Current Courses


Block Two of the 2019 year begins on Monday, January 6th and continues through Friday, March 27th. Block Three will begin on Monday, March 30th, 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 Kamil Peters

This class is open by permission only with space for five LightHouse students. This is a three-hour class and will be held at DieselWorks, Kamil’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 an 15 class commitment, six 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.

In order to assure attendance and commitment to this class, we are asking for a materials fee of $20 per class which will be returned at the end of the block. Please discuss with your advisor. For families who cannot pay the advance returnable fee we can create alternative options.

Class Size: 5 Student Max

Pathways: Arts, Entrepreneurship

Led by Emmett DuPont

This biology class will focus on practical, hands-on skills, and learning by doing. We will culture bacteria on varying surfaces, experiment with microscopes, work on streak plate, pipette and lab skills, dissect small animals, and conduct experiments on classmates, all while exploring the wide world of biological science.

Students of all skill levels are invited to this class, but attendance and participation will be absolutely mandatory. The skills we learn in this class will build on themselves, making patchy or lack of participation unacceptable. That being said, this class is a great option for students with no previous experience in biology, or students who had a not so pleasant experience with it in the past. This class will be fast-paced and hands-on, taking a non-lecture approach as we grapple with the fundamentals of biology, and don’t panic, maybe a little chemistry!

Class Size: 10 Student Max

Pathways: College Prep

Led by Carlos Peña

Video Production I is a course designed for students with an interest in video communications. Students will plan, prepare, design, develop, edit and evaluate video from a communication and entertainment perspective. Students will create video productions that will demonstrate their knowledge of camera angles, production planning and sequencing. Some of the class video may be used by LightHouse Holyoke to promote programs offered at the school.

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

Led by Greg Eichler

This course will 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

– Explore different styles of music and art, as well as where these worlds intersect

– Dabble in music

– Discuss methods of promotion and explore ways to market oneself

Class Size: 10 Student Max
Pathways: Arts

Led by Tyler Perrone

An instructor-led tutorial where students engage in learner-specific online class modules. 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 Camila O’Brien

It’s a reality that relationships are the very core of human life. Learning to navigate relationships -with all the people in one’s life- while creating a positive relationship with oneself, can be one of life’s most difficult, and yet rewarding, challenges. As people in constant relation to others, we need tools to help up strengthen these relationships, whether it be by increasing our ability to communicate, set proper boundaries, advocating for those closest to us, or just plain getting along.

In this class, students will pick up some tools and gain some insight as to why people do what they do in relationships and how they can find better strategies for coping with challenging interactions. In this class, we’ll also look at the belief systems, “baggage,” and mind-frames that tend to compromise an otherwise healthy relationship. Along the way, we’ll be exploring important studies, literature, and frameworks for helping increase students’ “Relationship IQ”!

Class Size: 10 Student Max
Pathways: College Prep

Led by Professor Michael Weiler

This class looks at moments in US history when oppressed groups (and their supporters)
have risen up to resist their oppression. Such moments are stories of some notable successes but also
partial victories and outright failures. They are inspiring stories of courage, creativity and sacrifice that
teach us important lessons about the prospects for positive political change, today and in the years to
come.

Class Size: 10 Student Max
Pathways: College Prep

Led by Brittany Adams, OTD, MS, OTR/L

In this class, students will explore the foundations of neuroanatomy through interactive learning experiences (sheep brain examinations, electrical stimulation, simulated conditions, etc.). The curriculum will include an exploration of basic human brain anatomical structure and function, neurological diagnoses, and associated conditions. This class will be beneficial for students who are interested in pursuing a career in the medical field, have an interest in psychological disorders, or are interested in learning more about the human brain. It may be beneficial for students to have a basic background in anatomy, but it is not required.

Class Size: 10 Student Max
Pathways: College Prep

Led by Harold Burnett

The course is designed to teach students basic acting skill. The students will learn the art of character development and monologue work. The class will include preparation exercises leading to the relaxation, concentration, and imagination of the actor. The practical tools explored in this course are designed to offer students greater vocal, physical, and imaginative freedom.

Class Size: 8 Student Max
Pathways: 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. 
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

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 Inky Stainsworth

#TurningANewLeaf

::countdown eARTh::

Even if you’re not paying attention to the news and science, it is painfully obvious that our planet and general way of life are in all types of trouble. Not just the dramatic climate change that we humans are responsible for encouraging at a quickening rate over the past 50 years, but the increasing ocean acidification, extremely frequent storms and droughts, the severe decline of the insect population, massive erosion of wildlife habitats, and large populations of the animal kingdom, from songbirds in the sky to whales and sea life of the ocean, are all in jeopardy thanks to our overpopulated presence and our addiction to non-renewable energy sources such as coal and oil.

