Superheroes and blockbuster movie posters line the walls of Mike Czudner’s Barrhaven classroom.
It’s part of his formula for subtracting stress — mathematics may easily trigger that in a teenager.
“If it’s something that they can relate to, and it has math in it and it’s fun, it brings down those anxiety levels and people feel comfortable,” said Czudner.
EQAO results are likely giving the Ottawa Carleton District School Board the jitters.
High school students are being schooled by their Catholic counterparts in applied math, trailing by 14% in Grade 9 provincial standardized test scores.
Only 45% of applied math students from the OCDSB met or exceeded standards.
Academic math was stronger, at 87%.
But kids at Longfields-Davidson Heights Secondary School are excelling, beating the Catholic board by 1%, netting 60% in applied math and 93% in the academic ranking in the recently released 2014 scores.
Overall, the school has “one of the biggest jumps in the province,” from Grade 6 to Grade 9 EQAO scores, Czudner said.
With nearly 30 math teachers in house, principal Patsy Agard said it’s all about teamwork.
“We’re very, very pleased, but it really is a concentrated effort by a number of people,” said Agard.
Longfields is the first Grade 7 through 12 school for the board.
“That’s been really powerful at the (Grade) 7-8 level,” said teacher Travis Wing.
Teachers at both levels are collaborating, Agard said, to ensure continuity.
One may not deduce the youthful Czudner, 36, heads the mathematics department until reading his name tag.
Grade 11 student Karina Gebera, 16, said friends told her she’s lucky to be in his class.
“It’s only been three weeks into school, and like, he’s really funny and like, he takes math seriously but he also knows when it’s time to joke and when it’s not time,” said Gebera.
Jokes were over on Friday when Czudner announced to a functions class its first “mastery test” of the year — one of 10 — worth 10% overall.
“I detect a heightened stress level over here,” he said, motioning toward two girls.
Czudner goes through potential scores on the board, showing students what each test is worth.
Only the last three grades count, he reassured them.
Czudner hands out bubble sheets and puts a timer on the smartboard.
Pencils in hand, heads down; scientific calculators click away.