Current Courses


Block Three of the 2020 year begins on Monday, March 30th and continues through Friday, June 4th.

FOR NOW, ALL CLASSES WILL BE TAKING PLACE ONLINE UNLESS NOTED AS “POSTPONED”.

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 10-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 ON HOLD UNTIL WE’RE BACK ONSITE

Class Size: 4 Student Max

Pathways: Arts, Tech

Led by Alice Ladley

Screenplays are the heart of every movie and Creative Screenwriting will teach you how to write one. Have you ever watched an amazing movie and felt inspired? This is the class for you. Have you ever watched a bad movie and thought you could do better? This is also the class for you. Creative Screenwriting is a class that will turn your inspiration into characters and your disgust into a story.

Creative Screenwriting is for aspiring writers of all skill levels. Never heard of a screenplay before? This class will cover it. Written plenty of screenplays? This class will reinforce and expand your writing abilities.

The class is divided into three sections. In section one, students will be spending five weeks doing creative writing assignments. These exercises will teach students how to turn their concepts into plots and learn how a story should flow. During these five weeks, the fundamentals of screenwriting will be discussed but the class will focus on writing stories. In section two, students will learn how to turn their stories into screenplays with proper formatting. Alongside formatting, students will be taught how screenplays differ from other genres of writing. In section three, students will work on their final projects, utilizing all the skills they have learned in the first two sections to spend two weeks writing their own screenplays with the help of their peers.

STARTS ONLINE ON MARCH 30

Class Size: 8 Student Max

Pathways: Arts, College Prep

Led by Catherine Gobron

Reading, writing, and discussing the work of bell hooks. In this class we will read a lot and think deeply about how race and class come together in education, and how it all pertains to our individual and collective pasts, presents, and futures.

From Wikipedia:

Gloria Jean Watkins (born September 25, 1952), better known by her pen name bell hooks,[1] is an American author, professor, feminist, and social activist. The name “bell hooks” is borrowed from her maternal great-grandmother, Bell Blair Hooks.[2]

The focus of hooks’ writing has been the intersectionality of race, capitalism, and gender, and what she describes as their ability to produce and perpetuate systems of oppression and class domination. She has published more than 30 books and numerous scholarly articles, appeared in documentary films, and participated in public lectures. She has addressed race, class, and gender in education, art, history, sexuality, mass media, and feminism.[3] In 2014, she founded the bell hooks Institute at Berea College in Berea, Kentucky.[4]

STARTS ONLINE ON MARCH 30

Class Size: 10 Student Max

Pathways: College Prep

Led by Carlos Peña

In this class, we’ll provide an opportunity for students to study the interaction of man and his environment. The study includes current developments around the world which affect physical and cultural settings. Special attention is given to map identification, cultural lenses, and problems of social and technological change, political geographic disputes, and population growth.

STARTS ONLINE ON MARCH 30

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 ON HOLD UNTIL WE’RE BACK ONSITE

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 ON HOLD UNTIL WE’RE BACK ONSITE (Online Tutoring available with Facilitator)

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

Humans are wired for connection and communication. We can try and avoid it, but just like we can’t escape ourselves, we can’t escape other humans either! Whether it be a friend, a sibling, a parent, a teacher, a co-worker, or a stranger on the street, we will inevitably have to interact with other humans throughout or lives.

Communication is one of the more important skills to master when navigating these relationships. However, healthy communication doesn’t come naturally to most of us. In this class, students will pick up some tools and gain some insight as to why healthy communication is so important for navigating daily life. We will cover topics such as setting boundaries, non violent communication, repairing after conflict, apologies, and much more!

In this class, we’ll also look at how “self talk”, as well as language, tone, and word choice impact communication and ways we can reframe these to ensure healthier communication with others.

Along the way, we’ll be exploring important studies, literature, and frameworks to help students build upon their emotional intelligence!

STARTS ONLINE ON MARCH 30

Class Size: 10 Student Max
Pathways: College Prep

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 an examination of food that frames our personal choices in the context of physical, social, environmental, and economic health. Lessons and discussions are centered 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 ON HOLD UNTIL WE’RE BACK ONSITE

Class Size: 8 Student Max
Pathways: Arts, Entrepreneurship

Led by Julia Rowinski

There’s only one way to eat an elephant: One bite at a time. “To eat an elephant” is a metaphor for doing a very big thing that might seem impossible at first, but with planning, perseverance, and support it becomes like a lot of other tasks- it takes work, but you can do it. So what does it take to go from a big to-do to done?

