Course Catalog

Please select from the list of departments to see details about Lick-Wilmerding High School course offerings. 

Courses and Descriptions

Technical Arts

Mission: With hands-on processes and projects at the core, LWHS Technical Arts teaches at the junction of Design & Engineering & Craft in service of Connection & Community & Purpose.

Department Description: What is the purpose of a college-prep school teaching someone how to join and finish a piece of wood, sew a zipper, code a processor, or weld a metal joint? What relevance does hands-on work play in a world that seeks efficiency through data, machine learning, and automation? Do experiential projects help support emotional balance and mental wellbeing? Shouldn't a shop space and its instructors work daily to break damaging stereotypes around who is comfortable and who is thriving while learning tools and processes? Shouldn't technical skills be co-equal, at least, with being a good collaborator and self-aware person? These are a few questions that guide our work in the Technical Arts department.

Lick-Wilmerding Technical Arts is more than the "hands" part of the school. Our courses in Jewelry, Code, Wood, Sewing, Metal, Digital Fabrication, and Electronics are a place to skill up and connect with your and your peers' humanity. It's a place to learn about designing, prototyping, and building things together that bring joy, confidence, and meaning. Regardless of future study or career, Technical Arts classes teach students about project management, working in teams across differences, persistence in the face of challenge, being resourceful, object and experience design, and craftspersonship. Our classes emphasize hard and soft skills and help form whole and flexible young adults, of all identifiers, for a changing world.

Graduation from Lick-Wilmerding requires all students to take a minimum of four semesters in Technical Arts. In addition to Design & Technology in ninth grade, students must choose two other semester-long courses that meet in the various shops—Computing, Wearables (Jewelry and Sewing), Wood, Metal, Digital Fabrication, and Electronics. One of the two additional required Technical Arts classes must be from the "Design & Craft" category, while the other must be from the "Design & Engineering" category.

Click here for a complete list of classes in each category.
  • 3D-Printing and Parametric Design

    With a focus on CNC (computer numerically controlled) machines and 3D printing, while also using a variety of other tools, students will look at the ways that algorithmic design and patterns are now playing a role in the look and structure of such items as furniture, jewelry, and architecture. This interdisciplinary class looks at the explicit application of algorithms in the process of designing modular objects and structures. Digital modeling, coding functions, and computer-driven tools are combined with some handwork in search of the ultimate combination of human and machine making. Projects may explore a wide variety of mathematical forms and turn them into functional objects of wood, plastic, metal, or other materials. Students will also research and discuss the ways that digital manufacturing has changed the job market as well as design and manufacturing expectations. This class meets the “Design & Engineering” category requirement.

    Prerequisite: Design and Technology

    This semester long course will be offered both Fall 2023 and Spring 2024 and is UC approved.
  • Circuits and Electronics: Analog and Digital

    Mixing creative object design and electrical engineering, this course focuses on the essentials of building with both linear analog and programmable digital circuits. The central project teaches about the electronics for amplifying audio (from a personal music device or musical instrument), as well as sculpting audio frequencies. Students learn to improve the sound of their amplified audio through research on material thickness, resonance, enclosure shape, as well as other factors. All students design and mill their own printed circuit board and have the option to create add-on features for their amplifier—this can be an audio visualizer, bluetooth connectivity, analog volume controls and more.

    This class meets the “Design & Engineering” category requirement.

    Prerequisite: Design and Technology

    This semester long course is offered in Fall 2023. It is a UC approved course.
  • Circuits and Electronics: Device Invention

    Through the lens of innovation in electronics and mechanical engineering, the first unit in this course utilizes microprocessors and/or single-board computers for designing data-driven internet-connected(IoT) electronic devices. The second project in the class focuses on mechanical and robotic movement, in both practical and creative ways. Refined craftsmanship is balanced with rapid prototyping, as we build circuits, mechanics, code, and enclosures for a variety of creative electronic objects. The instructor will act as a curator/facilitator guiding students through specific themes - at times learning with them - through experiments, lectures, guests, and online documentation. The course offers flexibility for all skill levels, with the expectation that each student takes ownership of the learning process by seeking answers from any and all sources including: provided documentation, peers, online resources, and the instructor. Some projects are collaborative and require students to practice the collective arts of teamwork, inclusion, and compromise. Throughout this course, we will reference this central question: What are the long-term advantages and challenges of an increasingly connected and automated society?

