Superintendent's Weekly Newsletters & Reports

November 17, 2017

I would like to begin by thanking our parents and community members who continually support our fundraisers and donation drives. From purchasing items at our PTA’s book fair, to donating canned goods and loose change for our local community, it is your support that enables our District to continue to thrive and be successful.

I would also like to thank our Elementary School and Middle/High School’s PTA. These dedicated parents spend countless hours organizing family events, fundraisers, and classroom celebrations. You make a positive and influential difference in our students’ lives and for this we are very grateful.

Congratulations to our many student athletes who exemplify a sincere dedication to academics as well as a commitment to athletics. Five Keystone softball players who are extraordinary student athletes signed letters of intent to play college softball following high school. Congratulations to Ashley Buttolph, Valeri Broschk, Brooke Piazza, Summer Metcalf, and Madison Nunez.

In upcoming community events, the fall senior citizens breakfast will take place on Wednesday, Nov 29 at Keystone High School from 9:30-10:30. Attendees will enjoy a morning of delicious biscuits and gravy, friendly hosts, and fun games. Please RSVP with the number attending by Monday, Nov 27 to Ms. Heffernan 440-355- 2400 ext. 2371.

Additionally, the Educational Service Center of Lorain County will hold a Substitute Bus Driver Job Fair on Thursday, Nov 30 from 1pm-5pm at 1885 Lake Avenue in Elyria. These positions offer flexible hours, the opportunity for extra income, and training provided and paid for by the District. To register, call Pam Gamble at 440-324-5777, Ext. 113 or visit their website at http://www.loraincountyesc.org/.

Lastly, the Friends of the Keystone/LaGrange Community Library will hold their annual fall book sale at the old Firehouse on the Square from November 17-19. Hardover books are $1, paperbacks are .50, VHS tapes are 10/$1, CD/DVDs are $1, LPs are .50, and puzzles and games are .50. Saturday is BOGO day and Sunday, two grocery paper bags can be filled with items for $5.

November 10, 2017

It’s hard to believe, but Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away! With that being said, we have a busy two weeks ahead of us, as we are holding numerous student and parent events as well as community programs.

Firstly, I would like to thank all parents and guardians who attended the Middle and High School’s conferences this past Thursday. If you could not attend, there is another opportunity to discuss your child’s academic progress at KMS or KHS this Tuesday, Nov 14 from 4:30-7:30. The Elementary School’s conferences will be on Thursday, Nov 16 from 5-8pm and on Monday, Nov 20 also from 5-8pm.

We have numerous fundraisers in progress, including the KES PTA’s scholastic book fair, open during the school day as well as during conferences. The KMS/KHS PTA is holding two fundraisers as they are selling Mama Joe’s pies, which will be delivered in time for Thanksgiving as well as holding their fall spirit sale. Spirit sale items, prices, and order form can be accessed on our website as well as our social media pages. Forms for both of the KMS/KHS PTA fundraisers are also available in the respective school offices.

Following Thanksgiving break, we will hold our annual fall senior citizens breakfast on Wednesday, Nov 29 from 9:30-10:30. Attendees will enjoy a delicious breakfast and games as well as have the opportunity to interact with friendly KHS staff and students. Those wishing to attend should RSVP by Monday, Nov 27 to KHS Family and Consumer Science Teacher Shannon Heffernan at 440-355-2400 Ext. 2371.

Lastly, Wellington High School is holding a 5K run/1 mile walk on Saturday, Nov 18 for Tyson McKinley, an athlete at Wellington who passed away on 9/20/17. At the request of his family, a race was organized to help raise awareness of the negative effects of bullying, mental health awareness, and promotion of suicide prevention.  The run/walk will start on Dickson Street at the park where the old Middle School was and conclude at Wellington's athletic fields. The 1-mile walk will start at 9:15 am, and the 5K will start at 9:30. The cost for runners that pre-registration is $20 and can be done online at wellingtonroadraces.org or $25 the day of the race. For more information, contact Bill Watters Jr., President of Dukes Running Club at (440) 387-1847.

