Current Courses


Block One of the 2019 year begins on Tuesday, September 3rd for new students and on Wednesday, Septembner 4th for all students, then continues through Friday, December 18th. Block Two will begin in the Winter on Monday, January 6th, with a new set of classes.

LightHouse offers a variety of classes which meet twice per week, Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday.  Students register in advance for each block, and keep a portfolio of their work. Classes are related to one or more Pathways: Entrepreneurship, Tech, Arts, or College Prep.  Learn more about Pathways HERE.

On Fridays students engage in optional service learning opportunities in our local community.  LightHouse teens work together to select partner organizations and projects.

Monday/Wednesday

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 five-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: 4 Student Max.

Pathways: Arts, Entrepreneurship

Led by Josh Hornick and Catherine Gobron

There are two basic approaches to life. One is that life happens to me and there’s not much I can do about it. The other is that by choosing how I respond to every situation, I can make my life how I want it to be. This class is about the second approach.

Abraham Lincoln said that most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be. Yeah, but how do you do that? What works? What really works? This course, taught by life and business coach, Joshua Hornick, is a how-to course that addresses those questions. The course will address human behavior, including elements of positive and sports psychology, philosophy, group dynamics, business management, communications, organizational development, family dynamics, and even some metaphysics. We’ll talk a lot. And, we’ll play some games.

Along with overarching frameworks of how people operate, students will learn many specific techniques for improving habits, sustaining positive relationships, getting what you want, and being awesome, that is, being someone who brings out the unique creativity in others. To get the full value of the course, students will need to experiment with what they learn.

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

Led by Rafael Fields

This class will be based around the book, When a Heart Turns Rock Solid, by Timothy Black. The book is set in Springfield, MA and tells the stories of three Puerto Rican brothers from 1990 till 2008, connecting their stories to the economic, cultural and political factors that shaped them.

Besides the brothers, the author also includes their parents, partners and children and men in their neighborhood. Black builds a picture of marginalization, racism and poverty. Students will be expected to read or listen to the entirety of this book, in sections, over the course of the block OUTSIDE OF CLASS TIME.

This will leave classes for deep discussions of the topics and events we read about. On top of reading, students will be encouraged to take notes, and required to choose at least once section of reading to present on and then lead a class discussion about. The presentations will be to add depth to some of the themes touched on in the reading.

Class Size: 10 Student Max.
Pathways: College Prep

Led by Carlos Peña

In this class, student will explore the various kinds of behaviors animals adopt in order to survive in the wild. Begin with how animals learn and communicate, then moving on to discussing how they find food, avoid predators, choose their mates, and rear their offspring. We’ll also explore comparisons between species and draw parallels on human behavior.

Class Size: 10 Student Max
Pathways: College Prep

Led by Jen Gross

A first-period, facilitator-led open 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: 4 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 John Regan for Cactushead Puppets

Explore the art of puppetry, and learn how to create and perform with your own puppets. Puppetry is a wide ranging art form, practiced in many different styles. It allows you to create a creature larger than life, or build a whole world that fits in a suitcase. In this class we’ll focus mainly on shadow puppets, hand puppets, and rod puppets.

You’ll be designing and creating your own puppet characters in each of those styles using professional materials, and creating short performance pieces with those puppets. This is a great class if you are interested in both visual art and performance, but no experience is needed! You’ll finish class with several puppets, and be able to perform your own short puppet piece.

Class Size: 10 Student Max
Pathways: Arts

Led by Ashley Goodfellow-Sulock

In this year-round research class, students will begin research projects on a topic that they are passionate about. Some parts of class will deal with different research methods, data collection, and how to write a research report in a variety of ways. Each class will be about 25% classroom discussion and about 75% independent research. Ashley will be helping each student get their research to completion and will aide in helping each student find resources during their research.

We will spend time specifically going over these things and much more:

• Different research methods
• Data collection
• Surveying
• Interviewing
• Formatting
• Bibliography
• Peer reviewing

Class Size: 7 Student Max
Pathways: College Prep

Led by Alan Gilburg

Is Myth merely “falsehood” as most dictionaries tell us? Or is it possible that Myth is alive and well even in our modern day, full of true believers?

Joseph Campbell showed us some 30 years ago that Myth is one of humanity’s most powerful resources and that our insistence that it is merely falsehood is a grave error. We have always looked to stories to define our Reality. So how have we as a nation created various stories that tell us who we are and what our destiny is?

