In Silicon Valley, a digital vo-tech

Offering tracks in film and audio, the high-tech school aims at kids too smart or too distracted for public high school.

Leave it to the heart of Silicon Valley to start an alternative high-tech high school for creative students who just can't cut it in a public school.

Freestyle High's curriculum, reports The Mecury News, is focused around career education with an emphasis on communications and digital literacy.

The school hopes to attract the whiz-kids students who are bored with their trig classes as well as the students who can't deal with traditional high school classes. So far, Freestyle has accepted 66 juniors and seniors, offering two study tracks: film production and Web audio. Next year the district intends to expand into course in biotech, information technology and nanotechnology.

"We wanted to create a smaller, more personalized learning opportunity,'' commented lead teacher Gordon Jack, who hopes to reach out to students not engaged in their school work.

There is a growing trend in California high schools to focus on career technical education, spurred on in California by $140 million in federal and $60 million in state funds.

"More districts are starting to look at this and finding this is a great way to deal with the dropout problem,'' said Pat Ainsworth, assistant state superintendent of schools and director for career technical education. "How do you keep kids in school? Sometimes kids learn new math better when they can do it hands-on.''

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