    This class meets the “Design & Engineering” category requirement.

    Prerequisite: Design and Technology

    This semester long course is offered in Spring 2024. It is a UC approved course.
  • Community Computing PPP

    Community Computing is a project-based PPP class that cultivates teamwork and service in the context of software development. Students can take this course as advanced engineers or as designers/product managers with no prior programming experience.

    In the first of two projects, the class creates software for use at Lick-Wilmerding. Students solicit feedback from peers, faculty, and staff and work in teams to build applications that fill an existing need. Within their groups, students may specialize in engineering, product management, or graphic design. No previous programming experience is required for product management and graphic design specializations. Students with less coding experience will learn basic computer science concepts from structured class exercises and interacting with experienced peers. Advanced students will work in JavaScript & Node, building on the skills learned in Graphics & Game Design.

    In the second project, students serve as role models for elementary and middle school students through introductory computing workshops.

    Throughout the semester, we examine computing's culture and the importance of cultivating a diverse new generation of computer scientists.

    This class meets the Tech Arts "Design & Engineering" category requirement.

    This semester-long course offered in Spring 2024 fulfills the Public Purpose Program requirement for juniors and seniors. It is UC approved.
  • Design & Technology

    This course explores the many facets of design and the infinite possibilities of object making. Creative problem solving through exploration in design principles and hands on building serve as the groundwork for advancement in later courses within Technical Arts. This cross disciplinary course emphasizes skill building, collaboration, critical thinking, and project management.

    During the first segment of the course, students learn the basics of three dimensional and computer aided rendering, rapid idea generation, and object design principles through the lens of contemporary examples. In the second part of the course, these new skills are used to design and build a programmable LED lamp. The design process builds upon the skills from the first part of the semester utilizing hand drawing and rapid design visualization, then moving into detailed computer drawing. During the fabrication portion of the class, students must utilize the materials, tools, and techniques of four different shop disciplines—metal, wood, electronics, and computer programming/digital fabrication. In the final weeks of the class, students take these skills one step further to build something for the LWHS community.

    This course, taken concurrently with Contemporary Media & Art (Visual Arts Department), is required of all 9th graders and is a prerequisite for further work in the Technical Arts Department.

    Prerequisite: None 

    This is a year long course. It is UC approved.
  • Graphics and Game Design

    This course introduces students to creative, innovative and practical applications of computer programming. In the first of two projects, students use generative drawing techniques to design graphic patterns for a textile, which then becomes physical as we digitally print and sew an object from the code-created fabric. The project explores visual principles like color theory alongside programming fundamentals, including control flow, data types, variables, functions, arrays and randomization. In the second project, students use object-oriented programming to design and build a unique browser-based game. Throughout the course we use pair-programming as well as formal and informal feedback sessions to create a social, collaborative and inclusive classroom community.

    The syllabus is project-based and requires no previous background—we begin with the basics. Students with prior experience are equally welcome and will have the opportunity to stretch their knowledge through interest-driven projects and through connections to other disciplines.

    This class meets the “Design & Engineering” category requirement.

    Prerequisite: Design and Technology

    This semester long course is offered in both Fall 2023 and Spring 2024. It is a UC approved course.
  • Jewelry 1

    In this course, students learn traditional techniques of metalsmithing and jewelry using copper, brass, and sterling silver. Students are introduced to a number of techniques for cutting metal, cold methods of joinery, soldering, forming, as well as various means of surface textures and treatments. The design process will be emphasized through research, drawing and working closely with the teacher to develop and expand ideas. Creativity and innovation are fostered and encouraged. As the class progresses, students will better recognize the value of craftsmanship as they create their own skillfully crafted, one of a kind, wearable art.

