Block Two of the 2023-2024 year begins on Tuesday, January 2, 2024 and continues through Thursday, March 28..

Current Classes

The class schedule at LightHouse is divided into "Blocks", or trimesters, Fall (Block One), Winter (Block Two), and Spring (Block Three). Block Two of the 2023-2024 school year begins on Tuesday, January 2, 2024.

Classes are divided into three periods Monday through Thursday. Students work closely with their advisor to develop a fully personalized schedule that is both challenging and meaningful. Most students co-create a schedule comprised of a mix of classes, one-to-one tutorials, and independent studies. As students progress in their time at LightHouse, many youth choose to add community college classes through our dual enrollment relationships, internships, paid and volunteer work, and other offsite learning opportunities.

LightHouse is a competency-based program. Graduation requirements entail completing a robust set of competencies, which are both academic and personal. LightHouse graduates move into the world with strong academic skills, but also with deep understandings of themselves as learners, plans and understandings around self care and general wellness, and developed sensibilities around social justice, personal ethics, and environmentalism, ready to contribute to their communities and to the world as competent and engaged citizens, leaders of their own lives.

Each class at LightHouse focuses on a specific selection of competencies, but competencies can be developed and attainments completed in any learning context, inside or outside of LightHouse. Learning happens everywhere, all the time. One of the goals of our program is to support students to see the whole world as a place of learning, full of resources for growth, with vast, meaningful opportunities. Life is much more flexible and more beautiful than we are sometimes led to believe, or have had the opportunity to experience. LightHouse is changing what school can be.

Between first and second period we hold a daily Advisory Circle. All students gather with their Advisor and Advisory Cohort of peers for 30 minutes every day, connecting on a variety of topics. LightHouse is a highly diverse and intentional community. We thrive together through guided and compassionate communication, one of the many positive and useful skills students develop over time through our relationship-based curriculum.

Fridays at LightHouse are half day "Community Days", with staff professional development every Friday afternoon. Fridays have their own schedule with multiple options each week including field trips and group volunteer projects as well as onsite workshops, academic support offerings, sports and games, and capstone guidance for seniors.

Please reach out with questions!
Monday / Wednesday
Tuesday / Thursday
9:00 am - 10:20 am Let's Get Real: Sex Ed
Led by Theanna Hernandez-Tiedemann

Have you ever taken a traditional sex ed class at a public school or anywhere else? If you have, we may cover some things that they have gone over. Most sex ed teachers will preach abstinence, which is what works for some people, but let’s get real, that doesn’t work for everyone! In this class we’ll have honest conversations about safe sex practices, healthy relationships, contraceptive options, general health and well being practices, sexual orientation, gender, anatomy and much more. There will even be an anonymous question form that students can fill out at anytime so I can answer those questions in class without that student feeling embarrassed or scared.

Competencies:  Empathy, Self Care and Wellness Strategies, Human Sexuality
Class size: 15
9:00 am - 10:20 am Marine Biology
Led by Nate Maynard

This course will explore the incredible diversity of life in our oceans: from the largest mammals on Earth, Blue Whales, to the tiny shrimp-like krill that they feed upon. Our oceans make up over 70% of the Earth’s surface, yet we have explored less than 5% of its depths. It has been said that we know more about the surface of the Moon than we do about our own oceans. Join us on an exploration of one of the last great frontiers on planet Earth as we examine life within the sea and the different ecosystems they inhabit. This class will be lecture and discussion based and will incorporate videos, labs, dissections, and field trips when possible.

Competencies:  Effective Communication, Global Thinking, Environmental Awareness
Class size: 15
9:00 am - 10:20 am Keep It Short: Short Stories
Led by Steph Zello

If you've spent any time around LightHouse with me, I've probably asked you to tell me a story. I usually get "I don't know any stories" as a response. Let's change that! During this class we will read different short stories and write our own! We will explore common themes in writing, learn the art of keeping things unfinished and challenge ourselves to keep it short. This class is perfect for anyone who is hoping to gain storytelling skills and learn how to be a better communicator.

