, accountability, and investment can turn around low-performing schools, and how high poverty does not have to relegate children to low achievement. While at Audubon Elementary, President Clinton will urge Congress to pass an Elementary and Secondary Education Act that will hold all states and districts accountable for doing what Kentucky has done, by turning around failing schools and helping all students succeed.

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