Creativity and Empowerment at Lighthouse Community Public Schools

“At Lighthouse, we really think that maker-centered learning supports our students in making their dreams a reality, and in thinking about solutions to problems for themselves and their communities. And then when they enact those solutions- it’s really empowering”
-Aaron Vanderwerff, Creativity Lab Director, Lighthouse Community Public Schools

The Lighthouse Creativity Lab works with teachers to give students more opportunities to make and tinker. The Creativity Lab hosts an annual school maker faire where students in elementary, middle, and high school present projects that they have worked on over the course of the school year. The maker faire functions as a deadline for students to aim for when working on their project and a chance to share a prototype of something they have created, or try out an activity with their community. Lighthouse started their school maker faire as a high school prototype fair and quickly learned that the event increased teacher interest in making across campus; it was a major driver in growing the Creativity Lab’s maker-centered learning program from being solely based in the high school to being a K-12 program.

“In making class you can express yourself. It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t hard- it was just.. right. And it hit me that this was going to impact my life in some way.” -Sarah, Student at Lighthouse Community Public Schools

In addition to regular maker-centered learning activities, the Lighthouse Creativity Lab hosts Designing Making Experiences, which provides intensive professional development educators eager to integrate making-centered learning into their own practice. Participants in the program learn about ways making can be integrated into classrooms, schools and curricula, collaborate with participants and Creativity Lab staff to plan a project or unit for your classroom or school, and learn new skills and methods to complement their project plans. Two day workshop intensives will next be offered in February 2018.

“Maker-centered learning supports a deeper conceptual understanding, so we really appreciate the power of maker-centered learning and hands-on learning when it comes to understanding mathematical ideas, or a scientific idea, or understanding civics and how the world around us works.” -Aaron Vanderwerff, Creativity Lab Director, Lighthouse Community Public Schools


Lighthouse Community Public Schools are located in Oakland, California and include two contiguous schools- Lighthouse Community Charter School and Lodestar. The schools serve elementary, middle, and high school students.