"We had a very successful year," he said.
Among some of the accomplishments for CCHS was being named an Honor Roll Best Buy School by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and of the 132 schools on the Best Buy list, they were one of 23 selected as an Honor Roll school.
"This award shows the accomplishments of our students," Bell said. "We want to use the money and resources wisely."
CCHS also met the seven measured standards set by the North Central Association Quality Assurance Review (NCAQAR) and received full accreditation.
"We spent a year preparing for the evaluation," he said. "There was a lot of documentation and planning that went in to the three days and two nights the committee was here doing the evaluation."
The school improvement focus is "improving reading comprehension across the curriculum." This is being incorporated during the daily DEAR (Drop Everything And Read) program. Students have been taking pretests and posttests, which are showing improvements in reading comprehension.
"The assessments measure achievement and show that these programs are working," he said. "We are pleased with the spring NWEA (Northwest Evaluation Association) test results."
Bell said the graduation rate cohort for the 2007-08 academic school year is 87.9 percent, which is above the state average of 77.8 percent. The numbers for the 2008-09 academic school year will be released by the Department of Education in the fall.
Though CCHS missed making Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) by two categories, Bell and the teachers are working to make changes.
"We have identified what kept us from making AYP and we are focusing on it for next year," he said. "We plan to continue to maintain and improve the areas that we are doing well in and raise the areas of achievement that kept us from making it this year."
Being principal has allowed Bell to see first hand the numbers for CCHS students who take the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) "skyrocket" on critical reading.
"It is a good sign that the work we are doing in reading comprehension is working," he said.
Bell is also proud that CCHS is above the state average in percentage of students taking the Advanced Placement (AP) Test.
"In January and February, we will be focusing on major areas of improvement, which we have already identified, in preparation for the ISTEP+ (Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress Plus) exam," Bell said. "We have a plan in place and we will be executing that plan which is a year long process."
The Clay City Imperial Regiment participated in the Indiana State School Marching Association State Finals, while the Junior Engineering and Technology Society (JETS), science Olympiad, Tech Trek and Business Professionals of America (BPA) all also made state appearances.
"(CCHS) did very well in state competition and we are very proud of the students and teachers that worked so hard to get there," Bell said.
The Leadership By Service Club, formerly Bible Club, sponsored a mission trip over spring break and 50 people from the area traveled to the Gulf Coast to help in the rebuilding efforts from Hurricane Katrina.
'Fuedin', Fussin' and Fightin' was the play this year and the students did an outstanding job," he said.
"SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) has done many great things for the school and community," he added. "We have one of the top chapters in the state."
One of the highlights of the 2008-09 school year was the boys' basketball sectional win. Bell looked at the big picture and the impact that it had not only on the school, but the community.
"It was neat experience for the school, students and the community as a whole," he said. "It really brought out the community pride in the school and that's what we are. We are the communities school."
The time leading up to the sectional triumph, Bell remarked on, would remain with everyone involved for a long time.
"It was really a great time with lots of enthusiasm," he said. "Those memories will last a lifetime, long after the students graduate."
While talking with The Brazil Times, teachers from Northview High School were visiting CCHS teachers, and all were working on plans and curriculum for next fall, Bell was still able to reflect on the departing seniors.
"We had an outstanding senior class and they were a joy to work with," he said. "I wish them all luck in their future endeavors."
Peggy Taylor retired after 20 years of teaching at both CCHS and NHS but with a total of 28 years teaching.