Superintendent's Weekly Newsletters & Reports

May 18, 2018

It is very hard to believe, but the 2017-2018 school year has come to a conclusion! I am very proud of all of our staff and students for their outstanding job this year and am grateful for the continual support of our parents and community.

This last newsletter for me is bittersweet, as I will begin my new position of Superintendent at the Lorain County Educational Service Center next year. It has been a pleasure working at Keystone. I have enjoyed working with the District’s close-knit community and the range of opportunities they offer our students. Our parents here at Keystone are exemplary as is shown in their commitment to education as well as their attendance at concerts, games, meets, plays, etc. as well as their participation in parent support groups, such as the PTA, athletic boosters, after prom committees, and more.  We also have such great kids here at Keystone who are a pleasure to work with and demonstrate pride in and of our District on a daily basis. Lastly, that staff that I have had the pleasure of working with over the past five years have truly made an impact on my life. I am inspired by their devotion to their students, the positivity they exemplify, and the encouragement and support they give each other. It has truly been a pleasure working at Keystone. 

May 11, 2018
It’s hard to believe but there are only two weeks of school left! Our students and staff are busy preparing for end-of-the year events, concerts, talent shows, awards assemblies, and of course, graduation, which will take place on Friday, May 25 at First Baptist Church in Elyria. The doors will open at 6:30pm, and please remember tickets are required for attendance. 

In other upcoming events, we will hold a presentation on May 21 at 6:30pm at Keystone High School on how our District has historically used federal funding and how we plan to use federal funding for the 2018-2019 school year.  Input from the community will be considered and is welcomed. I encourage all interested parties to attend.

I am excited to announce a FREE leadership opportunity for our high school students. The Lorain County Chamber Leadership Academy (LCCLA) provides an exciting summer opportunity for our students who are interested in building leadership skills, thinking outside the box, developing a growth mindset, cultivating creativity, and learning networking skills. From July 16 through 20, LCCLA will host a week- long, comprehensive program, designed to bring awareness to young people, challenging them to become engaged citizens and preparing them to serve in leadership roles within the community. According to program coordinators, throughout the week-long program, “students will Meet local business and global organization leaders from several different industries including, share intensive learning experiences focused on real world examples, hear from a panel of business experts, engage in animated, critical group discussions among participants & speakers, and participate in high-energy leadership skill exercises. Please use the instructions below to register your child without paying the $195 tuition.

1. Visit https://effectivela.org/cla-registration/ to register for the 2018 Chamber Leadership Academy. (Make sure to select the 2018 Lorain County Chamber Leadership Academy [LCCLA] under the “Program Selection” section.)
2. Complete the registration form. When you come to the “Program Scholarship” section, check the “Yes, I would like to request scholarship assistance” box. (You will not be charged for the week because you will be attending free of charge.)
3. Look for a confirmation email from Effective Leadership Academy (info@effectivela.org). If not in your inbox, make sure to check your spam/bulk folder. A link to complete the medical form for the program will be provided in this email.
4. After you get the confirmation email that ELA has received your medical form, you are done!
Lastly, our superintendent search is still underway. We will keep our students, parents, and community informed as the interview process ensues and a new superintendent is selected.

May 4, 2018
I would like to offer many thanks for the outstanding work of our Elementary School PTA, and the many volunteers, parents, and staff members who contributed to the success of Family Fun Day. It is an event looked forward to by our students and families every year, and the hard work of the PTA continues to be exemplified in its success. We sincerely thank you for all of the time and effort you put forth to serve our students and provide family-fun activities at Keystone.

In news pertaining to our graduating class of 2018, KHS will hold "Muffins with Mom and Donuts with Dad" for SENIORS Wednesday, May 9, from 1:35-2:25. Held in the KHS Cafeteria, you will have a chance to hear important details about Commencement from Ms. Redd, Senior Class Advisor, learn valuable information about teen risk factors from LCADA, and engage in valuable time and conversation with your child before he/she graduates. If a parent/guardian cannot attend, we strongly encourage you to invite another special adult in your absence. A grandparent, aunt, uncle, or older sibling would make a great replacement for this event! Please RSVP to Mrs. Gregory or Mrs. Pinto at 440-355-2400 at the KHS office as soon as possible.

