August 11, 2014

Franklin School principal, teachers visit families of students at their homes

First-grader Kimberly Palmieri was excited to see Franklin School Principal Jim Slater at her Belleville home on Monday as part of the elementary school's annual home visits.

Kimberly, 6, showed Slater all the teeth she had lost over the summer and the new ones growing in their place.

"I'm so excited to go back," she said.

Her sister Anabeth Palmieri, 7, said it was "cool" to have their principal stop by and see them at home.

The girls were spending the day with their mother Michelle Reese and grandfather Bobby Dees.

The staff at Franklin Elementary School has been conducting home visits for more than 20 years. Slater, who has been principal for five years, said it's beneficial for children to see their teachers walking around their neighborhood.

"The kids look forward to seeing the teachers," he said.

At least 20 staff members from Franklin, including classroom teachers, specialty teachers and others, visited or tried to visit the homes of all 180 students.

If the family isn't home, school representatives leave information about the open house Thursday night and other fliers in a bag hanging on the front door knob or behind the screen door.

Staff members at Franklin separated into groups, and each group was assigned 15 or 16 families.

Slater teamed up with nurse Kim Goodson Monday. They were able to stop by the homes of 16 families in less than two hours.

Parent Adam Holloman and his daughter La'Kayla -- a Franklin alumni -- greeted Slater and Goodson, who were there to see sixth-grader Kyliah. La'Kayla will be a freshman at Belleville West.

"We look forward to it every year," Holloman said of the school visits. "I think it's a good thing for the administrators and teachers to associate with the families."

He described Belleville District 118 as a "community-oriented district."

District 118 Superintendent Matt Klosterman praised Franklin and its staff for doing home visits. "It gets our people in the communities," he said.

West Junior High School in District 118 also does home visits.

Franklin fourth-grader Timothy Hoffman, 9, with dog Shona at his side, chatted up Slater Monday about what he did over the summer, including a trip to New Orleans.

Parent Rebecca Collins talked to nurse Goodson about a medical diagnosis her first-grader son Kingston Turner, 6, just received. His older brother Graycin Turner, 9, was also home. He's going into the fourth-grade.

Collins praised the Franklin summer camp while talking to Slater.

"They had a great summer at the camp," she said.

Collins and her boys enjoy the home visits every year. "I think it's really nice they do the home visits," she said. "It makes it more personable."

As Slater was heading back to his truck, Graycin asked if they could go off-roading some time.

Slater joked that he would throw Graycin in the bed of the truck.

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