San Marcos -- Since San Diego's High Tech High School opened in 2000, by a coalition of business leaders and educators, it's made a name for itself - even capturing the attention of visitors like Oprah and Bill Gates. Now, as News 8's Nichelle Medina reports, the movement is growing with the newest campus in North County.
At High Tech High North County, students are using "their muscle." But make no mistake, this isn't woodshop, it's High Tech High's innovative project-based learning program. Today's lesson: designing and building furniture.
"We're working on a blueprint, and we have to create a poster of what it's gonna look like, and it's got to be to scale. It's kind of like a math physics plus the art," explained Jason, a student at High Tech High North County.
Every project combines several subjects, along with traditional and state-of-the art teaching styles.
"Even though our name is High Tech High, and we have nice Macs and that we use a lot of the technology, I feel a lot of what this school is, is not just the technology. It's more the projects and the creativity they allow us to express here," continued Jason.
This school opened its doors last fall to nearly 150 freshmen under High Tech High's statewide charter, offering smaller classrooms and competitive programs.
"All students are on the college track here so by the time they complete their time here they will have completed all the AG requirements of the University of California system so that's really important," said High Tech High Director, Nikki Hinostro.
"The environment is very caring and loving and the teachers are the best teachers I've ever had. They really care about what you're doing and how to do it, and they want you to succeed in everything you do," said High Tech High North County student Brandee.
In one lesson, students exercise their creativity while learning humanities and history.
"So we're doing a mural based on our ideas of the Mexican Revolution," explained Victoria, High Tech High North County student. "It's really cool that we get to do art to talk about history. It's just a really fun experience."
Students are evaluated by quizzes, tests and presentations of learning, where they present completed projects to faculty, parents and community members.
"If you integrate these two beliefs of hands on work projects and academic rigor that comes from the traditional model," noted Nikki. "You can meld that and really prepare students for college and the work beyond."
Congratulations to High Tech High North County - News 8's Cool School of the Week.