I would also like to remind our senior parents to submit their congratulatory video for graduation practice as soon as possible. We ask that you keep the video between 10-15 seconds and send it to alyssa.schwedt@keystoneschools.org upon completion.

In additional upcoming events, I encourage Elementary School parents to join us for a snapshot of your child’s future on May 14. This night will focus on what to expect in your child’s learning for the upcoming school year, and how you and your child can practice some basic skills over the summer in a fun and engaging way. You will also learn a little about summer slide and the impact it can have on your child. This night is intended for parents as an informational session. Grades 1-3 will meet from 6-7PM, and grades 4-5 will meet from 7-8pm. If you have children in multiple grade bands, feel free to choose the most convenient time as the resources for the other grade will be available.

Lastly, our superintendent search is underway. The Lorain County Educational Service Center will collect and review applications and forward qualified candidates to our Keystone Board of Education. First round interviews will then be conducted, following by participation from teachers, administrators, and community representatives during the second round of the interview process. Once interviews are complete and feedback is gathered, our Board will make a recommendation to hire the candidate.

April 27, 2018
Congratulations to our Middle School band and choir students who were selected to participate in Lorain County’s Honors Band and Choir festival. Students rehearsed with guest conductor Dr. Richard Schnipke from Bowling Green State University and performed a concert at Keystone High School. Great job students and Choir Director Bethany Pearce and Band Director Brett Benzin.

I would also like to congratulate two of our stellar Keystone student-athletes seniors Grace Barasckai and Matt Kelling. Both Grace and Matt are extending their athletic careers at Wilmington College.  Grace will be playing soccer, and Matt will be playing baseball. 

In upcoming events, we are excited to bring you our annual Keystone Kabaret. This year the theme is “On Broadway,” and the show will feature songs from the stage and screen. The concert will take place on Friday and Saturday, May 18 and 19. Dinner is served at 6pm and the show starts at 7pm both nights. Fligner's is catering the event! Order forms are available in the High School office or can be obtained from one of our KHS choir students. Please consider attending and supporting our talented choir students!

Lastly, our superintendent search is underway. The Lorain County Educational Service Center will collect and review applications and forward qualified candidates to our Keystone Board of Education. First round interviews will then be conducted, followed by participation from teachers, administrators, and community representatives during the second round of the interview process. Once interviews are complete and feedback is gathered, our Board will make a recommendation to hire the candidate.  

April 20, 2018
This has been a busy week at Keystone as state testing is in full swing. I would like to thank our teachers and our students for their diligence in preparing for these challenging assessments.

I would like to congratulate two of our outstanding Keystone High School/Lorain County Joint Vocational Students. Junior Alexis Kaspar and senior Ciarra Thompson were recently inducted into the JVS National Technical Honor Society.

In upcoming events, the KES PTA's Wildcat Carnival will take place on Saturday, April 28 from 10am-2pm at KES. Presale tickets are $10 per family or $15 on the day of the event. The event includes games, prizes, bounce houses, balloon artist, face painting, and more. At an additional cost, concessions, sandy candy, slime, photobooth, and raffle baskets will also be available. Cash and credit cards are accepted at the event. Navigate to our website to view and print the ticket order form.

April 13, 2018
I hope all of you enjoyed your spring break and were able to relax and spend time with your families. As the month of April progresses, our spring sports teams continue with games, meets, and competitions. I encourage you to attend and support our talented student-athletes. Access our athletics schedule at http://arbiterlive.com/School/Calendar/11763.

Our High School drama club is putting on an awesome spring play, called Captain Fantastic. If you were unable to attend the play last night, there will be two more performances: today, Friday, April 13 and tomorrow, Friday, April 14. Both performances will take place at 7pm in the High School Cafetorium. Please support our wonderful and talented thespians!

Parents, please encourage your child to participate in a local calendar contest. The Lorain County Solid Waste Management District is holding their annual CALENDAR CONTEST for Lorain County students in grades 1-12. Students will draw a picture depicting one of the following themes: litter prevention OR recycling.  Thirteen (13) pictures will be chosen to create a 2019 calendar (one for each month and one for the cover).  Each winner will receive a check for $25.00, recognition at a Lorain County Commissioner’s meeting and calendars for family and friends. See your child’s school office for more information.