November 3, 2017

We’ve had a great time here at Keystone celebrating fall and Halloween.  Last Friday, our K-5 students participated in our Halloween parade, and this past week, both KMS and KHS held Halloween costume contests.  Thanks to all those who participated in these events, judged the costumes, and helped organize and plan classroom celebrations.

Last week, our students also reaffirmed their pledge to be drug free during the national Red Ribbon Week. Red Ribbon week is a commitment to live a drug-free life.  Students showed their commitment to being drug-free by participating in our drug-free spirit days, decorating the Keystone campus, and attending advocate assemblies. I would also like to thank our KHS Science Teacher Jennifer Fehlan-Jones and her students who volunteer their time to be in the Health Professions Affinity Community (HPAC) group. They organized a drug-free themed carnival for our KES students as a culminating event to our Red Ribbon Week activities.

We also held Family First Night this past Thursday.  Family First Night reaffirms the importance of spending quality time with our family, as this time is often unintentionally secondary to the many commitments we have to fulfill.   I would like to thank the local businesses who joined us in this effort, offering discounts and promotions on food and services, including Village Pizza, Michelle’s Café, LaGrange Convenient, The Depot, The Nest at Greyhawk, IGA, LaGrange East of Chicago, and the Grafton Marco’s Pizza.

Lastly, I would like to thank the KHS Guidance Department and presenters Greg Boomfield, Manager of Manufacturing at Beckett Gas, Michelle Reisinger, Ridge Tool Human Resources Manager, and, John Wilkinson, SVP & GM at Vexos who took part in the career panel at Keystone High School. The career panel offered high school students exposure to different fields as well as insight into the skills, education, and background sought by a variety of employers.  

October 27, 2017

Great job to everyone who helped making our homecoming spirit week, powderbuff game, bonfire, and dance a success! I would like to recognize Keystone High School science teachers Dave Jones and Jen Fehlan-Jones for all their hard work in planning and facilitating these outstanding events.

Congratulations to Kristen Lazard, Keystone Middle School Guidance Counselor, who applied for and was awarded a $3,500 grant from the Lorain County Board of Mental Health to implement the You Belong initiative at KMS. The You Belong program is a youth-led initiative focused on increasing the number of students who feel connected at school. This program puts students in charge of making creative decisions about the school environment and encourages them to develop their own programs to implement at their school. Staff and students at KMS are both excited and eager to begin this program!

In upcoming events, the Lorain County Educational Service Center will be holding a Job Fair for Substitute Bus Drivers on Thursday, November 30 at their offices at 1885 Lake Avenue in Elyria from 1-5 pm. Qualifying candidates must be 21 years old and have a clean driving record. CDL and experience is preferred but not required. Benefits of this position include flexible hours, the opportunity for extra income, and training provided by districts. Job fair districts include Amherst, Avon, Clearview, Firelands, Keystone, Midview, Oberlin, North Ridgeville, Sheffield/Sheffield Lake, and Wellington.  Please register for the event at www.applitrack.com/esclc/onlineapp/jobpostings. Contact Pam Gamble at 440-324-5777, ext. 1113 with questions. 

October 20, 2017
It’s been a busy October here at Keystone!  I would like to congratulate the High School on an awesome spirt week, bonfire, and powderpuff game!  Your school spirit and pride is one of the qualities that make Keystone students so special!

In upcoming events, our Financial Aid Night will take place on Tuesday, Oct 24 at 6pm in the KHS Cafeteria. Items for discussion include Financial Aid/FAFSA, timeline to file important documents relating to college, scholarships, grants, and more! Attendance is strongly suggested for juniors and seniors, but all interested parties are welcome to attend! It’s never too early to start planning for college.

