Award Year: 2013

Jonas E. Salk Elementary School

3001 W 77th Avenue
Merrillville, IN, 46410-3586

(219) 650-5304

Michelle Hellwege, Principal at time of Nomination

Mrs. Kara Bonin, Current Principal

Merrillville School Corporation

School Website


Our Mission is to create a respectful, supportive, and safe environment that prepares students to be independent learners and responsible, productive citizens.

Student Demographics
  • Black/African American: 49%
  • White: 21%
  • Hispanic: 23%
  • Two or more races: 7%
  • Economically Disadvantaged: %

The “Kids First” belief at Salk Elementary School, one of five elementary schools located in Merrillville, Indiana; is the key to our success. Salk’s mission is to create a respectful, supportive and safe environment, preparing students to be independent learners and productive citizens. Our welcoming environment, where everyone abides by the Salk Code and where research-based best practices are implemented for both instruction and behavior, presents education in an interesting, fun, and caring environment.

Salk students demonstrate high academic achievement and growth on ISTEP+. Since 2007, the student pass rate for combined ELA/Math portions of ISTEP+ has increased from 76.6% to 94.4%. Salk received an Exemplary Category Ranking under PL221, met AYP based on No Child Left Behind, and earned an “A” from the state of Indiana. In 2010, Salk won Indiana’s “Distinguished School” Award for high academic achievement of Title 1 schools. In 2013, Salk won a national award from the Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color based on male students of color achieving above the State average and was named a “Four Star School”.

Salk Elementary believes creating relationships with students is essential to academic success. As a PBIS school, students are taught behavior expectations with behavior interventions available to support at-risk students. Monday morning school-wide meetings celebrate attendance, behavior, and academic success. Partnerships with our community and parents-Purdue University Calumet, the Merrillville Education Foundation, local churches and our PTO, have also supported our success.

With our “Kids First” mission, Salk believes that everyone will succeed. Every curriculum and instructional strategy, every professional development, every activity involving community and parents is focused on doing what is best for our students.