    This class meets the “Design & Craft” category requirement.

    Prerequisite: Design and Technology

    This semester long course is offered in both Fall 2023 and Spring 2024. It is a UC approved course.
  • Jewelry 2

    In addition to refining the techniques learned in Jewelry 1, this course will expose students to more complex technical processes, such as chain making, stone setting, and enameling. As students become more confident with soldering and other smithing techniques, they will begin to gain the confidence to create a wide range of objects and realize more complex designs. Craftsmanship and design will be emphasized through a series of projects aimed to challenge students while they create one of a kind wearable art. This semester-long course can be repeated and offers a modified curriculum to challenge more advanced students.

    This class meets the “Design & Craft” category requirement.

    Prerequisites: Design & Technology and Jewelry 1

    This semester long course is offered in Fall 2023. It is a UC approved course.
  • Private Skills for a Public Purpose PPP

    Private School With Public Purpose (PSPP) aims, through design and research, to allow our students to examine their own privileges and biases and more importantly the role we all play in the greater education system. Students mix reading and research with tangible hands-on shop skills to build relationships and foster empathy for people beyond the walls of the school. Shops skills are primarily in the area of wood and metal fabrication but the course is not constrained by specific tools or mediums. Students are given an opportunity to work closely with a public school or nonprofit organizations to provide design and build skills while filling needs within the local organizations. The semester begins with in-depth inquiry into systematic social inequities, and challenges students to think about their own position of privilege. The rest of the semester is spent on designing and building projects to meet the needs of the organization and its stakeholders. This is an ideal opportunity for students to learn about the client/builder relationship through site visits, interviews, and observations about the organization's needs. The class culminates in the delivery of the finished projects.

    This class meets the “Design & Engineering” category requirement.

    Prerequisite: Design and Technology

    This semester long course offered in both Fall 2023 and Spring 2024 fulfills the Public Purpose Program requirement for juniors and seniors. It is a UC approved course.
  • Rethinking Furniture

    This metal focused class introduces students to a variety of metal fabrication techniques like metal forming, cutting, bending, and while investigating human-object interaction through the lens of furniture design. This course is broken into three distinct yet interrelated projects. Initially, students will design and prototype an item of to-scale furniture with specific user(s) in mind. The second project pays particular attention to welding and achieving structural integrity and using recycled/repurposed steel to create a usable item. Finally, students will have a large portion of the semester to develop an item of furniture that is designed for a specific person, place, and/or context. Throughout the course, students will also review and expand upon their skills in Design Thinking, industrial design sketching, and fabrication techniques learned in Freshman year. Throughout the course, students will document all work online, exhibiting their designs and research to display the linear (or nonlinear) progression of their project.

    This class meets the “Design & Craft” category requirement.

    Prerequisite: Design and Technology

    This semester long course is offered in both Fall 2023 and Spring 2024. It is a UC approved course.
  • Sewing and Textile Arts Level 1

    In this beginning course, students will learn the fundamentals of constructing and designing with fabric. The curriculum will begin with operating procedures for a sewing machine, including threading, winding the bobbin, machine settings, and choosing the proper stitch type and length. We will learn about the characteristics of different fabric types and how to work with woven fabrics. Learn how to pin, cut, press, and stitch your pattern pieces into functional and wearable objects. Projects will include a tote bag, a bucket hat, and a pair of pajama bottoms. Participants will mix hands-on projects with discussions on fashion as activism, the economic and environmental impacts of "fast fashion," and body image in the fashion industry.

    This class meets the Tech Arts "Design & Craft" category requirement.

    Prerequisite: Design and Technology

    This semester long course is offered in both Fall 2023 and Spring 2024. It is a UC approved course.
  • Sewing and Textile Arts Level 2 PPP

    Building on the skills from Sewing and Textile Arts Level 1, this advanced sewing Public Purpose course will provide much needed services to local and national organizations. Students mix reading and research with tangible hands-on sewing skills to build relationships, examine our own privilege, and foster awareness and empathy of global issues impacting young people.