Also, the Friends of the Keystone-LaGrange Library will present "Books and Brunch” at the Lions Club on 240 Glendale Street in LaGrange on Sat, April 21 from 10am to noon. The author presentation begins at 10am, followed by brunch at 11am, and concluding with the author meet & greet. They are accepting pre-sale tickets only with a donation of $12. Contact Marilyn at 440-315-3160 with questions.

A seminar for parents with diabetic children will be held on Saturday, April 28 from 9am-3:30pm at the Cleveland Airport Marriott (4277 West 150th Street, Cleveland, OH 44134). The summit brings together T1D Experts to share their knowledge on the latest treatments, breakthroughs in research, and the psycho-social aspects of living with T1D. This event is designed for all ages at all stages and offers something for everyone. It is a free, all-day educational and networking opportunity for the Type One Diabetes community. See our website for additional information.

Lastly, on a bittersweet note, I have decided to accept the position of Superintendent at the Lorain County Educational Service Center. I have enjoyed my time at Keystone immensely, and have relished the opportunity to work with such talented staff members and great students. The Board of Education will begin the process to find a replacement shortly. Again, I am thankful to have had the opportunity to work at Keystone and am also excited to continue my educational experience at the ESC.


March 23, 2018

Thank you to all the parents and staff who attended our school safety presentation at the Board of Education meeting on Monday. If you were unable to attend, please navigate to our website at www.keystonelocalschools.org to view the presentation. Feel free to contact me at franco.gallo@keystoneschools.org or at 440-355-2424 with any questions.

I would like to offer congratulations to the KHS band, led by Director Brett Benzin, for earning a Superior rating at a recent OMEA event. Mr. Benzin and the band received a congratulatory letter from Kent State University's Director of Bands, Dr. Jesse Leyva. Leyva writes, "The Keystone High School band students have been awarded the highest possible assessment rating from OMEA, the official music education association of our state. This Superior rating is a distinguished achievement, and speaks very highly of the teaching and learning environment within your school district. The Kent State School of Music applauds your support and achievement within the field of music education."

I would also like to thank members of the Keystone Empowers You (KEY) Collaborative for hosting a successful free cooking class at Keystone Elementary School. During the class, attendees learned how to make frugal-friendly and diet-rich meals. Thanks to all involved for helping us attain our healthy lifestyle initiative. 

Lastly, I would like to remind parents of future 2018-2019 kindergarten students that the information presented at the recent parent meeting is available on our Elementary School’s website at www.keystonelocalschools.org/keystone-elementary. The presentation contains information about enrollment, curriculum, and what to expect in kindergarten for the 2018-2019 school year.

March 16, 2018

We have important upcoming events I would like to make you aware of. At the start of our Board of Education meeting this Monday, March 19, we will hold a school safety presentation. The presentation will begin at 6pm with information provided by Superintendent Franco Gallo, LaGrange Police Officers, Keystone administrators, and school counselors.  A question-and-answer session will follow the presentation.  The presentation will also be available on our website and social media pages.  The presentation will be held at Keystone High School in Room 124.

Next week, the Keystone Empowers You (KEY) collaborative is holding a no-cost cooking class on Thursday, March 22 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Keystone Elementary School cafetorium, Chef Katherine, of Katherine Dewitt Catering, will demonstrate how to cook weekday, budget-friendly proteins. The whole family will enjoy the easy, exciting updates to their dinners. Anyone is welcome. Space is limited, so registration is encouraged. Email KeystoneEmpowersYou@gmail.com with the names and contact info of registrants, or call 440-355-2424.  

In April, an important Internet Safety and Suicide Prevention Workshop will take place on Saturday, April 21 from 9am to 1pm at the Christian Heritage Church in Avon.  The training is open to the public.  Parents, caregivers, teachers, principals, school counselors, and all other interested parties are encouraged to attend. The workshop is being sponsored by the Lorain County Board of Mental Health, EPIC, inc., and Jason Foundation. Find more information on our website or social media pages.

Lastly, I would like to thank the High School staff who organized and facilitated the spring senior citizens breakfast. Great job to teachers Shannon Heffernan, Kari DoveDeal, Bethany Pearce, and Sarah Robinson as well as students in our Youth-4-Youth organization and FCCLA.

