Current Courses


Block One of the 2017-2018 year begins on Tuesday, September 5 and continues through Friday, October 27. Registration links are included in the descriptions.

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

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

Register

Led by Ashley Sulock

The study of social psychology involves the understanding of our social interactions and why we behave the way that we do. We will study things such as why some people fit in with certain groups while other people do not. We will study what types of social and psychological things create prejudices, and we will also discuss ways to reduce these prejudices. We may engage in a debate on violent media: do violent video games and movies make individuals violent in their social lives? The class will also focus on engaging discussions about self-esteem, egotism, sexism, compliance, and biases. The topics in this class will mostly be relate-able to each individuals real-life situations, and we will have very fruitful discussion of real-life social experiences (including my own).

This class will meet in person with instructor on Mondays, and on Wednesdays students will complete coursework and projects, including videos, readings, and assignments as a group with a Teaching Assistant but without the instructor.

Pathways: College Prep

This class is full, but will be offered again next block. Sign up below to be added to the waiting list.

Wait List

Led by Dianna McMenamin

If you think that science is the memorization of a dry list of facts, this course will open your eyes. Starting with the use of different kinds of magnifiers and microscopes to examine the world of the very small, you will find out that science is actually a process of discovery.
We will find surprising things living in a drop of pond water, discover why the largest organism in the world (a mile and a half across!) is best understood by studying it under a microscope, learn about the structures of cells by building models, find out the ways that living things are different and the ways they are all the same. We will explore the different kingdoms of living things, and find out why scientific ideas are always changing. Depending on the interests of the class, we will also get a glimpse of topics as diverse as genetics, ecology, and the history of life.
The course will include a field trip to Mount Holyoke College to use their research-grade microscopes and get a tour of their electron microscopes.

Pathways: College Prep

Register

Led by Carlos Peña

The Albino Turtle is a children’s book written by LightHouse students last year. The book still needs to be illustrated, laid out, printed, and published. This will all happen by working together as a group this block. Students with a variety of skills and interests needed!

Pathways: College Prep, Art

Register

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.
Led by Alan Gilburg

Many modern people have been taught that Myths are false, superstitious, and far from the “truth”.  Actually the reverse is true. Myths are the totality true stories we tell ourselves and share with our friends that enable us to make sense out of life. Myths are so true we rarely, if ever, question them.

In this class we will explore the myths of antiquity, as well as look closely at some of the hidden myths of our own time, involving celebrities, patriotism, sports, competition, technology, ect.

You will get to meet Joseph Campbell, a hero of mine, who paved the way for us to explore myth as a foundational source of meaning for us humans in all cultures and from the earliest times. We can’t live without myth and its partner, ritual. Let’s together find out why!

We’ll also explore great stories from the Grimm Brothers and cultures all over the world that show us what needs to happen in order for an adolescent to become an adult.

Students need to be prepared to do research, learn stories, tell them in class and lead the rest of the class in figuring out meaning for us today.

Pathways: College Prep

 

Register

Led by Kayla Reno

From a charcoal class, a student should expect to be messy, imprecise, and at times, challenged. The class is about learning to see and learning to control a new material through levels of refinement.

Students will complete a series of assignments designed to help develop your skills. No experience necessary.

Pathways: Arts

Register

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

Register

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 Tiffany Trzebiatowski

Crafting Your Identity and Finding Your Dream Job

Week 1-2: Who are you?
Week 3-4: What do you want?
Week 5-6: How do you get what you want?
Week 7-8: Putting it all together.

LINK to full syllabus.

Pathways: College Prep, Entrepreneurship

Register

Led by Hector Rodriguez

Explore the art of comics. Learn technique, develop your skills, create your own characters and stories.

Pathways: Arts

Register

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

Register

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.

Tuesday/Thursday

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

Register

Taught by Michael DiPasquale, facilitated by Catherine Gobron

Human Habitation is a UMass class taught at UMass by Professor Michael DiPasquale. Class begins at 8:30 at UMass. Students will meet Catherine at LightHouse at 7:40 am to travel to Amherst, or students can meet on campus if that is more convenient. Class ends at 9:45 and we will return to LightHouse by 10:30.