We are also holding our District-Wide Red Ribbon Week from October 23-27. Red Ribbon week is a commitment to live a drug-free life.  Students are encouraged to show a commitment to being drug-free by participating in our “drug-free spirit days.”  Includes campus decorating to promote and encourage all to remain drug-free and to make a commitment to healthy decisions as well as advocate assemblies and spirit-themed days.

Lastly, please help support the KMS/KHS PTA by ordering delicious pies from Mama Joe's! Your orders will be available for pick up/delivery the week of Thanksgiving. They will also be having a spirit wear sale, with apparel arriving in time for Christmas presents. Order forms will be available soon.

October 12, 2017

Congratulations to Keystone High School senior Matt Rister on earning third place in the Lorain County Young Driver competition. Thank you for being a role model and providing safe driving tips to your fellow students!

I would also like to congratulate the Keystone High School staff for holding another successful “Wildcat Wisdom Wednesday.” Wisdom Wednesdays take place monthly and provide time for the students, in specific grade-level groups, to receive mentoring from teachers in small groups, career presentations, college exhibits, state testing data, expectations, and more. This month, KHS students discussed both the positive aspects and the obstacles they have experienced thus far this school year.  They also prepared for the festivities held during homecoming week and discussed their grades and the specific percentage system KHS uses to calculate quarter I, quarter II, exam, and semester grades.

In upcoming events, the homecoming week festivities begin this coming Monday, Oct 16. Plan to participate and join us at the powderpuff game and bonfire on Thursday, Oct 19 and at the home football game vs. Buckeye on Oct 20.

Additionally, KHS will hold their annual Financial Aid Night on Tuesday, Oct 24 from 6-7pm. The evening, open to all interested parties but highly suggested for juniors and seniors, will cover a variety of topics about attending and paying for college, including information about scholarships, FAFSA, student loans, college grants, and more.

Lastly, remember to check out our “Did You Know” facts that we distribute weekly.  Over the past few weeks, we have discussed numerous topics, including our food and beverage policy at athletic games and extracurricular events, new lunch services, transportation and busing information, our Positive Behavior Intervention & Supports (PBIS) initiative, and more.  Access the videos at www.keystonelocalschools.org/district/superintendent-video-q-and-a and subscribe to our YouTube channel @ KeystoneSchools.


October 6, 2017
Congratulations to Nikki Selzer on her outstanding performance at the Regional Golf Tournament. As a result, she became the FIRST Keystone Lady Golfer to make it to the State Tournament! Great job Nikki!  

In upcoming events, Homecoming week is almost here! Festivities begin the week of October 16, with spirit and themed dress-up days, powerpuff game, bonfire, pep rally, home varsity football game, and conclude with the KHS dance on Saturday, Oct 21. At the varsity football game on Oct 20, two collections will be taking place. The High School’s leadership class is collecting items for hurricane relief in Florida. Items include first aid supplies, toiletries, new shirts, shorts, toiletries, and undergarments, batteries, tarps, and extension cords. Also, Cub Scout Pack 118 will be collecting non-perishable items to donate to the Lagrange Lions Club Food Bank. Thank you in advance for your support of these donation drives!

In addition, the Keystone Kindness Closet is up and running! The Kindness Closet is housed at the High School and contains free basic care items, school supplies, clothes, and shoes. Donate items to the KHS office. To learn more about this program or to request items, call KHS at 440-355-2400 and ask for Program Coordinators Kari DoveDeal or Sarah Robinson.  They are also available via email at the following addresses: kari.dovedeal@keystoneschools.org or sarah.robinson@keystoneschools.org

Lastly, please remember to take advantage of the flu prevention clinics offered by the Lorain County General Health District.  They are providing numerous flu shot clinics throughout Lorain County. Access information about the times and locations of these flu clinics at www.loraincountyflu.com.

