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Core Values

  • COMMUNITY: We are best when we respect, value and celebrate our diversity and strengthen our connections.
  • INTEGRITY: We act on our shared and personal values, especially in the face of adversity.
  • LOVE: We extend ourselves so that all feel a sense of belonging and acceptance.
  • SOCIAL JUSTICE: We act with courage and commitment to move toward a just and equitable world.
  • AGENCY: We are empowered to pursue purposeful action as life-long changemakers.


At Lighthouse Community Public Schools we believe that all young people have the potential to become lifelong changemakers who realize their unique vision — rooted in their identity, knowledge, and skills — to create equity in their own lives and in the community, leading to a healthier, more joyful world. We are an innovative model for public education that puts each child at the center of their own learning. The Lighthouse community is equal parts love and rigor where children discover their unique light within.


The mission of Lighthouse Community Public Schools is to prepare a diverse K-12 student population for college and a career of their choice.

School Leadership

  • Yanira Canizales, Head of School

Full school leadership info

History and School Design

Founded in 2002 by a small, committed group of teachers and parents, Lighthouse Community Public Schools currently operates two high-achieving public charter schools: Lighthouse Community Charter School, serving grades K–12, and its sister school, Lodestar, which opened doors in August 2016 with grades K, 1, 2 and 6. Lodestar will eventually grow to be a second K-12 school serving Oakland students.

In 2015, Lodestar’s design year, a team of teachers and leaders set out to combine the learnings from Lighthouse’s 15 years of success, leading-edge educational research, and the best practices of other schools to answer the question, “What does K–12 education need to look like in order to ensure college graduation rates increase?” The team conducted extensive research, including interviewing alumni, visiting other schools, and studying existing models that are working well to achieve the goal of increasing college graduation rates. Through an iterative design process, supported by some of the nation’s top thinkers in this area (Next Generation Learning Collaborative, Educate 78, and Silicon Schools), the Lodestar team has developed a highly innovative school model, as well as a K–12 college readiness competency map that documents the college-ready skills, habits, and college experiences students must have in school in order to succeed in college. In response to a waitlist at Lighthouse of over 500 students, Lodestar opened in Fall 2016 with plans to grow into a second K-12 school.

Lodestar builds on the best practices of Lighthouse: high expectations, project-based learning, a strong culture built on relationships and knowing each child very well, family involvement, and continuous learning for teachers. Lodestar also is pushing the envelope for personalizing student learning. In a new learning space called “The Lab,” students get “just right” instruction (small group and via technology) in math and reading. With this personalized, dynamic instruction, we anticipate that student learning will be accelerated.

In summary, Lodestar is about Agency—the concept that children and youth must drive their own learning and the habits necessary to do that start at a very young age; and Belonging in a Community—the concept that learning is a social endeavor and that when we feel we belong and are cared for, we can thrive and excel.

“The Lodestar design aims to overcome many of the educational limitations of standard, public school structures. By redesigning school to meet the needs of our students, and by fostering personal agency and belonging, we can disrupt these inequities. As a family of schools, we’ve begun to disrupt these inequities in Oakland, but we can do better with personalization and push our college graduation completion rates. We believe we can do this because, we are designing our school – across stakeholders – with agency and belonging in a community.”

Yanira Canizales, Founding Principal, Lodestar

In the coming years, alumni support programs along with the testing and continuous improvement of the educational model at Lighthouse and Lodestar will ensure that college graduation rates among its alumni rise.


Center map


Lodestar : A Lighthouse Community Public School
2634 Pleasant St.
Oakland, CA 94602

Lodestar is located on the campus of St. Jarlath Church.



Family Involvement

Coffee Friday

On the 3rd Friday of the month, Lodestar families gather to learn about pertinent school-related topics. All families are welcome to join at any time. No need to RSVP, just come and enjoy! Coffee is provided and we begin at 8:45 am with announcements. Discussions are offered in English and Spanish. Email Donna Williams at donna.williams@lighthousecharter.org for more information about Coffee Fridays Click here for the flyer with dates and more information.

Monthly Newsletter

Want to stay up to date with important Lodestar news.  Please check your email the first Monday of every month for our Lodestar Newsletter.  Please note: Our April & May newsletter will be on different timelines due to facility updates.  Our monthly newsletters are offered in English & Spanish. If you don’t have access to an email please find hard copies in the main office the following Tuesday.

Where Oakland Shines