Current Courses


Block Two of the 2021 year begins on Monday, January 4th and continues through Friday, March 26th.

Monday/Wednesday

Led by Carlos Peña

This class is designed for both students who participated in Block One as well as for students who did not. With the new program structure starting in Block Two, all students will move through the program curriculum (see outline below), while receiving support to work at their own pace towards completing their Entrepreneurship & Design Program Portfolio.

Through original case studies about Western MA entrepreneurs, students will learn from entrepreneur’s stories. Students also explore illustration and graphic design through accessible methods and software, and work towards creating an original product using Paper City Clothing Company resources and sales platform. Students can make money selling the product they design (either an article of clothing or household product with original student designed art or messages printed).

See an overview of the entire Entrepreneurship and Design Program and the link below.

Entrepreneurship and Design

Class Size: 6 Student Max
Pathways: Entrepreneurship, Arts

Led by Carlos Peña

Part of the Entrepreneurship & Design Program, Shop Time is all about hands-on learning and creating at the screen-printing studio of Paper City Clothing Company, a block down from Lighthouse (on the corner of Race Street and Dwight Street). Students can participate in shop projects (lower commitment) or commit to a personalized project plan to work towards producing their own original posters, cards, tee shirts, totes, or makeup bags (higher commitment).  Frequently this class will also feature guest speakers and field trips relating to art, design and entrepreneurship.

Case studies: ArteSana (Holyoke-based social enterprise) and Upscale Socks (Springfield-based company that fundraises with sock sales).

Entrepreneurship and Design

Class Size: 6 Student Max
Pathways: Entrepreneurship, Arts

Led by Emmett DuPont

In this class, we will explore the global phenomenon of drugs. Consciousness altering drugs are found on every continent, in every type of community, and are used by millions of people from every walk of life. Many people’s lives are destroyed by drugs, while others claim tremendous spiritual, social, psychological and medical benefits from them, while still others use drugs recreationally with little negative or positive consequence.

Why do some people become addicts, and others do not? What social, emotional, neurological, personal, and/or societal factors play a role in drug use, abuse, addiction, and drug therapy? Throughout the course of this block, we will learn about the following drugs: cocaine, metamphetamines, opioids and opiates (including heroin), MDMA (ecstasy), psilocybin (shrooms) and alcohol, as well as other altering substances such as nicotine (cigarettes), CBD, and caffeine, and lesser-known drugs often used in indigenous spiritual settings such as ayahuasca.

We will explore the effects of these drugs on individuals and communities, tease out the details of the legalization debate, and learn about the national and international effects of The War on Drugs and ongoing drug criminalization and incarceration. This class will be a mostly sociological view, but some units will dig heavily into the science of drugs, addiction, and the fast-growing US-based medical research field of MDMA, ketamine and psilocybin therapy.

Class Size: 12 Student Max
Pathways: College Prep

Led by Greg Eichler

This course is a continuation of the focus on the basics, background, history, and techniques of music performance. In this course you will:

-Develop an understanding of fundamental musical concepts:
-Learn and utilize performance techniques
-Develop listening skills
-Dabble in music
-Explore different styles of music and art, as well as where these worlds intersect
-Discuss methods of promotion and explore ways to market oneself

Class Size: 8 Student Max
Pathways: Arts

Led by Tyler Perrone

A facilitator-led, tutorial where students engage in learner-specific modules (i.e. IXL, Khan Academy, etc.). Class facilitators will support students in their own individualized mathematical journeys. All skill levels are welcome.

Class Size: 8 Student Max
Pathways: College Prep

Use this time for independent study, homework, personal projects, socializing, advisory meetings, and/or one-on-one tutorials.

Led by Andy Kapinos

Towards a toolkit for intuitive cooking and eating: what should I eat and how do I do it? This course is a second installment of an examination of food that frames our personal choices in the context of physical, social, environmental, and economic health. Lessons and discussions are based around specific cooking tasks and techniques (i.e. soaking and cooking dry beans) and/or walking excursions to observe ecological and meteorological phenomena (i.e. the shad run at the dam).

Class Size: 10 Student Max
Pathways: Arts

Led by Sophia Eytel

A facilitator-led, tutorial where students work on writing projects with the help of our writing lab tutor. Writing Lab is open to all students and operates on a walk-in basis.

