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School History

Jonathan Jennnings Elementary School 109 was named for Indiana’s first governor, Jonathan Jennings. It is located at 6150 Gateway Drive on the extreme northwest edge of the city of Indianapolis with its southern boundary being West 38th Street, the eastern boundary being Moller Road, and the western boundary being I-465. It is an inner-city school within the Indianapolis Public Schools Corporation, and was built in 1963. The doors opened to students during the fall of 1964, and is one of 52 elementary schools in the system. Most of the students feed into one middle school less than a mile away at the completion of their elementary experience. They then go on to the boundary high school, Northwest High School.

The physical environment within School #109 has undergone changes since the original construction. In 1988 a wing was added housing a gymnasium and a stage that showcases the many talents of the students throughout the year. In the summer of 1995, the old multi-purpose room where physical education classes were once held, was converted into a spacious carpeted library.

The school property itself sits on an excess of 10 spacious acres and is enhanced by an adjacent public park to the east and an attractive tree line to the north. The immediate community is comprised of single family homes; three apartment complexes, townhouses, and several condominium units built in the mid-1960’s. All three apartment complexes offer federally assisted housing to qualified persons.

Less than a mile from the school, are numerous retail and commercial businesses that include some of the major names such as: Meijer, Home Depot, Target, and Menards. Fast food chains adorn I-465 such as Taco Bell, McDonalds, Arby’s, and Burger King. Marsh, a major grocery store chain, offers one-stop shopping to fill just about everyone’s needs. Clarian Health Care offers many medical offices that are convenient for the west side community. Bank One provides all necessary banking needs. Eagle Highlands Theaters provide current movies for entertainment. There is also a United States Post Office within walking distance of the school and its residents. Another attraction for the community’s children, is the U.S.A. Skating Rink.

School 109 has a current enrollment of 345 that services K-6 students in regular education. The special education needs of other students are met through inclusion in the regular classroom with Resource aid being available for those who qualify. This also includes the Gifted and Talented students. School 109 also provides instruction in the special areas of Music, Instrumental Music, Physical Education, and Art.

School 109 has a very active PTO (Parent/Teacher Organization) that contributes much to the academic achievement of the students. Many successful fundraisers are held throughout the year providing the funds for a multitude of extra curricular experiences as well as any needed classroom materials. The PTO also sponsors fun events such as the Santa Shop and the Spring Carnival helping to make School 109 a place where children want to be.

Athletics also plays an important part in the climate of School 109. Various basketball programs for all ages and gender provide an extra incentive for the students to do their best in the classroom. The programs do not allow students who fall below a C+ average to participate. Behavior can also be a deciding factor for participation. Many championships have been won due to some outstanding academic athletes. Our Jayhawks Soccer team has been very successful in only their third year of existence.

Partnerships with Papa John’s Pizza, Home Depot and Keep Indy Beautiful have helped School 109 both financially and visually. The help from these businesses is vital for the continued success of the school. Every effort is made to acknowledge them with our newsletters and thank you letters. Parents are also encouraged to say “Thank You” whenever possible.


Jonathan Jennings, the son of a Presbyterian minister, was born in Hunterdon County, New Jersey in 1784. Soon after his birth, the family moved to Fayette County, Pennsylvania. While in Pennsylvania, he received his common-school education that was followed by grammar school in Cannonsburg, Pennsylvania. He began the study of law, but moved to Jeffersonville, Indiana, where this study was competed and he was admitted to the Bar.

From Jeffersonville he moved to Vincennes where he lived from 1807-1808. While in Vincennes, he became a trustee to the territorial legislature. During this time the practice of slavery was attracting a lot of attention in the territory of Indiana, and to this practice Mr. Jennings was violently opposed. After returning to Clark County, he married Anna Hay and they settled on a farm near Charlestown.

In 1809 Jonathan Jennings ran against Thomas Randolph for territorial delegate to Congress. The race was divided over the slavery question with Mr. Randolph favoring slavery. Mr. Jennings won this contest by the small majority of 25 votes. While in Congress, Mr. Jennings took a very active part and did much work to get Indiana admitted as a state in the Union.

At the age of 32, Jonathan Jennings ran against Thomas Posey for the governorship of the new State of Indiana. Again, the issue of slavery arose with Mr. Jennings opposing and Mr. Posey favoring. When the votes were counted, Jonathan Jennings had received 5,211 votes and Mr. Posey 3,934; thus, Mr. Jennings became the first governor of Indiana.

There were many problems in setting up the governmental organization of the new state, but Mr. Jennings was equal to the task. It was stated, “It is doubtful whether an abler man could have been selected for such a trying position.”

In the year 1820, Governor Jennings appointed a commission to help select a suitable place for the permanent state capitol.

After serving as governor of our state, Jonathan Jennings became a Representative in the United States Congress, a position he held for eight years.