September 29, 2017
Our Schools continue to support others in need, and in this spirit, we ask you to join our High School’s Leadership class in donating items for hurricane relief in Florida. The list includes necessities, first aid supplies, new shirts, shorts, and undergarments, batteries, tarps, and extension cords. The class, led by teacher Mr. Griswold has partnered with a local business that is providing these items directly to the families in the middle keys, which was struck directly by the hurricane wall. These individuals are essentially camping on their properties while they complete and contemplate their next steps. For some, that means camping on their property for an extended time. Items can be dropped off to the KHS Office.

Also, at Keystone High School's Homecoming football game on Friday, October 20th, Cub Scout Pack 118 will be holding a food drive. They are asking parents, staff, and members of the community to bring a non-perishable item to donate to the Lagrange Lions Club Food Bank. Thank you in advance for your support of these donation drives!

Lastly, I would like to thank everyone for being invested in our commitment to keep Keystone’s campus 100% tobacco free. We will continue to promote healthy lifestyles for our students, parents, staff, and community. In line with this effort, I encourage you to take advantage of our free Community Exercise Facility at KHS from Mondays-Thursdays from 6-8pm.

And remember…Always Strive to Be Elite in Your 20 Square Feet!

September 22, 2017
Thank you to our Elementary School staff, students, and PTA for raising over $850 to donate to the victims of Hurricane Harvey.  To raise these funds, the Elementary School hosted a Hats for Harvey fundraiser in which the students donated $1 or more to wear a hat to school on a designated day.

I would like to congratulate our Keystone High School Marching Wildcats on a stellar performance last Saturday as they performed at the North Royalton Band Festival. They were among 10 high school bands who performed at this showcase of musical talent in our area. They represented Keystone well with a fine performance! Great job to Band Director Brett Benzin and thanks to our community supporters and CONGRATS to our incredible band students!

Please continue to check out our weekly Wednesday Q & A videos.  Last week, I hosted Jody White, our Food Service Director, and she discussed our new interactive lunch menu and the salad bar we now offer at Keystone Middle and Keystone High School.  Check out this week’s video to learn about our new High School Language Arts Teacher Alison Gillam and Guidance Counselor Alyssa Schwedt.  View our videos @ http://www.keystonelocalschools.org/district/superintendent-video-q-and-a or on our YouTube channel @ Keystone Schools.

Lastly, we are still seeking career speakers to visit the Middle School during the school’s lunch periods. The goal is to help students to learn about different careers throughout the year. Each speaker would be asked to stay from roughly 10:30 until 12:00 and would speak to approximately 30 students. We would love your valuable insight on your career to be shared with our students!  If you are interested in speaking at KMS, please contact Kristen.Lazard@keystoneschools.org.

September 15, 2017
It’s been a busy week at Keystone!  Elementary, Middle and High School students began MAP Growth testing in language arts and mathematics.  MAP testing is designed and provided by NWEA, a research-based, not-for-profit organization that creates assessments that precisely measure growth and proficiency. This testing, similar to the S.T.A.R testing, provides insights for our teachers to help them tailor instruction.

Other new programs at the High School include our monthly Wildcat Wisdom Wednesdays.  On the first Wednesday of the month, the students operate on an assembly schedule and during the scheduled assembly time, they are divided into groups based on their grade level.  In these grade level groups, students receive mentoring from teachers in small groups, career presentations, college exhibits, state testing data, expectations, and requirements, and more that is specifically tied to their grade level.  This is a great way to ensure all of our students stay up-to-date on important information and receive training and advisement as necessary.

Lastly, beginning in October and concluding in May, KMS is hosting Career Speakers to come in during the school’s lunch periods. The goal is to help students to learn about different careers throughout the year. Each speaker would be asked to stay from roughly 10:30 until 12:00 and would speak to approximately 30 students. We would love your valuable insight on your career to be shared with our students!  If you are interested in speaking at KMS, please contact Kristen.Lazard@keystoneschools.org.

September 8, 2017
It’s been a great second week at Keystone!  Thanks to all the parents and staff who have made this transition back to school an easy one, especially for our kindergarteners who started this Tuesday.