Class Size: 5 Student Max
Pathways: College Prep, Arts

Led by Alice Ladley

Queer Theory is a relatively new field of study (around thirty years old), that focuses on deconstructing and challenging cisheteronormativity. Now if that sounds confusing, then you should take this class.

In Queer Theory, we will delve into the history of studying queer identities, we will have discussions on contemporary queer issues, and most importantly, we will challenge each other’s worldviews. Throughout the block, we will cover various aspects of Queer Theory. We will begin with the basics, defining all the terminology we will use throughout the class. Surprisingly complex questions such as “what is gender?” will be discussed, and we will land on a consensus definition for class purposes. We will then move on to Queer Theorists and what they have to say about our conceptions of queerness.

Judith Butler, Michel Foucalt, Leslie Feinberg, and Kate Bornstein to name a few. Then we will apply the queer theory we have learned to modern issues within the queer community. For our final two weeks, students will be asked to create a project that reflects something they learned in class. The project can be a written paper, a podcast, or a slideshow on a favorite subject.

Besides a final project, this will be a light homework class, mostly focusing on in-class discussion. Queer Theory 101 is a discussion class first and foremost. I am going to strongly recommend that every student turns on their cameras during Zoom classes. If you do not have your camera on, make sure you unmute and talk throughout the class!

Class Size: 8 Student Max
Pathways: College Prep

Music studio is open and available for exploration, experimentation, and general racket-making. Recording equipment may only be used by students who have completed a training.
Use this time for independent study, homework, personal projects, socializing, advisory meetings, and/or one-on-one tutorials.

Students are encouraged to bring lunch, which can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer and heated up if necessary. All lunch containers and eating utensils brought in from home, must be cleaned at home during the COVID pandemic.
Led Epi Arias & Quinn Gledhill

This course is for students who have ever wanted to build their own computer. Honestly, building a computer is one of the funnest, most affordable, and empowering building activities! It’s really something being able to choose all of the parts that will go into your machine and it’s way cheaper than buying a PC from a store or manufacturer; it’s just so dang cool to DIY. We’ll be getting creative with finding parts and putting things together like Frankenstein!

Class Size: 8 Student Max
Pathways: Tech

Led Emmett DuPont

Share your favorite things and meet new favorite people! This casual, fun course will be built around YOUR favorite media. At the beginning of the block, each student will have a chance to recommend favorite things: books, bands, TV shows, YouTubers/Instagramers, video games, podcasts, what ever you like!

The facilitator (Emmett) will organize your recommendations into an anonymous syllabus, and we will all read/watch/play/listen to one recommendation before (and sometimes in) each class. In collaboration with Emmett, the student who recommended the material will lead us in a discussion on that particular piece of media.

Together we will broaden our horizons, share our favorite things with each other, build connections and community, and learn more about each other and our interests and passions by sharing our absolute favorite things with each other in this fast-paced, exploratory class.

Class Size: 10 Student Max
Pathways: Arts, College Prep

Led by Catherine Gobron

Eyes on the Prize is a 14-part PBS documentary series detailing the Civil Rights Movement in the United States between 1954 and 1980.

Let’s watch it together because it’s hard to change the future if you don’t know the past.

Let’s watch it together because it’s impossible to fully understand the present when we don’t know how we got here.

Let’s watch it together because we are standing on the shoulders of heroes and social justice warriors, and we should know their names and their stories as we try to build on their work.

Each episode is about an hour. Perfect length for pausing and discussing in large and small groups in our 90 minute sessions. Students will be asked to complete some writing and research assignments in addition to class discussion.

Class Size: 6 Student Max Onsite (Online up to 15)
Pathways: College Prep, Arts

Led by Kaeli Novak

This class is meant to provide adolescents meaningful knowledge and experience with topics of sexual health in a safe and supportive environment from a social justice lens. Topics explored in this class will include things such as sexual development, reproduction, relationships, affection, intimacy, decision making, safe sex practice, and consent as they intersect with societal issues in our world.

Class Size: 6 Student Max Onsite (Online up to 15)
Pathways: College Prep

Use this time for independent study, homework, personal projects, socializing, advisory meetings, and/or one-on-one tutorials.