We will investigate these stories in depth, stories that started with the Puritans of 1630, continue through to the founding of the nation, the expansion of the frontier and our emergence as a world power. Clearly these stories work well for some but not for others. As the world has changed so have our stories. And as we as a nation are now confronted by a global environment, what do we do with our familiar stories? This class is an exploration into American history through the myth of American Exceptionalism and civil religion.

We’ll be reading some original sources and using the lens of mythology to investigate our history as a people. Be prepared to do a good deal of reading and reporting in class what you have found. As usual we’ll challenge one another and laugh a lot. And BTW, you won’t find a course like this anywhere in the country.

Readings:

  • John Winthrop’s sermon in 1630 aboard the Arabella
  • Perry Miller, “An Errand into the Wilderness”
  • TED Talk by Yuval Noah Hariri, Fascism vs. Nationalism
  • Howard Zinn: A Young People’s History of The United States, adapted by Rebecca Stefoff
  • Robert N. Bellah, The Broken Covenant: American Civil Religion in a Time of Trial

Class Size: 10 Student Max
Pathways: College Prep

Led by Jen Gross

A second-period, facilitator-led open 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 Max: 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. 
Led Quinn Gledhill & Parker Chevalier

“Dungeons & Dragons” (aka D&D) is a narrative role-playing game based on the myths and fantasies that have shaped our culture, and is a game of endless possibilities where the only limit on what can happen is what you can imagine. Not only a social experience, D&D combines group storytelling and fantasy iconography with strategic challenges and dice-rolling to create a fun and exciting activity where there are no winners or losers (well, unless, you…you know… die?).

In this class we will be delving into the many different classes and how you could play them in the game “Dungeons & Dragons,” the different races your character could be, from humans to “dragonborn” and everything in-between, the equipment a character should take, how to make a character with these classes/races/equipment, how people could make their own classes/races (Homebrew), and the perks of each! It’s a dynamic learning experience that meets a variety of educational objectives while also managing to be fun!

COURSE GOALS

●Work and socialize with your classmates as a team
●Apply math, reading, and writing skills in a non-academic setting
●Implement creative and imaginative solutions to problems
●Become familiar with the basics of Dungeons & Dragons
●Develop and grow a character of choice throughout a campaign

COURSE SCHEDULE

Week 1: Create characters and recap
Week 2: Begin study of classes/races
Week 3: ^
Week 4: ^
Week 5: Attributes and effects
Week 6: ^
Week 7: ^
Week 8: Probability
Week 9: ^
Week 10: Homebrewing
Week 11: ^
Week 12: ^
Week 13: Conclusions
Week 14: Full recap and finishing bits

CLASS EXPECTATIONS

●Clean up after yourselves
●Stay quiet when the DM is speaking (in-game half)
●Bring a pencil with an eraser
●Follow the table rules

Class Size: 6 Student Max
Pathways: Special Topics

Led by Emmett DuPont

The year is 2023, and the United States government has collapsed. A small group of leaders have been elected to revisit laws, policies, and social structures in the US, and help to reform and rebuild them… but not for the benefit of ALL citizens.

In this highly engaging and interactive civics course, each student will determine a constituency whose interests they wish to represent. Examples of “constituencies” may be elderly citizens, the “alt right,” LGBTQ+ people, immigrants, conservatives etc. With each student representing the interests and well-being of their own constituencies, this class will debate and attempt to reform United States policies on controversial topics that may range from education to reproductive rights, from gun-control to drug policy.

Students will collectively determine which topics are covered, and will work collaboratively (or potentially in opposition with each other) to create legal reform. This course will contain debate on sensitive material. Students will be encouraged to research and represent opinions that do not necessarily reflect their own. Participation in the previous offering of 2023 is not a prerequisite.

Class Size: 10 Student Max
Pathways: College Prep

Led by Camila O’Brien

Description: In this class we’ll be focusing on Puerto Rican artists that work/reside in the United States. The class will delve into the history, the politics, and the culture of an incredible body of work that concerns us all. Focusing on the Puerto Rican diaspora, we’ll be going through the works on Pepon Rosario, Juan Sanchez, and other prominent artistic figures.