March 9, 2018
The KHS Concert Band performed at the OMEA District 4 Large Group Event in Westlake. Our concert band earned a “Superior” rating, which qualifies them for State Contest on April 20-21 at North Royalton High School. We are very proud of our students for their hard work and this exciting honor!

I encourage you to take part in a facet of our wellness initiative and join the KeystoneGo program and get rewarded for getting active. This month, pick up a punch card at the Keystone-LaGrange Library or Keystone Board of Education. Get your card punched whenever you do a designated activity – such as attending Silver Sneakers or checking out a blood pressure cuff at the library. Then submit your card for a chance to win a $100 gift card of your choice. Find more information on Keystone Empower You’s Facebook page, email KeystoneEmpowersYou@gmail.com, or call Andrea at 440-284-3285.

In upcoming events, the Keystone Elementary School PTA is hosting Family Science Night on Friday, March 16th from 6:00pm-9:00pm at KES. The event is free for attendees. Activities include hands on fun experiments, family photo booth, 20+ stations presented by Lorain County Community College, Ohio State University, Black River Astronomy Club, Green Circle Growers, Nordson, volunteers, and teachers!

Also, on Thursday, March 15, our sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students will be holding a concert at 7pm in the Keystone High School café. And lastly, although it’s hard to believe the year is flying by so quickly, the end of our third grading period is on Friday, March 16.

March 5, 2018

It has been a busy few weeks at Keystone! First, I would like to recognize our many outstanding music students and their accomplishments. Congratulations to our KMS Band students who participated in the Lorain County Solo and Ensemble event over the weekend at Brookside High School: Skylar Loeber, Nathan Geiger, Lindsay Wade, Chase Cuson, Bryson Kimble, Ayden Olic, Jacob Willi, Kelsey Kovacs, Brandon Seman, Ava Kinas, Cody Grimmett, Michael Gale, Braden Cuson, Kevin Seman, Ben Bostick, Alex Tight, Stephen Faltay, Michael Spatafore, Leah Long, Tyler Semenik, Kaylee Kassay, Hayley Vance, Brady Hurst, Grace McCormick, and Beau Hurst. In addition to these outstanding middle schoolers, congratulations the following KMS choir students who participated in the Lorain County Solo and Ensemble contest this past weekend: Grace Hagerman, Emily Wittlinger, Kennedy Jackson, Jackie Carpenter, Alana Gency, Elena Runion, Hannah Maitland, and Hayley Vance. All of our KMS vocalists received Superior or Excellent ratings! Our high school band students also had stellar performances at the event, earning both superior and excellent ratings. Great job to Krissy Heck, Dalton Conn, Bree Wilkins, Jack Sherlock, Emma Gregory, Natalie Schank, Jessica Kun, Patrick Teets, Becca Kern, Seneca McCullough, Emily Skala, Sarah Teets, Shannon Yoder, Shea Owens, Kaitlyn Likes, and Caitlin Bradley.

In upcoming events, the spring senior citizens breakfast, hosted by the High School’s FCCLA and Youth-4-Youth organization is on Wednesday, March 14 from 9:30-10:30am in the KHS Cafe. Please RSVP with the number attending to Shannon Heffernan @ shannon.heffernan@keystoneschools.org or at 440-355-2400 by Monday, March 12. All senior citizens in our District are welcome to attend.

We are also holding our Family First Night on Monday, March 12. On this day, we are keeping the focus on our families and will not be holding any after-school activities, games, practices, or events. Several local businesses have joined us in this effort, and on this day, they will have discounts and promotions on their foods and services. A list of these participating businesses is forthcoming.

Lastly, plan on taking part in our KeystoneGO program and get rewarded for getting active. In March, pick up a punch card at the Keystone-LaGrange Library or Keystone Board of Education. Get your card punched whenever you do a designated activity – such as attending Silver Sneakers or checking out a blood pressure cuff at the library. Then submit your card for a chance to win a $100 gift card of your choice. Find more information on Keystone Empower You’s Facebook page. Please email KeystoneEmpowersYou@gmail.com with any questions. Great job Keystone on our commitment to getting active and living healthy lifestyles!