Tuesday/Thursday

Led by Carlos Peña

This class is designed for both students who participated in Block One as well as for students who did not. With the new program structure starting in Block Two, all students will move through the program curriculum (see outline below), while receiving support to work at their own pace towards completing their Entrepreneurship & Design Program Portfolio.

Through original case studies about Western MA entrepreneurs, students will learn from entrepreneur’s stories. Students also explore illustration and graphic design through accessible methods and software, and work towards creating an original product using Paper City Clothing Company resources and sales platform. Students can make money selling the product they design (either an article of clothing or household product with original student designed art or messages printed).

See an overview of the entire Entrepreneurship and Design Program and the link below.

Entrepreneurship and Design

Class Size: 6 Student Max
Pathways: Entrepreneurship, Arts

Led by Carlos Peña

Part of the Entrepreneurship & Design Program, Shop Time is all about hands-on learning and creating at the screen-printing studio of Paper City Clothing Company, a block down from Lighthouse (on the corner of Race Street and Dwight Street). Students can participate in shop projects (lower commitment) or commit to a personalized project plan to work towards producing their own original posters, cards, tee shirts, totes, or makeup bags (higher commitment).  Frequently this class will also feature guest speakers and field trips relating to art, design and entrepreneurship.

Case studies: ArteSana (Holyoke-based social enterprise) and Upscale Socks (Springfield-based company that fundraises with sock sales).

Entrepreneurship and Design

Class Size: 6 Student Max
Pathways: Entrepreneurship, Arts

Led by Joshua Newman

When we look at the world, how do we know that our perceptions match the world? How do we figure out the difference between prejudice and intuition, between a satisfying explanation and one that is true? We will learn how to refine out intuition to understand through meditation what questions to ask, and we will refine our reasoning so we can learn how to answer them with more questions.

Class Size: 10 Student Max
Pathways: Tech, Arts, College Prep

Led by Ashley Goodfellow-Ratliff

**IMPORTANT: This class requires parental permission. We will be discussing true crime stories that involve murder, missing people, and wrongful convictions. Some of the topics that we discuss will be disturbing and hard to talk about. We will also look at crime scene photos of some cases; all of which will be described before students are shown. All of the cases that we will be discussing are listed below.

Parents – please sign this class description and have your student return it to Ashley by January 5th if they are allowed to take this class. Students will always be welcomed to step out of class if they need space. Those of you who took Ash Files will be familiar with the design for this class, except this year, we have a twist. Not only will we be talking true crime, but we will be studying some of the most prevalent theories in the field of criminology. This class will take place over two blocks.

We will cover the following theories:

1. Rational Choice Theory
2. Trait Theory
3. Social Structure Theories
4. Social Process Theories

Recently, a wave of interest has washed over the true crime community. Documentaries, books, podcasts, and movies have become so popular that the “armchair detective” has been created. These “armchair detectives” study, research, and analyze these true crime stories and speculate on the who, what, when, where, why, and hows of the case.

Through studying true crime, these armchair detectives learn about profiling, police procedures, and court proceedings. It also facilitates problem solving and critical thinking skills. In order to analyze true crime, the armchair detective must be willing to always think outside of the box and keep an open mind.

The following is a list of the cases that we will be studying (in no particular order – students will vote on the order that we will cover each case):

1. The Mysterious Death of Kendrick Johnson
2. The Cold Case of Natalee Halloway
3. The Murder of Laci Peterson
4. The Mysterious Death of the Yuba County Five
5. The Infamous Dexter Killer
6. The Cold Case of Brian Shaffer
7. The Murder of Ron Stovall
8. The Cold Case of Tara Calico
9. The Cold Case of DeOrr Kunz Jr.

CLASS REQUIREMENTS:
—This class will involve VERY heavy note taking (if this scares you it’s OKAY because I am here to help you develop those skills).
—The class will also involve a writing assignment after every case.
—CAMERAS MUST BE TURNED ON FOR THE ENTIRE DURATION OF CLASS.

During the last two weeks of class, we will attempt to solve a mock cold case together as a group. So, who wants to be my fellow armchair detective?

Pathways: College Prep

Led by Emmett Wald with Holyoke Codes

Learn the basics of web development. Students will learn how to create a simple static webpage using only HTML, how to customize appearance and layout with CSS, and how to add interactive elements using JavaScript. These skills will be applied to building a real, working website over the course of the block!

