WHEN KRAMER Elementary students returned after the 2003 holiday break, they received a big surprise the moment they walked into the school.

That’s because, over the break, the lobby floor, which had been worn-down vinyl composition tile when they left, had been replaced with new terrazzo. And it included a center medallion with the school name and mascot, a colt.

The new floor was put in thanks to the efforts a group of parents whose sixth-graders had “graduated” the previous year.

“A lot of kids had started there in kindergarten and gone all the way through to sixth grade,” says parent Mattia Flabiano, whose wife Kay is PTA president.

“For a lot of the parents, this was their last child to leave Kramer. I think there were enough fond memories and close enough ties with the school, the teachers and [principal] Kyle Richardson that it was just something everybody wanted to do.”

And in Flabiano’s family, the group of parents had the perfect connection to get the floor done right. Flabiano’s Italian grandfather had emigrated to the states in the 1920s and opened American Terrazzo, which is still run by his three younger brothers and a cousin.

After the parents raised enough money, the company installed the floor. What normally would have cost around $8,000 was completed for much less.

The result, Richardson says, has been well received by parents, teachers and students alike.

“Everybody loves it,” he says. “And it’s the perfect addition to the school. It looks like it has been here since the school’s been here, fitting in with the architecture.”

And though parent donations aren’t unusual, this one was “wonderfully generous”, Richardson says.

Flabiano’s two children, son Mattia and second-grader Meredith, are or have been Kramer students, and he himself attended the school with his three brothers. For him, helping with the floor was just a way of carrying on a tradition of school pride and support.

“The school has a reputation for very involved parents,” says Flabiano, an architect who also helped the school install air-conditioning in the gym a couple years ago. “These are parents who are very committed to public school education.

“What was done was just a continuation of involvement and giving from parents who’ve been there for the past six or seven years.”