Important life goals are one example of a “big thing” – stuff we want doesn’t happen on its own or by magic, and reaching our goals requires some combination of completing several smaller projects, working in incremental steps, prioritizing, scheduling, collaborating, communicating with others, and more. It can often feel very overwhelming, but you are not alone in the feeling or in the journey. In this class, we’re going to break it all down: where do you start? How do you stay organized and keep making progress when it feels like there’s so much to do? How do you take care of yourself while working towards a big goal? How can we collaborate effectively with others, and communicate in a way that people want to work with us? Why do we want to plan things, instead of jumping to action?

This class will introduce students to a variety of strategies, thought exercises, free or low-cost tools, and other ways to help clear the mental clutter and transform a goal into an action plan that works. We will also help each other break down ways to chunk up work, determine priorities, and stay agile and motivated in the inevitable event of changes, setbacks, or bumps in the road. Together, we will support and encourage each other, and collaborate as a team where applicable.

Students should come to class with at least an idea of something they want to accomplish or work towards, as we will be applying our learning directly to our individual goals. Your goal does not have to be something you can complete over the course of the block–the tools and strategies we’ll cover are things you can use on your own, any time. If you’ve ever felt stuck or blocked from something you want to do or achieve because you can’t get started or can’t keep up momentum, this is the class for you.

STARTS ONLINE ON MARCH 30

Class Size: 10 Student Max
Pathways: College Prep

Led by Epi Arias & Clancy Conlin

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. During Shutdown, writing lab will be held as a writing group that discusses writing techniques and strategies, goes offline for writing exercises/sprints, and comes back online for peer-to-peer integrations!

STARTS ONLINE ON MARCH 30

Class Size: 8 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. 
Led Ryan Carnes

In this class we’ll learn how to create a graphic novel by practicing various techniques and discussing specific examples of the art form. The first part of this class will focus on lessons to help students build their skills and confidence within this genre. The second half we’ll spend creating our own graphic novel.

STARTS ONLINE ON MARCH 30

Class Size: 10 Student Max
Pathways: Arts, Entrepreneurship

Led Emmett DuPont

This class will explore the history of plagues and pandemics throughout time and across the world. Ever wondered why plague doctors wear those outfits? Or what made the Spanish flu disappear? Now is a particularly poignant time to learn about the plagues and pandemics of the past, and how we survived them, what we learned from them, and what that might mean for pandemic outbreaks of the present and future.

This class will be rooted in the book Get Well Soon: History’s Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them By Jennifer Wright, a lighthearted and humorous book tackling a serious topic. As you will learn in this class, the best way to handle pandemic outbreaks is to stay calm, well-informed and reasonable.

There is no better way to accomplish this then by learning from the successes (and failures) of the past, which can help us contextualize the present and anticipate the future. Besides, if you’ve never heard about how the people of France handled the 1518 Dancing Plague, you’re missing out on some really great comedy.

STARTS ONLINE ON MARCH 30

Class Size: 15 Student Max
Pathways: College Prep

Led by Rafael Irizarry-Fields

In this class we will use the amazing digital tools of Minecraft and possible other video game worlds to explore the process of design, architecture and building. Through a series of themed builds, the class will assemble an amazing world of human-made and natural wonders, from around the world. Students will work on independent builds as well as joint projects.

Themes will include ancient empires from around the world as well as modern marvels. We will try to rebuild structures with as much accuracy as is feasible using photos and blueprints as available. We will learn about scale, measuring, some basic geometry and possible possibly algebra… BUT THESE ARE NOT THE FOCUS. THEY ARE JUST TOOLS WE CAN USE TO BUILD MORE AWESOME STUFF.

Assignments will be flexible and encourage exploration, but I ask that everyone engage in the world of creative design and construction and be positive and supportive of everyone else.

STARTS ONLINE ON MARCH 30
Class Size: 10 Student Max
Pathways: College Prep, Tech
Led by Inky Stainsworth

From early 8 & 16-bit 1-2 player home games, to the public co-op/vs arcades, to the era of streaming, open-world, MMO gaming we are familiar with today, the “gaming” world has changed dramatically over the decades and has both influenced and been influenced by our culture.

What are the lessons we can learn about our external society from these different virtual environments?

Did The Legend of Zelda or the Final Fantasy series teach you about hard work, saving your “money”, and making you a careful shopper?

Did blowing away endless hordes of demons in DOOM make you wish for something in the real world to take safe target practice on?

Did you make actual friends with a teammate in WOW that you remained in contact with after the mission?