Competencies:  Voice, Empathy, Effective Communication
Class size: 15
9:00 am - 10:20 am Advanced Guitar Workshop
Led by Greg Eichler

Let’s play guitar! This time a little differently. This class is for my more advanced students. If you sailed through the first guitar workshop then let's work on advancing your skills, or if you already have the basics down on your own you're welcome to join too. Study with professional guitarist Gregory Eichler alongside your fellow peers, as we work to advance our skills and become more confident musicians! We will also be enjoying various listening sessions of some of the greatest guitarists and musicians who ever lived.

Competencies:  Voice, Self-Awareness and Identity, Collaboration
Class size: 15
9:00 am - 11:00 am Glass Flameworking
Led by Dan Battat

In this hands on studio class in glass flameworking, students will gain basic glassworking techniques by creating glass marbles, jewelry and sculptural forms.    Using bench mounted burners, we will melt borosilicate glass in a 6500 degree flame. A series of demonstrations and skill building exercises will lead to independent creation of finished marbles, pendants and figurines, and students will be able to explore their own unique ideas as well.    History of glass and current applications will be discussed in class, and interested students will gain knowledge of outside resources in the field of glass art and sciences.

Competencies:  Experiential Learning, Collaboration, Perseverance Amidst Struggle
Class size: 5
9:00 am - 10:20 am Demon Copperhead
Led by Catherine Gobron

"Demon Copperhead" is the recent Pulitzer-Prize winning novel by Barbara Kingsolver. Mostly due the language, but also the content, this is not a book that will often be taught at the high school level. However, the themes of poverty and the opioid epidemic are more than relevant and worth exploring in a supported setting.

From Kingsolver's website: "Demon Copperhead is set in the mountains of southern Appalachia. It’s the story of a boy born to a teenaged single mother in a single-wide trailer, with no assets beyond his dead father’s good looks and copper-colored hair, a caustic wit, and a fierce talent for survival. In a plot that never pauses for breath, relayed in his own unsparing voice, he braves the modern perils of foster care, child labor, derelict schools, athletic success, addiction, disastrous loves, and crushing losses. Through all of it, he reckons with his own invisibility in a popular culture where even the superheroes have abandoned rural people in favor of cities."

Over the course of the block we will read and discuss this novel together. We will learn about and discuss a range of challenging and unpleasant American realities, from the backbone truth that we can't change things that we don't understand or don't care about. Kingsolver has given us a compelling, fictional story to help us both understand and care about some of the American realities we are living through in real time. Along the way we will look at and discuss the ways in which she so successfully draws us in.

Students will be expected to read 15-30 pages per week, write brief reflections throughout the block, and complete a final, creative project.

Competencies:  Empathy, Effective Communication, Social Justice Concepts
Class size: 15
9:00 am - 10:20 am Everyday Practices of Transformative Justice
Led by Kenzie Helmick

This class emerges from the belief that we must actively build the world we want to see, even as we work to dismantle what is wrong, and that small practices lead to big changes. Guided by these beliefs, we will explore alternative ways to address violence, harm, and abuse – both institutional and individual. Together, we will imagine what it looks like to live out the concepts of transformative justice, abolition, and mutual aid in our everyday lives. First, we will familiarize ourselves with these liberatory frameworks and practices, delving into how they reimagine the world. Then, we will begin to explore what they might look like in practice: in our relationships, in our communities, and in our sense of self.

Competencies:  Self-Awareness and Identity, Effective Communication, Community Leadership (Advanced)
Class size: 15
9:00 am - 10:20 am Geometry
Led by Aidan Chappuis

This class will cover an abridged version of high school geometry. It includes points, lines, and planes; transformations; angles and parallel lines; triangles; polygons; and circles. Given time, we will also discuss proof techniques in depth, coordinate geometry, 3d geometry, and early trigonometry.

Competencies:  Perseverance, Problem Solving, Advanced Mathematics
Class size: 15
9:00 am - 10:20 am Making What You Want
Led by Joshua Newman

There’s no dividing line between robots and sculpture, drawing and science, engineering and crafting. You’ll learn to make what you want to make as long as we can find you the materials. Come with an idea or asking for one. Come with a favorite art and learn a new one to add to it. Use your mind and hands and eyes in concert to make things that are beautiful, that work, that you can use to express yourself and teach others.