In this week’s Wednesday video, I discussed our PBIS initiative. PBIS stands for “positive behavior intervention and supports.” The purpose of this initiative is to recognize and commend positive behavior. This program, which is reinforced by our P.R.I.D.E. (Positive, Responsible, Integrity, Driven, Engaged) signage, helps show students the exemplary behavior we know each Keystone student possesses.  As students model the positive behaviors in the P.R.I.D.E program, they are recognized by their teachers and Keystone staff, earning rewards and positive affirmation that their good deeds do not go unseen. To learn more about the program, please view this week’s video at http://www.keystonelocalschools.org/district/superintendent-video-q-and-a. In addition, please remember to submit questions to be featured on our weekly Q-and-A videos at franco.gallo@keystone.k12.oh.us or on Twitter @suptfrancogallo.

Lastly, I would like to thank all our Wildcat fans who support our athletes by attending games and meets.  Please continue to do so!  Your support, both on and off the field, is one of the things that make Keystone great!

September 1, 2017
It’s been a great first week at Keystone!  Thanks to all the parents and staff who have made this transition back to school an easy one. We are all excited to welcome our Class of 2030 graduates (kindergarteners) on Tuesday, September 5. As a reminder, we do not have school on Monday, September 4 due to the Labor Day holiday.

We are continuing to use our many communication venues this year.  I will be broadcasting short videos on a weekly basis in which I answer questions from the community or provide pertinent information about our District.  This week, my video discusses the many ways our parents, students, and community can stay up-to-date on all things Keystone.  Go to www.keystonelocalschools.org/superintendentvideoseries to view the video and remember to subscribe to our YouTube channel @keystoneschools. If you would like a question answered, please email me at franco.gallo@keystoneschools.org.

In addition to the video series, we also have our comprehensive website, Facebook page, Keystone Twitter page @keystoneschools, and a Superintendent’s Twitter page @suptfrancogallo as ways of communicating with our community.

We encourage our parents to play an active role in students’ lives.  A great way to do this is to join the PTA!  Presently the KMS/KHS PTA and the Elementary School’s PTA are welcoming new members.  Please consider joining these valuable organizations that provide resources to both our students and teachers.  To learn more about the PTA, navigate to our individual school’s websites.

Our first home football game is TODAY, Friday Sept 1.  Please join us at the Wildcat Stadium to cheer on our fall athletes and show your wildcat pride!

August 25, 2017
Welcome back Keystone!! It’s hard to believe that this summer has flown by so quickly!  I hope you all enjoyed the time off and are as excited as we are to delve into the 2017-2018 school year! School begins THIS Monday, August 28 from all students in grades 1 – 12. Kindergarten students begin the following week on Tuesday, September 5. Next week, both the Middle and Elementary Schools will hold their open houses on Tuesday, August 29. The KMS Open House is scheduled from 4:30-6pm, and the KES Open House is from 5:30-7pm. Taking an interest and active role in your child’s education is a key to success. I would like to encourage all parents to attend these Open Houses. If you were unable to attend the High School’s Open House yesterday, please contact the KHS office with any questions.

Our commitment to living a healthy lifestyle is reinforced this year as our campus is a designated 100% tobacco-free environment. In addition to promoting healthy living habits, 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. In addition to the exercise facility, we are continuing to open our outdoor track to our residents as well as holding indoor walking at Keystone Elementary School.

In other news, the fall sports season is underway, and I encourage you to cheer on our athletes as they represent Keystone.  In addition to athletics, each school offers a variety of extracurricular programs.  Please encourage your child to take part in these programs as they build character, pride, and develop a sense of class and student community.  You can access a list of these programs from each school’s individual website.

We are excited to continue our tradition of excellence this year, and fulfill our mission statement that we, in partnership with our community, empower ALL students to be global thinkers and successful lifelong learners through the delivery of relevant content via quality instruction.