This class is intended for beginners—no previous web development or coding experience necessary.The goal of this course is to introduce web development concepts and practices (HTML page structure, tags, formatting & styles, IDs & classes, hyperlinks) as well as to teach syntax and structures specific to HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

We will also discuss how the Internet works, how to make sense of URLs, website builders like WordPress, looking at source code of webpages, and other topics. I hope students will leave this course with the confidence to create and maintain their own websites, an appreciation for how the internet works, and a desire to keep learning web development.

Syllabus will be at: https://digitsandbytes.edublogs.org/web-dev-winter-2021/

Class Size: 15 Student Max
Pathways: Tech, College Prep

Led by Dan Battat

This class is open by permission only with space for four LightHouse students.This is a two-hour class and will be held at Brick Coworkshop, Dan’s shop on Dwight Street. Students will get dirty, probably suffer minor, occasional burns, and learn to use professional tools to create both art and utilitarian pieces.

Registering for this class is a 11-WEEK COMMITMENT, four hours per week. You may not miss class except for serious circumstances with written excuses. This is a major commitment. Please plan accordingly.Students will be required to bring appropriate attire to every class, including long pants and boots. You may store your work clothes at the shop.

Class Size: 5 Student Max
Pathways: Tech, Arts

Use this time for independent study, homework, personal projects, socializing, advisory meetings, and/or one-on-one tutorials.

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.

Class Size: 15 Student Max
Pathways: Arts, Tech, Entrepreneurship

Led by Epi Arias

This class will provide students with an historical overview of the mysterious world of the occult. As we know it, the occult encompasses a variety of disciplines, subjects, and practices ranging from supernatural abilities, spiritual perspectives, mysticism, magical beliefs, and the paranormal.

Yet, technically, the term “occult” comes from the Latin “occulere” and “occultare,” which mean “concealed” or “hidden.” In other words, the occult is relative to the times in which we live, and by definition, simply relate to hidden or secret knowledge outside of the mainstream.

In this class, we’ll explore various traditionally occult topics such as astrology, divination, UFO’s, extraterrestrials, unsolved mysteries, witchcraft, ghosts, ESP, cryptids –and more– with a strongly critical eye. Like anything else, and whether or not one “believes” in it or not, much of the occult is fraught with psychological pitfalls, cases of fraud, obsession, and flights of fancy. Keeping a balanced mind and a discerning perspective is imperative when approaching this subject, especially given the recent boom in occult interests.

So, ultimately, the goal of this class is provide students with an accurate, historical understanding of the occult while simultaneously arming them with a deep sense of discernment and encourage a practical, functioning philosophical outlook. We will be reading, watching, and writing quite a bit, so be prepared to be active, folx!

Class Size: 13 Student Max
Pathways: College Prep

Led by Alan Gilburg

Humans have always lived by telling stories…all kinds of stories, mostly about life and its challenges, delights, sorrows and joys, and a lot about “what’s the point?” We’ll start with the Gilgamesh Epic from ancient Mesopotamia, enter Egypt, then Greece and the Hebrew Bible. We’ll also study the Celts, Scandinavians and some Grimm’s Fairy Tales.

The whole point is to discover what these stories meant to the cultures that created them, as well as what they say to us today. These stories are classics because they have somehow touched something lasting, perhaps even eternal, in the human psyche. Not only that, they continue to inform the stories we tell today in our novels, plays and films.

Class Size: 10 Student Max
Pathways: College Prep

Led by Steven Stover

This is a comparative film and literature discussion group that will use select films and graphic novels to explore how ideas are translated into image and story. The class will focus on relationship, both as a theme between characters within a narrative, and as a way to understand our role as the audience. Students will compare and contrast assigned media with aspects from their personal viewing history to explore their understanding of how art succeeds or fails at conveying a message, and whether that matters beyond personal interpretation or mere entertainment.

Class Size: 10 Student Max
Pathways: College Prep, Arts

Music studio is open and available for exploration, experimentation, and general racket-making. Recording equipment may only be used by students who have completed a training.
Use this time for independent study, homework, personal projects, socializing, advisory meetings, and/or one-on-one tutorials.