Competencies:  Experiential Learning, Problem Solving, Foundational Computation
Class size: 20
10:50 am - 12:10 pm War and the End of War
Led by Arjuna Jayawardena

War is a reality of human existence, present and past. The news of war reduces personal lives to numbers and the destruction of entire communities to policies that suggest themselves as necessary and inevitable. Yet, war occupies individual lives before it does history: mothers and fathers lose their children; children lose their mothers and fathers; one cycle of violence perpetuates another. How can we turn towards the truth of war as it has been lived without losing hope? How can we move through feelings of outrage and sorrow to find peace in our hearts? In this class, we will engage with documentary and fiction films, war memoirs, psychological and religious writing, and poetry in order to see war more fully and directly. The material will be challenging and at times, difficult to bear. Still, we will strive to give rise to a hope that is not blind to the horrific realities of war, but rather, inspired by those very realities into the possibility of peace. Due to the nature of the course material, high school grade levels are preferred.

Competencies:  Perseverance, Media Fluency, Ethical Decision Making
Class size: 15
10:50 am - 12:10 pm Open Music Studio
Led by Greg Eichler

The Open Music Studio course at Lighthouse is a largely self-driven experience. Students are free to explore their on musical endeavors, with guidance and support from professional musician Gregory Eichler. Although a primarily independent course, collaboration and community among students in the Open Music Studio is encouraged, and an ultimate goal. Performance opportunities will be available for those seeking them. Come hone your voice, discover new sounds, and share your musical passions with the community of Lighthouse!

Competencies:  Voice, Self-Awareness and Identity, Collaboration
Class size: 15
10:50 am - 12:10 pm Dungeons and Dragons
Led by Maegan McCarthy

Have you ever wanted to explore worlds with a ragtag group of adventurers? Create stories and characters collaboratively with others? If so, come join our journey as we explore the world of Dungeons and Dragons. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a new addition our party, all are welcome in this class. We’ll be going over everything to know about starting Dungeons and Dragons, from races and classes, dice rolls and spells, to playing in a campaign! We will focus on collaboration, creativity, communication and problem solving throughout the class.

Competencies:  Problem Solving, Effective Communication, Collaboration
Class size: 15
10:50 am - 12:10 pm Winter Nature Studies
Led by Nate Maynard

Put on your hat and gloves and prepare to explore the frozen New England landscape that surrounds us. This class will explore all things winter: from the science of hibernation to the study of snow and snowflakes. We will learn how plants and animals survive the frigid temperatures, how to identify animal tracks in the snow, and maintain a nature journal to document our observations. The goal is to be outdoors at least every other class, so be prepared with winter weather clothing, jackets, and footwear. The Connecticut River will serve as an observation “sit spot” where we will document the physical and biological changes that occur through the winter months.

Competencies:  Voice, Self Care and Wellness Strategies, Environmental Awareness
Class size: 5
10:50 am - 12:10 pm Fashion Design and Making
Led by Sarah A Stolwijk

This is a design and making class that is pretty independent. You will be required to come up with your own projects to make. You don't need any sewing experience but are expected to demonstrate a willingness to learn how to sew by either hand or machine. You will have to complete at least 3 projects by the end of the block . During the last week we will present all our work to each other. Most important thing is that you come up with things to make that make you excited and happy.

Competencies:  Experiential Learning, Self-Awareness and Identity, Problem Solving, Understand Self as Learner
Class size: 15
10:50 am - 12:10 pm Exploring Art History
Led by Jailyne Torres

In 'Exploring Art History' we'll study some of the most influential artists such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Frida Kahlo and Banksy, to name a few. We'll learn their story, and reflect on some of their most important work. Students will also be able to dive into exploring these artists' creative styles and artistic approach with class projects.