This is a semester long commitment. Blocks One and Two. Only four spots available in Catherine’s car.

Full syllabus, schedule, and readings available HERE.

Course Overview:

In this course we explore the relationship between society/culture and the physical environment (all you see around you). Through readings and class exercises, students are encouraged to look critically at ways that the environment can be seen as a physical expression of multiple, diverse experiences and different points of view.

By analyzing the physical environment students will begin to understand the complex and dynamic interaction among individuals, societies and the physical structures comprising their worlds. This provides the basis for examining different social values and “ways of seeing” found in a variety of societies. We will discuss ways that these values influence concepts related to the use and design of
physical space, from the scale of the home to the larger neighborhood and community.

Importantly, students will be encouraged to explore ways that their own experiences/cultures inform their relationship to the built environment. For example, how does the design of the built environment influence your behavior, and your enjoyment of a space? Why do certain spaces feel better than
others? Who are these spaces designed by, and what messages do they send to whom?

Specifically, students will gain a working knowledge of the basic concepts of human-environment relations: density, privacy, personalization, personal space, proxemics, territoriality, defensible space, appropriation, class, gender. The course is arranged in three main parts, building up in scale from “personal” space to “home” space, and finally to “community” space. We end with a discussion about
“sustainability” as a way to bring things together, while examining the role that our individual attitudes and personal values play in addressing public health and climate change.

Pathways: College Prep

Register

Led by Alonzo Mark

Learn the elements of basic design using GIMP, a free photoshop-like online design tool. Explore and critique advertisements and designs from the world and learn to create your own compelling flyers, business cards, and art work. Class will include a series of assignments and presentations.

Students can download their own free version of GIMP for working on projects outside of LightHouse here: https://www.gimp.org/

Limit 10 students.

Register

Led by Joshua Newman

Learn the fundamentals of game design using analog tools (non-computer). Students will be exposed to many different types of games and explore game design themes across genres. Students will develop and hone personal game design skills through practice and more practice.

Frequent critiques will increase students’ ability to give and receive thoughtful feedback, a crucial skill for designers (and for everyone). Assignments are project-based, substantial, and hopefully fun.

Register

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.
Led by Yana Talon-Hicks

What does it take to have healthy romantic, intimate, and sexual relationships? In this class, we’ll tackle tough & taboo topics that are part of all of our lives like gender, sexuality, safer-sex, dating, and self-esteem with the mission of making them a little less tough.

Each week we’ll have class discussions & interactive activities about these topics, we’ll take some field trips together, and we’ll spend time with guest teachers who specialize in topics like social media & dating, communication for healthy relationships, self-care & body image, and how to make sense of our gender & sexuality identities.

Students in this class will learn how to make solid personal decisions about safer-sex, intimacy, dating, and love in a relaxed and supportive environment. All genders, sexualities, and levels of experience are welcome!

Students must be at least 14 years old to join this class unless they have special permission.

Pathways: College Prep

Register

Led by Jim Fitzgerald

Negotiation skills are essential in business and in all aspects of life. Using the book, Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss as a guide, students will learn how to get what they want.

Required assignments and presentations each class designed to help you integrate this new information and open many doors.

Pathways: Entrepreneurship, College Prep

Register

Led by Alonzo Mark and Jay Metcalf

Introduction to our new music studio. Learn how to use all the equipment safely and responsibly. Required training for all who would like to use the studio independently. Course work will include creating a manual for future trainings.

Pathways: Art, Tech

Register

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

Register

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

“Programming computers was so fascinating. You create your own little universe, and then it does what you tell it to do.” — Vint Cerf, co-creator of the internet

In this class, we’ll learn hands-on how software is made. Each week, we’ll cover a core topic in programming: input/output, looping, data structures and more.

Like playing music, programming makes no sense until you try it yourself. Working mainly in Python, we’ll be building working programs from day one. Students should plan to bring a laptop and follow along in class, or rebuild the examples at home. Working in groups is encouraged; in the real world, programming is a very social and collaborative process. Optional homework assignments will be given every Thursday; on Tuesday we’ll review and discuss the solutions. By the end of the block, we’ll be building real programs including 2D graphics and possibly even very simple games.