February 9, 2018
Congratulations to Keystone High School sophomore Job Butcher as he was selected to perform in the Ohio All-State Choir at the Ohio Music Education Association conference in Columbus. More than 600 vocalists apply yearly to earn this distinction, and Job was one of 161 performers to be selected. Job is also the third Keystone choir member EVER to perform in this group. Congratulations Job and teacher Mrs. Pearce on this outstanding accomplishment.

Our District also recently earned a distinction as a result of our development of three policies related to tobacco use on school grounds. These policies prohibit the use of tobacco products on Keystone’s campus by students, staff, community members, extracurricular and athletic event attendees, etc. As a result of the adoption and enforcement of these policies, Keystone earned a 100% score from the Ohio Department of Health for our tobacco policies, making our District one of the four Lorain County Schools to earn this distinction. The Department of Health is donating 150 lunch boxes for our students and providing free signage to continue to promote and enforce these policies. We would like to thank our community and parents for supporting us in this commitment to provide a healthy environment for all attending Keystone.

In upcoming events, I encourage qualifying families to take advantage of Lorain County’s Free Tax Preparation Services. These services are available for individuals or families whose income for 2016 is under $60,000 and for those who do not have any rental property income. If you qualify, please schedule an appointment to take advantage of these services as walk-in appointments are limited. These services will be offered at Keystone Elementary School on February 26 and March 22 from 3:30-8:30pm. Call the Keystone Board Office at 440-355-2424 to schedule your appointment today or visit http://loraincountyfreetaxprep.org for more information.

Lastly, if your child is going to be joining us as a Wildcat Kindergartner next year, and you were unable to make it to our recent 2018-2019 kindergarten meeting, please navigate to the Elementary School’s website at http://www.keystonelocalschools.org/keystone-elementary to view the presentation.

February 2, 2018

I am excited to introduce our new board members, Carrie O’Boyle and Devin Stang.

Carrie O’Boyle has been actively involved in Keystone’s PTA as a board member and as a volunteer mom. She is also a member of the KEY Collaborative, an organization in the community that brings nutrition and physical education resources to the community. Carrie’s passion for good health has led her to form a PTA sponsored health club called Tough Kids Eat Broccoli with the goal being to teach and empower elementary school-­‐age children to make healthy choices and to form good habits that will follow them into adulthood. Carrie has been the Clinical Dietitian at Keystone Pointe Health and Rehab Facility in Lagrange since 2008. Carrie has her Bachelors of Science in Nutrition from Notre Dame College and Masters of Science in Nutrition from Case Western Reserve University and has been a dietitian for almost 20 years. Her love of Keystone Schools and the community is what led her to become a board member and she is excited to serve and help make the district the best it can be.

Devin Stang graduated from Ashland University with a BS in Elementary Education 1-8 and a Reading endorsement in grades K-12 in 1995.  He went on to earn a M.Ed. in 2003 in Curriculum and Instruction and later gained licensure in Administration and Gifted Education.  He is currently working towards earning a doctoral degree in Gifted Education through the University of Toledo, and is an active member of OAGC.  He has been employed by Sandusky City Schools since 1998 and has served on numerous educational strategic teams, a STEM advisory board, and has helped construct curriculum for an all-gifted school. He is both proud and excited to be a part of the leadership team of the Keystone Local School District.

In upcoming events, our fourth annual Keystone Adult Choir will begin practice soon. The choir is open to all Keystone relatives, older siblings, neighbors, friends, etc.-- not just parents and staff! Rehearsals will take place on February 13, February 20 and February 26 from 7:30-8:15pm in the KHS music room. The adult choir will perform at the high school choir concert on Tuesday, February 27 at 7pm. Please plan to attend at least TWO of the three rehearsals! Please contact Choir Director Bethany Pearce at bethany.pearce@keystoneschools.org or at 440-355-2400 with questions.

January 26, 2018
I would like to congratulate our many outstanding students who achieve success academically and also within the arts. Recently three Keystone High School band students, Matt Rister (percussion), Blaise Sherlock (horn), and Jack Sherlock (trombone) were selected to participate in the Kent State University All-Star Honors Band Festival, practicing and performing with outstanding musicians from area schools. In addition, freshman Emma Gregory (clarinet) impresses as she is participating in the Northern Ohio Youth Orchestra and their philharmonic orchestra. Lastly, five KMS band students also earned recognition for their outstanding talent. Cody Grimmett, horn, Michael Spatafore, trombone, Braden Cuson, trombone, Beau Hurst, saxophone, and Declan Herbert, tub, recently performed in the Northern Ohio Youth Orchestra’s concert.