Have you built things in Minecraft that echo real places or objects, and thus learned about those things on a deeper level, having created it virtually?

Have you experienced a social breakdown or hateful discrimination while playing with or against large groups of players from other parts of the world?

In this class we will explore a large timeline of video games that have possibly influenced or been influenced by the social constructs surrounding those games. We will look at how society is shaped and responds to our interactions in a virtual space and find ways to creatively explore and discuss these topics.

Films we will discuss in class are: Scott Pilgrim vs The World, Wreck-It-Ralph, Ready Player One, Castlevania, Resident Evil, and Black Mirror “15 Million Merits”

STARTS ONLINE ON MARCH 30

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

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

Tuesday/Thursday

Led by Tim Barry & Taylor Bannish

Learn how to create song structure, improve lyrical flow, and how to mix and master beats. Be able to understand how life experiences are reflected in hip-hop, and how to apply that in creating one’s own beats and lyrics. Part II of “Beats, Rhymes & Life: Hip Hop Ed.”

STARTS ONLINE ON MARCH 30

Class Size: 10 Student Max
Pathways: Arts

Led by Ashley Goodfellow-Ratliff

This course is an in-depth sociology course designed to use a theoretical approach to explore social problems. We will study these problems from a micro- to a macro- level of analysis. We will focus on the following social problems: illness and healthcare, drugs and alcohol, family problems, issues of poverty and inequality, population growth, environmental problems, and more. Throughout the course we will apply the three main sociological theories to these social problems and explore what some solutions could be.

We will take notes daily, have discussions (both verbally and written), read articles, and have weekly journal entries.

Week 1: Understanding Social Problems

Week 2: Physical & Mental Health and Healthcare

Week 3: Family Problems

Week 4: Work and Unemployment

Week 5: Problems in Education

Week 6: Alcohol and Drugs

Week 7: Crime, Social Control, Conflict, War, and Terrorism

Week 8: Poverty in America

Week 9: TBD – Class Choice

STARTS ONLINE ON MARCH 30

Class Size: 15 Student Max
Pathways: College Prep

Led by Joshua Newman

In this class, we’ll be drawing to learn to see how bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments work together to make an animal body move. Some of those animals will be your favorite animals and some of those animals will be humans, who might also be your favorite animals.

You’ll need some unlined paper, a pencil, and a good eraser, ideally a vinyl one (if it’s white, it’s probably vinyl). You’ll also need a way to get good light set up over your drawing surface. Other tools are optional but welcome!

STARTS ONLINE ON MARCH 30

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

*Class Requirement: Students may take either Open Makerspace or Art That Thinks but not both.

Led by Angelica Lopez with Breathing Space

Whether you are a new student or an advanced practitioner, these classes brings something to the mat for everyone. This active, flowing practice makes yoga accessible by emphasizing alignment and offering variations to poses that allow students the opportunity to challenge their bodies at their own pace. This class is a great option for anyone seeking to balance mindfulness and self-awareness with flexibility and strength through the self-care that is yoga.

CLASS ON HOLD UNTIL WE’RE BACK ONSITE

Class Size Max: 10 Student Max
Pathways: Life Skills

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

Led by Joshua Newman

Bring your projects or ask Joshua for help figuring out what to do! Work on your project beside Joshua while you learn how to use the tools you’re afraid of, build a robot, or make sculpture or learn to draw, or anything else you’d like to learn how to build.

STARTS ONLINE ON MARCH 30

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

*Class Requirement: Students may take either Open Makerspace or Art That Thinks but not both.

Led by Alan Gilburg

There are two major ways we humans have preserved our awareness of who we are and where we’ve come from. One is the stories we have told since we were able to develop language. The other is the art we have produced. We’ll start with the cave art from France and Spain that goes back nearly 40,000 years and proceed forward through the first organized civilizations: Sumer, Egypt, Mesopotamia and India.

On to Greece and Rome and then what we’ve called the “Dark Ages”. What would an Art History course be without the Renaissance; so we’ll land there and then pick up the Baroque period and the 19th and 20th Centuries. Sadly, we’ll not be able to show the arts of Asia and Africa, an omission we can no longer overlook any more.

Fortunately Google Images is prepared to present us with all the images we’ll need.

CLASS ON HOLD UNTIL WE’RE BACK ONSITE

Class Size: 10 Student Max
Pathways: College Prep

Led by Carlos Peña

This class will focus on speaking conversational Spanish in a small informal group. The facilitator, a native speaker teacher will teach the fundamentals of conversational Spanish in relaxed atmosphere with interactive lessons, continuous dialogue and the personal attention needed to improve and build up fluency skills. No previous Spanish experience required.