It’s enough to make your head & heart explode!

Breathe.

OK.

Instead of exploding, what can we do with our precious time in this beautiful and imperiled world?

-Can we collectively help steer real political environmental policy change and lessen the impact of our combined ecological footprint?
-Can we share and communicate ideas of sustainability and recycle, re-use, re-furbish, & re-design the way food, clothing, and products are made and especially: disposed of?
-Can we plan for a different future, with unpredictable & extreme weather and harsher food-growing conditions, by learning how the Earth and our bodies work on a deeper level, and planning ahead?
-Can we change our old-world habits a little bit each day to use less and do more, while thinking optimistically about our futures and our grand-children of tomorrow?These goals all seem out of reach, but they definitely are achievable if we work together as a society, and agree on what the Earth is telling us. If we listen to science and conservationists, do the math, perform the work, integrate it into our daily lives, and build towards a common goal that is not financially-driven, but still benefits all of us and the planet we stand on, we may have a chance…In this class we will challenge the looming factors of environmental collapse by exploring & equipping the topics and science of environmental advocacy & conservation. Through role-playing activities & creative solutions, each student will choose a Potential End to tackle and turn the tide on. Using art, science, & optimism to create a viable solution to each particular problem we are facing, students will learn and have to teach each other from different focus camps to unite their combined research and propose to save the world.

From clever up-cycling of everyday waste that otherwise becomes needless trash, to creative signage & street art that can influence the average passer-by, to community-organizing that can lead to shared gardens & group-discount purchases for renewable energy sources and eco-friendly products, there are a range of opportunities to join the battle for our Earth!

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

Led by Epi Arias

“The limits of my language are the limits of my world.”
– Ludwig Wittgenstein

…So let’s be unlimited! Everything is writing! It’s what separates us from the apes, and the rabbits, and the flies, and the goats… Think about! Whether you need to write a college essay, the letter to your mayor, a burning hot rant to that store that sold you defective shoes: you NEED to be able to write, and well!

Learning to properly compose any form of writing requires practice and sticking with it, no matter how good or bad you think you might be. Chinua Achebe said it best: “I believe myself that a good writer doesn’t really need to be told anything except to keep at it.” Exactly! We are what we keep at, so let’s begin!
Here are things we will be working on:
  • Reading comprehension
  • Reading analysis
  • Grammar, Punctuation, and Spelling
  • Proofreading & Editing
  • Storytelling
  • Flash Fiction]
  • Essay Crafting
  • Autobiographical Writing
  • Research
  • Syntax
  • Flow
  • Etc.

The class will require lots of reading and writing -and yes, there will be homework- so come prepared to get your hands dirty…or inky! Looking forward to see you there!

Class Size: 10 Student Max
Pathways: Arts, College Prep
Led by Ryan Carnes

This course will take a look at the basic techniques and practices of various forms of animation. After exploring the fascinating history of animation, we’ll be focusing on the principles of animation, the physics of animation, storytelling, sequencing, character design, and style! Get ready to breathe life into your art!

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

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

Tuesday/Thursday

Led Joshua Newman

Build electronic instruments to make weird electronic music! You’ll learn how to solder, how to build electronic circuits, and how sound and sound synthesis works.

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

*Class Requirement: Students may take either Building Electronic Music or Open Maker Time but not both.

Led by Emmett DuPont

Ever been curious about whether or not aliens exist? How about whether or not we can live forever? Why people join cults? Why are people anxious? Do dreams really tell us anything important? Is astrology real? How did K-pop become a global phenomenon? In this fast-paced class, we will address a different topic every single day. Class will start out with a 15 to 30 minute documentary, and move on to discussion, activities, and assignments further exploring the topic.

This class is a great choice for anyone who is deeply curious about the world, or anyone who hasn’t quite found their area of interest… yet. If you find yourself getting restless after tackling one topic for a while, or you just want to know more about tattoos, cryptocurrency or psychedelics, come join us to explore all these topics, and many more!

Class Size: 10 Student Max
Pathways: College Prep

Led by Raffi Fields

In this class, we will take a deeper look at the issue of immigration. We will try to get through the mystery and confusion in order to figure out what exactly is going on, and how we got here. We will begin this block by looking at some of the rhetoric and high profile issues of today. It is hard to avoid the issue of immigration in any news these days. We will try to figure out why, and what exactly they are talking about. This means looking at who is immigrating, how they are immigrating, and why they are immigrating.

