"For the second year in a row, we were one of the 240 non-Title 1 elementary schools to make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP)," he said.
AYP is determined by meeting 17 out of the 17 requirements through the Indiana Department of Education. CCE has 17 requirements because of the sixth-grade being in the elementary school.
The largest elementary in the school corporation is only nine-tenths of a point below the state average for the Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress Plus exam (ISTEP+). The state average is 73.7 percent and the school scored a passing rate of 72.8 percent.
"We are expecting our spring scores to be higher than our fall scores due in part to the implementation of new programs," Russell said.
Sustained Silent Reading (SSR) is a school-wide program where students begin each day by reading. At the time of the fall testing, it had only been in place for a month when classes started. However, Russell is confident this program will have a direct correlation in a rise in test scores.
NWEA (Northwest Evaluation Association) assessment test has had the best overall scores since Russell became principal of CCE.
There are 19 areas for kindergarten-sixth grade schools and CCE met 17 of the 19 areas and exceeded the national average with a 90 percent pass.
"We were only one point below passing in Language Arts and half a point below in Math," he said.
Russell is most impressed with his kindergarten students, who tested high upon entrance to the school and improved the most from fall to spring.
"The kindergarten students scored the highest the grade has ever score since we began using NWEA," he said.
Don't worry, the fifth-grade students still exceeded the national average and expected growth.
Teachers at CCE visited other elementary schools to gain some positive ideas about what other teachers are doing. They visited Riley Elementary, Shakamak Elementary School, and Child's Elementary School. In the Clay Community School Corporation they visited Van Buren Elementary, Jackson Township Elementary and Staunton Elementary.
"If a child feels connected to home or family, the community and school then they statistically perform better academically and become a more productive member of society," he said.
To encourage the connectiveness, students participated in athletics as well as contests throughout the school.
"The Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) sponsors a math contest and the American Legion Post 225 sponsors a junior Americanism test," Russell said.
The math contest is approximately 40 multiple-choice questions and the students have approximately 30 minutes to complete. The student in fourth; fifth-and sixth-grades that have the highest score receive a math book and a calculator.
The junior Americanism test is open to students in fifth-and sixth-grades, the two students (boy and girl) that have scored the highest in their grade level receive a participation certificate and a $50 savings bond.
"A testimonial to how supportive the community is to the school is our volunteer hours," he said. "We have had up to 2,000 hours before, this school year we had approximately 1,200 hours."
Russell was also happy with the success of the transition program for the sixth-grade to Clay City Jr./Sr. High School and the transition program for preschoolers that will be attending CCE.
"Each sixth-grade, one classroom per day, was paired with a seventh-grader from the morning and went with them to different classes, their locker and at lunch," he said. "It blends very well with our schedules and alleviates the students fears."
A new program was started this year by Russell and Shelley Hyatt along with the collaboration of teachers to develop a schedule for preschool children and kindergarteners.
The preschool children went to the school and met the teachers, had story time, then ate lunch at with the kindergarteners and had recess time.
The parents picked the preschoolers up from the elementary.
"The day wasn't disruptive for the kindergarteners or preschoolers and I have heard nothing but positive feedback from everyone," he said. "It is a good program and we hope to continue with it next year."
"The data shows the teachers and students are working hard," Russell said. "It was a constructive year with many accomplishments."
Clay City Elementary had one retiree, Jerry Stoelting. She taught with the Clay Community School Corporation for 32 years.