Competencies:  Experiential Learning, Media Fluency, Advanced Technical Skills
Class size: 15
10:50 am - 12:10 pm LightHouse Space Program
Led by Joshua Newman

We’re going to build rockets and planes together in the video game Kerbal Space Program to do real rocket science! We’ll figure out how to fly above the atmosphere, how to reach the Mün and other planets, and how to build space stations and huge spacecraft in orbit. It’s hard to do and we’ll support each other through that process! We’ll be working in teams to figure out what our objectives are — go to orbit? Fly planes really fast? Fly around the world? Send space probes to comets? Fly in the atmosphere on a distant planet? We’ll figure it out together!

Competencies:  Perseverance, Effective Research, Applied Scientific Reasoning
Class size: 15
10:50 am - 12:10 pm Math for Science
Led by Aidan Chappuis

How do we test whether an idea is true? How do we know what to believe? Do those nutritional supplements in your cabinet actually do anything? In this class, we will learn to test hypotheses, answer questions, and spot misinformation using the tools of statistics and the scientific method. We will split our focus among 3 related areas: The mathematical tools of statistics, with an abbreviated version of the standard curriculum; experimental design in science using these methods; and the psychological, social, and political dimensions of misinformation. We will learn to design experiments properly and analyze the data, and spot errors and bias in other people’s analysis. We will also focus on information literacy, practicing spotting biased sources and pseudoscience across history, politics, and health claims. The ultimate goal is to develop statistics, reasoning, and critical thinking skills that will help you in STEM fields, the humanities, and general life. Prerequisites: basic knowledge of probability, some algebra skills, basic knowledge of biology. (Content warning: this class will examine some conspiracy theories and bigoted misinformation, and will cover alternative medicine from a critical point of view)

Competencies:  Advanced Mathematics, Effective Research, Applied Scientific Reasoning
Class size: 15
10:50 am - 12:10 pm Songwriting and Composition
Led by Ailey Verdelle

We will walk through some music theory basics, practice songwriting (lyrics), and beatmaking using Logic Pro X. We will also make an effort to incorporate collaborative and ensemble works.

Competencies:  Problem Solving, Advanced Communication, Leading Collaboration (Advanced)
Class size: 15
10:50 am - 12:10 pm Journalism!
Led by Steph Zello

In this class, we create an online and printed newspaper with articles, quizzes, featured students/staff and anything else you would like in your publication! You will gain skills in interviewing, writing, research and marketing. Not only will we create a newspaper together but you will also learn law, history and ethics through journalism. This class is perfect for anyone who wants to work on their writing/editing skills, or anyone who is interested in research and media!

Competencies:  Voice, Collaboration, Effective Research
Class size: 15
10:50 am - 12:10 pm The Stone Soup Curriculum
Led by Jean Minuchin

This drama workshop explores belonging and exclusion, addressing issues of immigration, class, and marginalized communities from the point of view of students through theater. Loosely based on the folktale “Stone Soup”, the tale will be brought into contemporary times to introduce questions about need and greed in America. Can we coexist in ways that allow for the benefit of all? What would that look and feel like?

  • Build skills to create your own characters and stories
  • Devise scenes with other students
  • Create a group performance guided by a visiting playwright
  • Address issues of belonging and exclusion that are important in our own lives, in the broader community and in the world.
Competencies:  Self-Awareness and Identity, Collaboration, Social Justice Concepts
Class size: 10
1:10 pm - 2:30 pm Math Lab
Led by Aidan Chappuis

This class provides individualized tutoring and instruction within a small group setting for students working in a wide range of math concepts, from pre-algebra skills through advanced mathematics, including skills such as Algebra 2, Pre-Calc, or Calculus. The course provides computer programs for various math courses, tutorial videos, and worksheets to supplement classroom instruction. The teacher will work with students individually at their own pace to craft goals based on their specific math needs.

Competencies:  Problem Solving, Foundational Computation, Advanced Mathematics
Class size: 15
1:10 pm - 2:30 pm LightHouse/Holyoke Media
Led by David Lane

This opportunity focuses on learning how to use the tools of media production to more deeply understand, explore and develop our community. Students will engage with staff and resources at Holyoke Media, experimenting with video cameras, audio equipment, lighting, editing equipment, and other resources to document our extraordinary school and the people who belong to the LightHouse community. Students will work toward creating content to share through Holyoke Media's cable access channel and social media. End-of-Block presentations will include samples of works in varying stages of completion, which might include audio files, video segments, YouTube videos, audio essays, or other creations from the minds of our students.

