CSMCE | Profiles
First Grade Teacher
Thomas Elementary, Gretna Public Schools
In just his third year of teaching, Andrew Boone already is making a difference. Between his Primarily Math coursework in Cohort 4 and the mission of Gretna Public Schools, this first-grade teacher has gained a new understanding of math – and has been able to put it into practice.
“Presently, I have had the opportunity to serve on a math improvement team at Thomas Elementary that is working on educating our staff about current trends in math teaching and the resources that are out there for us to use,” Boone said. “We have also been working to identify areas in which we see a need for improvement with math instruction. We have had the opportunity to collaborate with our colleagues and learn where they see a need for math resources in the classroom.”
Driven by the mission and philosophy of Gretna’s school system (“the unconditional and undeniable acceptance of all students”), Boone has found his favorite part of Primarily Math to be the collaboration it affords, whether that be with the other teachers in his cohort or with his colleagues at Thomas. Three of his fellow teachers at Thomas are also in Cohort 4 of Primarily Math: Brittany Fulton (second grade), Carter Pratt (third grade) and Scott Simpson (first grade).
“Andrew Boone thinks deeply about the mathematics that he teaches,” said Primarily Math instructor and Nebraska Wesleyan mathematics professor Kristie Pfabe. “His fascination with mathematics and the zest with which he embraces challenges are important attributes in an outstanding mathematics teacher.”
“I have become more knowledgeable of children’s developmental levels and what we can do as professionals to help each child grow as a mathematician,” Boone said.
Growing up in Hull, Iowa, Boone enjoyed the challenges math presented, whether through participating in the local sixth-grade math bee or doing challenge math games in junior high. He was greatly influenced by his parents; his father was a pastor and his mother an educator.
“Although I switched my major about three times in college, I was ultimately led back to being a teacher because of the way I saw my mom and dad have the opportunity to interact with others and the compassion they showed toward them,” said Boone.
Boone said the most important thing he has learned from Primarily Math is the value of listening.
“With time, I have learned the value of listening to children, regardless of whether they are right or wrong, to more deeply understand their misconceptions and how deep their knowledge of the topic is,” he said. “This has helped me better identify where children are at developmentally and what I can do to guide the individual.”