STARTS ONLINE ON MARCH 30

Class Size: 8 Student Max
Pathways: College Prep

Led by Max Mark & Joey Salem

Have you ever wanted to make art for a game, wondered what code is, or just been curious about how a game is made? If you answered yes to any of those questions this is the class for you! We will learn the basics of game development, through making 3d art, writing code, and putting it together in the Unity game engine.

We will start with an intro to Unity: the game engine used to make Temple Run, Plague Inc, and Subnatica; then we will use Blender to make our 3d art, and finally we will learn how to write basic code in Visual Studio. After we make the base of our project we will add to our knowledge alternating between using Unity, Blender, and Visual studio. No experience is required.
Expectations for students:

  • Show up to class
  • Tell us when we say things that don’t make sense
  • Be willing to try new things
STARTS ONLINE ON MARCH 30
Class Size: 10 Student Max
Pathways: Tech, Arts, College Prep

Led by Rafael Irizarry-Fields

The world is full of secrets. Most of these secrets remain secrets, and this class will mostly not touch on them. But some secrets have been leaked, and this class will focus on some of the craziest of these leaked secrets. Using actual declassified documents as well as documentaries, and feature films, we will explore the dark world of secret operations throughout the previous century or so.

Topics will include Project 1794 (a secret program to build a flying saucer-type aircraft designed to shoot down Soviet bombers), Project Iceworm (a secret mission to build a series of mobile nuclear missile launch sites under the Greenland ice sheet), Project MK-ULTRA (a secret and illegal human research program to investigate potential mind-control systems), Operation Paperclip (aimed to lure scientists from Nazi Germany to the United States following World War II), Project Grudge, Project Sign, the Mai Lai Massacre, and of course Area 51.

We will cover some topics in a single day and others for multiple classes. There may be some outside of class readings and/or films/episode assigned. Students will be asked to choose a topic that we do not cover in class to research and report back to the class as their final project.

STARTS ONLINE ON MARCH 30
Class Size: 10 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 Emmett DuPont

Almost all of us have dealt with anxiety, yet so often, we ignore this shared experience, and instead soak up cultural messages that tell us we are weak, attention seeking, or dramatic. These negative, untrue messages often cause us to isolate ourselves emotionally, push others away, and get stuck in mental loops of negative self talk that only make our anxiety (and other mental and physical health concerns) far worse. In this class, we will learn about different types of anxiety; naming them, understanding them, and building an arsenal of tools to tackle them.

We will experiment with a variety of coping and healing mechanisms, some of which will be scientifically proven, some not. This class will give you a chance to explore the way anxiety impacts your life, and work on lifelong coping strategies that can serve as a safety net in times of acute cultural anxiety, as well as ongoing personal anxiety. You will be expected to work outside of class, and participate in a variety of experimental coping modalities such as meditation, exercise, journaling, and more.

STARTS ONLINE ON MARCH 30

Class Size: 10 Student Max
Pathways: College Prep

Led by Ashley Goodfellow-Ratliff

Dark Tourism “refers to visiting places where some of the darkest events of human history have unfolded. That can include genocide, assassination, incarceration, ethnic cleansing, war, or disasters (either natural or accidental)”. These historical events, no matter how dark, played a huge role in the course that history took – but why do some people choose to visit a dark tourist site rather than a sunny beach? This is a question that we will explore throughout this class.
We will learn about different events in history that severely altered the lives of many. We will watch a lot of videos, documentaries, and engage in a lot of class discussion.The following is a list of some of the dark tourist destinations that we will learn about:

–       Concentration Camp in Auschwitz, Poland

–       Chernobyl, Ukraine

–       Volcano Creeks in Pompeii, Italy

–       9/11 Memorial, New York

–       Suicide Forest, Japan

–       Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, California

–       Faux Illegal Border Crossing, Mexico

STARTS ONLINE ON MARCH 30

Class Size: 15 Student Max
Pathways: College Prep

Led by Carlos Peña

Video Lab is a small group class 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 ON HOLD UNTIL WE’RE BACK ONSITE

Class Size: 8 Student Max
Pathways: Arts, 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! And don’t worry if you don’t own the Kerbal Space Program video game; we’ve got you covered! Hope to see you in class.

STARTS ONLINE ON MARCH 30
Class Size: 8 Student Max
Pathways: Tech, College Prep

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