High school has been different for him. Here, his creativity is welcomed and encouraged. Part of that is a function of his being in much smaller classes, and the kids' maturity level is also a factor. Younger kids are harder to discipline; when a teacher is trying to make sure 30 eleven-year-olds behave, letting a couple of kids "color outside the lines" could spell disaster. I understand that.
Rather than squashing that energy, though, an excellent teacher would find ways to use it productively in the learning process, letting kids in a science class plan and conduct an experiment, or letting kids in a social studies class create a giant wall map or a movie about the history of a region. Having kids sit in their seats for eight hours a day filling out worksheets is not going to inspire creativity. To do those kinds of creative and energizing activities, though, the teachers need to be creative, and they need to be provided with an environment in which creative teaching and learning can thrive – smaller classes, more professional development, and good pay.
Not every kid is going to be creative and innovative, and that's okay. Some may develop those skills later, once they're on the job. Success comes in many forms and right now, with a nearly 10% unemployment rate, even the creative people are hurting. There is no magic bullet for surviving a recession, and schools aren't going to provide the remedy for it, even if they start encouraging creativity tomorrow.