One of the best things about programming is that everything is built up from just a handful of core concepts. This class will give you all of the basics that you need to dive into any area of software development, from websites to mobile apps and games.

Pathways: Tech, Arts

Register

Led by Carlos Peña.

While a movement grows in the Pioneer Valley and across the nation to promote organic and local food consumption, low-income communities of color are largely excluded. Healthy fresh foods are out of reach economically and physically, with food deserts and lack of affordable healthy food options leading to negative impacts on the health of people in many communities including Holyoke.

Through readings, documentaries, guest speakers and plenty of guided discussion students in this class will learn about how structural racism and inequality misguides our food system. The class will borrow heavily from curriculum materials designed by Soul Fire Farm, a working farm in Grafton, NY dedicated to ending racism and injustice in the food system, in solidarity with people marginalized by food apartheid (http://www.soulfirefarm.org/food-sovereignty-education/youth-program/). Materials and activities will include:

  • The Media Does Not Have My Mind: Young people create advertisements about healthy food and learn about the role of media in our diets.
  • Food Justice Charades: A fun activity to learn basic food justice terminology.
  • Perspectives Walk: This activity reveals hidden assumptions about food, hunger, and justice.
  • Collage Biographies: Develop a deeper understanding of the leaders in the movements for food sovereignty and sustainability by creating collages.
  • Land Loss and Resistance: In this activity, the learners read history of POC Land loss in the USA, select important events, and perform them to one another in dramatic form.
  • Take it Home: Here are a few ideas for taking what you learned on the farm and applying it at home – seed bombs, food justice stickering, food traditions interviews, and creating recipes for home cooking.
  • Scramble for Wealth and Power: This Food Project activity investigates the roots of poverty and the perspective of the different classes.
  • Food Fight: This film and accompanying discussion follows a young person through the homicidal realities of the industrial food system. Young people can follow up by creating their own music video telling the truth about food.

Holyoke is one of only 24 communities across the country chosen for an EPA/USDA grant to explore improving local food systems, “Local Food, Local Places.” A collective of agencies and individuals are working together to create an action plan and implement it, and there is a need for more youth to get involved. This class will invite representatives from the following local agencies who are part of the Local Food Local Places project to share what they are doing to make a more just and sustainable local food system, and invite youth to get involved in that work and more importantly in the ongoing local movement:

Neftalí Duran, Nusetras Raices

Ana Jaramillo, Holyoke Food and Fitness Policy Council, healthy snack cooking demonstration

Register

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

Register

Work on your own art or building projects. Ask for help if you need it. Cleaning up after yourself expected and required.

Calendar

LightHouse begins the year on Tuesday, September 5 and follows a similar schedule to other local schools through early June of 2018.

Click to see our full calendar:

Tuesday, September 5: Opening Day and Orientation

Wednesday, September 6, Block 1 begins and continues for seven weeks, through October 27.

Monday, October 9, Closed for Columbus Day

Monday, October 30, Teen Workshop Day 1

Tuesday, October 31, Block 2 begins and continues for seven weeks, through Wednesday, December 20

Monday, November 6, Closed for Professional Development Day

Friday, November 10, Closed for Veteran’s Day

Wednesday/Thursday/Friday November 22-24, closed for Thanksgiving

Thursday, December 21 through Tuesday, January 2, Closed for Winter Break.

Wednesday, January 3, Block 3 begins and continues for six weeks, through February 16

Monday January 15, Closed for Martin Luther King Day

Monday, Feb 19 through Friday, February 23, closed for February Break

Monday, February 26, Teen Workshop Day 2

Tuesday, February 27, Block 4 begins and continues for six weeks, through April 13

Monday, March 19, Closed for Professional Development Day

Monday, April 16 through Friday, April 20, closed for April Break

Monday, April 23, Teen Workshop Day 3

Tuesday, April 24, Block 5 begins and continues for six weeks, through June 1

Monday, May 28, Closed for Memorial Day

Monday, June 4 through Thursday, June 7- Presentations Week

Friday, June 8, Last day of programming & Graduation

Monday, June 11 through Thursday, June 14, Individual end of year meetings with students and families

Questions?


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