Class Size: 8 Student Max
Pathways: Arts, College Prep

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

Led by Catherine Gobron

ONLY WEDNESDAYS. The college application can seem like a scary, monumental thing, but it’s actually not as daunting as it might appear to be once you have a plan and a little bit of support. In the this College Application Group, students will have an opportunity to work on the entire college application process, from creating application accounts to writing up great college essays. Together, we’ll work through those checklists and hit those higher learning goals!

Class Size: 10 Student Max
Pathways: College Prep

Tuesday/Thursday

Led by Rafael Fields

Humans have been making things since just about the beginning. In fact, it is our ability to make things, including tools to perform tasks, that we use today as a key evolutionary differentiation in the development of homo sapiens (our species). In that long history, humans have made billions of things. Some are simple and biodegradable, and have long since disappeared back into the earth. Other things are complex and stood the test of time.

These things can be found throughout the world, in undiscovered crevices and ruins, but also in old barns, storage containers, and even pawn shops. This class will provide an opportunity to take on a few different rolls that could include, art historian, appraiser, investigator, restoration specialist, and more. We will seek out objects of interest, either in our own homes or collections, or from antique stores, old mill buildings in holyoke, or even on Ebay, and we will commit to investigating these objects to the greatest depth, in order to uncover their stories and the stories of the people who have held them.

Objects can be anything of any age. Some ideas include old watches, clocks, ceramics, blades, tools, statues/sculpture, Art, Photographs, Toys, Jewelry, Memorabilia. Students will take on at least one object, but likely several over the course of the block. Students are encouraged to complete research papers on their objects, but all types of projects are welcome. Students will also be encourage to present to the class on their research.

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

Led by Joshua Newman

The art that is most fun is art that’s hard. Enter the Makerspace to learn creative media like electronics that make objects think, engineering to make objects fly, bookbinding to make objects remember, and drawing to make the world teach you.

Class Requirement: Students may take either Art That Thinks or Maker Time but not both.
Class Size: 8 Student Max
Pathways: Art, Tech, College Prep

Led by Julia Rowinski

Photography is an impactful visual medium that we see used every day to communicate an enormous range of concepts, ideas, and information–from strictly facts to pure fantasy. In this class we will learn about: photography as a visual language, using manual controls on a digital camera, using Photoshop, printing with a digital printer, and techniques to photograph challenging scenes.

We’ll also discuss some of broader considerations within photography: its history, ethics in image making, why make images, and what kinds of careers people with photography skills might explore.

Class Size: 8 Student Max
Pathways: Arts, Entrepreneurship, Tech

Led by Tyler Perrone

A first-period, facilitator-led tutorial where students engage in learner-specific Khan Academy modules. Class facilitators will support students in their own individualized mathematical journeys. All skill levels are welcome.

Class Size Max: 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 Professor Michael Weiler

This course is about making arguments in situations that really matter for individuals and groups. We will focus on two argument settings: criminal trials and debates about national policy. In the first case, each student will research an actual criminal trial (as old or new as you like), and play the role of prosecutor/defender and key witness in a re-enactment. For the second, each student will debate an important current controversy such as gun violence, climate change, or transgender rights, either advocating or opposing a policy proposal on that issue.

Class Size: 8 Student Max
Pathways: College Prep

Led by Emmett DuPont

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a global challenge for anyone who has ever considered writing a novel. During the month of November, over 200,000 participants worldwide attempt to write 50K words in 30 days. This fast-paced challenge encourages writers to focus on quantity over quality, producing as much as you can as quickly as you can, and kindly telling your inner editor to just be quiet for one month.

During the month of October, we will brainstorm and prepare for a mad dash to the 50,000 word finish line, or a word count goal of your own choosing, by the end of November. Think that sounds crazy? Think you might not be able to finish? Me too. Let’s write together, and see how far we can get. This class will be a creative whirlwind of brainstorming, preparing, writing, collaborating, inspiring each other, and pushing through writer’s block.  Are you ready for a challenge?

Class Size: 10 Student Max
Pathways: College Prep

Led by Joshua Newman

If you have projects you want to work on, join me in the Makerspace. I’ll be working on my own projects and answering questions as you work on yours! Come in if you want to know what a tool or material is and I’ll show you how to use it! Students must clean up after themselves.

Class Requirement: Students may take either Art That Thinks or Maker Time but not both.

Class Size: 8 Student Max
Pathways: Art, Tech, College Prep

Led by Tyler Perrone

A second-period, facilitator-led tutorial where students engage in learner-specific Khan Academy modules. Class facilitators will support students in their own individualized mathematical journeys. All skill levels are welcome.