Competencies:  Experiential Learning, Media Fluency, Advanced Communication
Class size: 15
1:10 pm - 2:30 pm Cheer Squad
Led by Jayde Thomas

Cheer Squad is here by student request! Students have been wanting to be involved in community activities and sports. Cheer squad is a class that will involve all students. We will learn the fundamentals of cheerleading where students will work to cultivate leadership skills, voice, and team cooperation. Interested students will perform cheers, stunts, tumbling and choreographed routines.

Competencies:  Voice, Community Leadership (Advanced), Self Care and Wellness Strategies
Class size: 15
1:10 pm - 2:30 pm Youth Leadership
Led by Molly Brown-Hill and Ailey Verdelle

In this class we will learn about the History of resistance in the U.S. We will discuss popular movements of resistance and follow the threads of youth resistance, prominent radical movements and How to Organize. The material will incorporate youth participatory action research (YPAR). Within our intentions for Lighthouse, we will discuss how to create meaningful community and other necessary efforts to positively impact the Lighthouse community. This class will be a highly participatory class, and is for students who want to be leaders in the LightHouse community as well as their communities outside of school. Please bring your best ideas, questions, and intentions.

Competencies:  Advanced Communication, Community Leadership (Advanced), Advanced Social Sciences
Class size: 15
1:10 pm - 2:30 pm Science Lab II
Led by Nate Maynard

Are you interested in running your own experiments? Do you want to learn how to use science as a process to better understand the world around you? Then come and join us as we embark on a variety of scientific investigations that focus on asking questions, testing ideas, and sharing our findings. This class is a continuation of Science Lab from Block 1 and requires either Science Lab I as a prerequisite, or approval by your advisor. Students should have a working knowledge of experimental design and an interest in learning how to design and run experiments independently and in group settings.

Pre-requisite: Science Lab I or approval from Nate or student's advisor. Focus on high school students or students with knowledge in experimental design and the scientific process.

Competencies:  Effective Communication, Collaboration, Applied Scientific Reasoning
Class size: 15
1:10 pm - 2:30 pm Making the Planet You Want
Led by Joshua Newman

We’re going to make up some plausible worlds and talk about how worlds like Earth (and maybe others!) got to have life. We’re going to talk about the chemistry of life, we’re going to talk about what we mean when we say “alive”. Then we’re going to draw planets and maps and all the things that live there. Maybe we’ll make some sculptures and globes or find other ways to express what it’s like to be alive in the places we’ve made up!

Competencies:  Perseverance, Global Thinking, Applied Scientific Reasoning
Class size: 15
1:10 pm - 2:30 pm Money 101
Led by Carlos Pena

Course Description: Money 101 is a practical course designed to equip high school students with essential knowledge and skills to navigate the world of personal finance confidently. This course introduces students to crucial financial concepts such as budgeting, saving, investing, banking, credit, and financial planning. Through interactive sessions, guest speakers, and field trips, students will gain practical insights into managing their finances effectively. The first class of each week will feature a guest speaker or a field trip, and the second class will be a review of concepts and a hands on project.

Competencies:  Foundational Computation, Collaboration, Financial Literacy
Class size: 15
1:10 pm - 2:30 pm Strategies of Chess
Led by Molly Brown-Hill

Do you want to learn how to play chess, get better at chess, or already know how to play and love playing? Join this class! We will learn the basics as well as dive into different strategies, have fun, and play some chess!


Competencies:  Experiential Learning, Perseverance, Problem Solving
Class size: 15
1:10 pm - 2:30 pm Theology and World Religions
Led by Liam Russel

In this class we will explore different religions and beliefs from around the world. We will try to explore as many religions as possible including Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and Sikhi/Sikhism along with the similarities they share. We will keep an open mind of all opinions and beliefs as there is no one right way to think. Please join with an open mind and be ready to talk as this will be a more of a discussion based class.

Competencies:  Empathy, Global Thinking, Ethical Decision Making
Class size: 15
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