Students are encouraged to bring lunch, which can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer and heated up if necessary. All lunch containers and eating utensils brought in from home, must be cleaned at home during the COVID pandemic.
Led by I-SHEA Shaikly

In this class, you will have the opportunity to dive into the world of songwriting with you at the center first. You, the creator. Your creative expression, readiness to listen, to participate, to share, to reflect, and to be your authentic self is highly recommended. This class is all about channeling these things into songs through journaling, sharing, discussions, and other discoveries.

And as a class (or I would like to say ‘Collective’), you are all in progress together. You will build and write songs as a collective. The main goal of the collective is to write and produce two songs as part of their mid and final presentations. This is a highly participatory class. Be a part of co-creating and co-producing/editing two amazing songs!

Class Size: 8 Student Max
Pathways: Arts

Led by Joshua Newman

Build video games with your friends this block! We’ll be learning Game Salad together and, like every other Makerspace project, we’ll be doing art, learning new techniques and ideas, and thinking about what we say with how we want to play. Come with a friend you want to work with or join with a partner or two. This class is particularly welcoming to femme, enby, and girl students, but anyone is, of course, welcome.

Class Size: 15 Student Max
Pathways: Tech, Arts

Led Darien Acero

What is “the economy”? How is it structured, how did it come to be this way, and what impact does it have on people’s lives? In this course we will collectively work through fun zines to understand capitalism, its functions, its impact, and what the future might hold.

We will try to figure out what “profit” is and means, how labor and work relations affect us and our world, what the role of the state is, why it seems like we’re in a constant process of crisis, and what some of our options for a better world might be.

Through our investigations, we’ll critically discuss race, gender, sexuality, human/animal relations, the environment, and indigeneity. Come ready to participate as the most important part of our learning is our experiences.

Class Size: 10 Student Max
Pathways: College Prep

Led by Ashley Goodfellow-Ratliff

Lately, things have been really hard. A lot of us are stressed, overwhelmed, tired, and maybe feeling isolated. We recently had a lunch at LightHouse where a group of us sat together and colored in near silence. Afterwards, we all felt like we just left a therapy session and weight fell of our shoulders. Just by coloring.

Thus, the idea was born! Let’s have an art and mindfulness class! Art is one of those things that is incredibly therapeutic. Let’s get together and color, draw, paint, sculpt, whatever art your mind is feeling, while also learning and trying a bunch of different mindfulness techniques.

Class Size: 5 Student Max (Onsite Only)
Pathways: Arts

Use this time for independent study, homework, personal projects, socializing, advisory meetings, and/or one-on-one tutorials.

Calendar

LightHouse begins the year on Tuesday, September 8 and follows a similar schedule to other local schools through June of 2020.

Click to see our full calendar:

Tuesday, September 8, New Student Orientation (new, incoming students only)

Wednesday/Thursday/Friday, September 9-11, All-Student Orientation

Monday, September 14, Block One begins and continues through December 18

Monday, October 12, closed for Columbus Day

Monday, November 2, closed for Staff Development Day

Wednesday, November 11, closed for Veterans Day

Monday, November 23 and Tuesday, November 24 Mid-Block Workshops

Wednesday/Thursday/Friday, November 25-27, closed for Thanksgiving

Mon, December 14 through Fri, December 18, Portfolio Review Days and Workshops

Monday, December 21 through Friday, January 1, closed for Winter Break

Monday, January 4, Block Two begins and continues through March 26

Monday, January 18, closed for Martin Luther King Day

Monday, Feb 15 through Friday, February 19, closed for February Break

Monday, March 8, closed for Staff Development Day

Thursday/Friday, March 24-25, Portfolio Review Days

Monday, March 29, Block Three begins and continues through June 4

Monday, April 19 through Friday, April 23, closed for April Break

Monday, May 31, Closed for Memorial Day

Monday, June 7 through Thursday, June 10, Presentations Week and Portfolio Review (all students expected at LightHouse this week)

Friday, June 11, Graduation in the evening (no school today)

Monday, June 14 through Thursday, June 17, End of year meetings with students and families (teens come in only for their family meeting, no school this week)

Questions?


“I know not what the future holds,
but I know who holds the future.”

-Ralph Abernathy