Class Size Max: 8 Student Max
Pathways: College Prep

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. 
Led by Ashley Goodfellow-Sulock

Whether you are an avid reader, movie fan, or both, it is clear that the worlds of literature and film walk hand in hand. One of the most exciting, but sometimes frustrating, things about reading a book that has been turned into a movie is seeing if what you imagined while you read matched what a filmmaker imagined while they read. Sometimes the two imaginations completely align, while other times they could not be more far apart. This is the magic of turning written word into motion picture.

In this film adaptation class we will be reading very popular books that were then turned into equally as popular movies. We will study many different genres and really examine the different ways that filmmakers turn books into live action. We will work on reading skills, writing skills, and being able to analyze film. This class will be incredibly heavy with reading. We will spend two weeks reading the book, and one week watching and analyzing the film.

We will be reading each of the books aloud in class and pulling out different themes and characters that are very important to discuss. There will also be a large amount of reading that must be done at home. At the end of each book/movie there will also be an assigned paper.

**Students will not be allowed to watch the movies if they have not attended class and read the books. Attendance is necessary in order to maintain one’s spot in the class. If students are not reading the books or keeping up with the assignments, their spot will be given to someone else.

The following is a list of the film adaptations that we will read and watch in class, and a permission slip will be sent home at the beginning of the block:

1. The Great Gatsby (1925 Publication) (PG-13 Film)
2. The Outsiders (1967 Publication) (PG Film)
3. The Mist (1980 Publication) (R Film)
4. Matilda (1988 Publication) (PG Film)
5. Because of Winn-Dixie (2000 Publication) (PG Film)
6. Polar Express (1985 Publication) (G Film)
7. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1957 Publication) (G Film)

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

Led by Joshua Newman

We’ll learn how shapes interact in the real world and how to use those shapes to understand it. Along the way, we’ll learn algebra, geometry, and trigonometry as we work together to find interesting ways to express and understand the world in ratios, angles, and quantities.

Class Size: 8 Student Max
Pathways: College Prep, Tech, Arts

Led by Ryan Carnes

In this class we’ll be exploring illustration as a form of conceptual problem solving that can be assisted by other technical skills such as drawing. Students will learn or improve upon their drawing skills in order to complete several illustrations of various narrative situations. Students will then be expected to explain their decisions to illustrate a particular way.

Class Size: 8 Student Max
Pathways: Arts

Led by Carlos Peña

Play basketball on some of the many outdoor courts around town. All are welcome! But if you come to the court, plan to play, not watch. 

Class Size: 10 Student Max
Pathways: Special Topics

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 3, and follows a similar schedule to other local schools through June of 2020.

Click to see our full calendar:

Tuesday, September 3, New Student Orientation

Wednesday/Thursday, September 4-5, All-Student Orientation and Shop Exploratory Days

Monday, September 9, Block 1 classes begin and continue through December 13

Monday, October 14, closed for Columbus Day

Monday, November 4, closed for Staff Development Day

Monday, November 11, closed for Veterans Day

Monday, November 25 and Tuesday, November 26 Mid-Block Workshops

Wednesday/Thursday/Friday November 27-29, closed for Thanksgiving

Monday, December 9 through Friday, December 13, Pre-Registration Week

Monday/Tuesday/ Wednesday, December 16-18, Portfolio and Final Projects Review

Thursday, December 19 through Friday, January 3, Closed for Winter Break

Monday, January 6, Block 2 begins and continues through March 27

Monday, January 20, closed for Martin Luther King Day

Monday, Feb 17 through Friday, February 21, closed for February Break

Monday, March 9, closed for Staff Development Day

Monday, March 23 through Fri, March 27 Pre-Registration Week

Thursday, March 26 and Friday, March 27, Portfolio and Final Projects Review

Monday, March 30, Block 3 begins and continues through June 5

Monday, April 20 through Friday, April 24, closed for April Break

Monday, May 25, Closed for Memorial Day

Monday, June 8 through Thursday, June 11, (LAST DAY OF SCHOOL) – Presentations Week and Portfolio Review
(all students should be at LightHouse this week)

Friday, June 12, Graduation in the evening (NO SCHOOL TODAY)

Monday, June 15 through Thursday, June 19, 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