In addition to our outstanding musicians, our Keystone artists also continue to impress. KHS student Alexa Olic earned a multitude of awards for her outstanding artwork! The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards recognized Alexa with the following accolades: honorable mention, silver key, and gold key for her portrait of a young child. The gold key artwork will go on to the national judging in New York. Her artwork and those from many other talented students are on display now at the Stocker Center gallery at LCCC until February 11. They are open for viewing Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings from 4:30-7:30pm and on Sunday 1-3pm.

In upcoming events, The Kayden Williams Powderbuff Volleyball Tournament will take place on Tuesday, January 30 at 7 pm. Admission is $5 at the door and profits will go toward the Kayden Williams Memorial Scholarship, which will be awarded next year.

Lastly, the After Prom Committee is hosting a high school cosmic bowling night Feb 18 at Strike Out Lanes from 9:30-midnight (there is no school on Feb 19) . The cost is $15 and includes two hours of bowling & shoe rental. Tickets will be sold at home boys basketball games on a first come/first serve basis with payment.

January 19, 2018

As we continue into the month of January and enter into the third grading period of the year, there are many upcoming important events for parents and students.

On Wednesday, January 24, Keystone Middle School will hold a College Credit Plus Parent Information Night from 6:00-7pm in the KMS Cafeteria. This information night is for students currently attending the Middle School. At the event, the Guidance Department will be joined by representatives from Lorain County Community College. They will discuss the numerous college credit options for Keystone students. If you have questions about this event or are unable to attend, please contact Kristen Lazard, KMS Guidance Counselor, at 440-355-2200 or at Kristen.Lazard@keystoneschools.org.

For our entering kindergarteners, Keystone Elementary is holding a Parent Information Night for upcoming kindergarteners on Tuesday, January 23 from 6:00-7pm in the KMS/ KES cafeteria. The night will be filled with information about enrolling, curriculum and what to expect in kindergarten for the 2018-2019 school year. Children eligible for kindergarten must be 5 years old before August 1st.

The Middle School’s Honors Reading & Writing Students will present at the annual Independent Study/Entrepreneur Open House on January 30 in the KES/KMS Café from 4:30-6pm. Please plan to attend and see their impressive projects!

Lastly, I would like to remind our parents, residents, and students that Keystone Elementary is open for indoor walking every Thursday from 6-7pm. In addition, we are also continuing to offer our residents FREE use of Keystone High School’s fitness weight room.  The weight room is open for community use Monday through Thursday from 6pm-8pm.


January 12, 2018

Welcome back and Happy New Year 2018. I would again like to extend our deepest sympathies for the Williams family and friends. The High School guidance counselors, administration, and teachers are available for students as they continue to cope with this loss.

As we progress into the 2018 school year, there are numerous upcoming events for parents of both present and incoming students to be aware of.  

On Wednesday, January 24 from 6:00-7:00pm, KMS will hold a College Credit Plus Parent Information Night with representatives from Lorain County Community College. The meeting will take place in the Middle School’s cafeteria and will provide information for parents and students concerning earning college credit while attending Keystone.  

Keystone Elementary School is holding a Parent Information Night for upcoming kindergarteners on Tuesday, January 23rd from 6:00-7:00 pm in the KMS/ KES cafeteria. The night will be filled with information about enrolling, curriculum and what to expect in kindergarten for the 2018-2019 school year. Children eligible for kindergarten must be 5 years old before August 1st, 2018.

Lastly, as we continue into the harsh winter we are experiencing, I would like to outline our school cancellation procedures. When there is a potential school cancellation or two-hour delay, administrators attempt to make a decision by 6am. The all-call system, District website, Twitter, and Facebook pages are updated immediately and local media outlets are notified. Two-hour delay schedules are available on each school's website. The District's #1 priority is always the safety of the students, and decisions on school closings are based on this priority. If you have questions concerning the school cancellation policy, contact the Board Office at 440-355-2424.