We will then turn to the history of immigration and the legal and social systems in which it has occurred. Has immigration always been an issue? What laws have governed immigration? How have people felt about immigration and immigrants in the past? We will look at specific policies and numbers as well as question the underlying political concepts like citizenship, sovereignty, documentation, rights and others.

Our goal will be to contextualize the patterns of immigration of today, and to understand their causes, characteristics, and impacts. Classes will be divided between discussion, in class reading, films, and perhaps some out of class writing.

Class Size: 10 Student Max
Pathways: College Prep

Led by Epi Arias

Writing Lab is just that, a writing lab, where students sign-up to work on all number of writing projects with the help of our writing lab facilitators.

Class Size Max: 5 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 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!

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

*Class Requirement: Students may take either Open Makerspace or Building Electronic Music but not both.

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. 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 6th if they are allowed to take this class. Students will always be welcome to step out of class if they need space.

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:

  1. The Cold Case of Maura Murray
  2. The Cold Case of Bryce Laspisa
  3. The Cold Case of Katelin Akers
  4. The Murder of Hae Min Lee
  5. The Case of Michael Peterson
  6. The Case of Tanya Rider

In addition to studying the above cases, each student will do a research project on a true crime case of their own choosing. This will be done both in class and outside 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?

Class Size: 10 Student Max
Pathways: College Prep

Led by Carlos Peña

Studio course in screen printing with an emphasis on photo emulsion processes. Students are expected to develop a portfolio of prints that emphasizes the exploration of personal content while employing advanced silkscreening techniques and related processes. The course will consist of studio production, lectures, demonstrations and critiques. Students should anticipate dedicating an additional 6 hours or more of studio practice and/or research to the course above and beyond regular class time each week.

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

Led by Epi Arias

What does it mean to rebel? To resist? To fight back against oppressive systems? In this class, we’ll be exploring the literature, philosophy, and spirit of rebellion and otherness. We’ll be drawing on existentialist philosophy, literary classics, film, music, and other forms of human expression in an enriching attempt at learning what exactly makes The Rebel. We’ll learn, ultimately, how this role can benefit both society as well as one’s personal evolution. In the process, hopefully we’ll learn exactly what it means to truly be free.

“Become so very free that your whole existence is an act of rebellion.” -Albert Camus

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.

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.
Students are encouraged to bring lunch, which can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer and heated up if necessary. 
Led by Ashley Goodfellow-Ratliff

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 Perks of Being a Wallflower(1999 Publication) (PG-13 Film)
2. Lord of the Flies (1954 Publication)(R Film)
3. The Body/Stand By Me (1982Publication) (R Film)
4. Fantastic Mr. Fox (1970Publication) (PG Film)
5. Horton Hears a Who (1954Publication) (G Film)

Class Size: 10 Student Max
Pathways: College Prep

Led by John Regan

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.
Last Block we worked with Shadow puppets and Hand puppets. In this class we’ll be exploring Rod Puppets.  You’ll be designing and creating your own puppet characters in multiple rod puppet 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 Raffi Fields

This course introduces students to the world of working with wood. Through a series of wood projects, students will learn to safely operate hand tools and power tools including the table saw, bandsaw, scroll saw, sanders, drill press, lathe, drills, and others as needed. We focus on the fundamentally important skills involved in developing an idea and transforming it into a real object. This includes basics of design and problem solving, dimensions, scale, and 2D modeling, measuring, material calculations, and planning.

Each student will leave the class having built a series of projects possibly including wood boxes with different joints, a puzzle, and a small table. There will also be time for independent project development. In order to take full advantage of this class, students will be asked to attend every class meeting, and maintain focus for the entire class period.

In order to assure attendance and commitment to this class, we are asking for a materials fee of $20 per class which will be returned at the end of the block. Please discuss with your advisor. For families who cannot pay the advance returnable fee we can create alternative options. Individual projects may entail additional materials cost.

 

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

Led by Joshua Newman

We’re going to build a simulated space program together, designing rockets. Flying them, crashing them, flying them into the air and parachuting them then crashing them, getting them stuck in orbit and rescuing them, and maybe make it all the way to the Moon!

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

Led by Catherine Gobron

Should I get a credit card? How will I pay for college? What is interest? How do I get rich? How do I save money? What are stocks? How does money work in the world? All excellent questions!

Using real world situations, this class will give students a basic understanding of all the key components of personal finances needed to be successful now and throughout their adult lives.

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

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