    Our topics will include researching period poverty in preparation for creating re-usable maxi-pads for girls abroad, working with an organization creating wheelchair capes for children that are chair bound, and other projects that will be chosen by the class.

    Students will work collaboratively and in teams to design and organize their making process in order to efficiently produce their goods. New sewing skills will be learned and old skills perfected in order to accommodate the needs and expectations of our organizations.

    Prerequisite: Design & Technology, Sewing and Textile Arts Level 1

    This semester-long course is offered in Spring 2024. It is a UC-eligible course.
  • Teaching Assistant Tech Arts PPP

    This course will have students apply the combined skills learned in previous Technical Arts classes with new skills focused on leadership. The faculty member will act as a mentor and coach, introducing material so that the student leader can better understand cultural competency, equitable pedagogical practices, and their impact on the learning environment. These learning strategies will then be applied and focus on four main areas on a daily basis—teaching, community, machine maintenance/class prep, and reflection.

    Note: This class does not fulfill the technical arts graduation requirement and PPP credit can only be given for participation Private Skills for a Public Purpose class.

    Prerequisites: Design & Technology along with one semester of the class for which you will be the teaching assistant.

    This semester long course offered in both Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 fulfills the Public Purpose Program requirement for juniors and seniors. 
  • Teaching Assistantship Tech Arts

    Tech Arts teaching assistants play a vital role that helps us produce better projects and a safer environment. This is a leadership role in which you will have to share what you know, learn more about the processes you are assisting with and seek the most effective ways to support current student projects and classroom learning. It’s a challenging, rewarding, and essential role in the Tech Arts.

    To become a Teaching Assistant, you must 1.have completed Design and Technology and two other shop classes. 2.In those classes, you should have shown proficiency and a commitment to safe working practices in the shops. 3.check with the instructor verbally or electronically before moving forward in the process. 4.create a written proposal outlining how you hope to be helpful in the classroom and what you hope to learn from the experience.

    The TA form is signed by the teacher, the department chair, and the participating instructor. Form submission is to the scheduler during course signups. No more than two students can TA per Technical Arts section. This class does not count toward your Technical Art graduation requirement and is graded as pass/fail.
  • Wood: Joinery and Turning

    With wood as the primary raw material, this class prepares students for the transition from concept and design to the engineering and production of illustrated ideas. It emphasizes time management and project planning while allowing the freedom to be innovative and creative. Wood is addressed as an essential ecologic and economic element that both captures carbon and sustains economic growth. Students are expected to read and write about topics from eco-activism to the international trade politics of lumber so that they can better understand how this material functions beyond the classroom.
    Presentations, research and demonstrations guide students through the object design process. Design is presented as a tool to craft beautiful items as well as a way to solve functional and social challenges. Students research the history and function of design, both through applied examples and specific designers/institutions.
    Safety and proficiency in the operation and care of many hand and power tools are also integral to this course. Students will learn how to identify different species of woods, their appropriate use and how to practice the mindful use of a precious and beautiful natural resource: wood!

    In the first part of the semester, to acquaint themselves with the Wood Shop and power tools, students will participate in a short collaborative project. This is followed by two individual projects, one of which asks them to apply major wood joinery techniques (finger, dove, butt and miter joints). The second focuses on the major techniques of woodturning. Each project must demonstrate the skills covered in class and be created within the prescribed design limitations.

    This class meets the “Design & Craft” category requirement.

    Prerequisite: Design and Technology

    This semester long course is offered in both Fall 2023 and Spring 2024. It is a UC approved course.


  • Photo of Andrew Kleindolph
    Andrew Kleindolph
    Electronics, Design & Technology Teacher
    ext. 326
  • Photo of Lizzy Brooks
    Lizzy Brooks
    Computing Teacher, Design & Technology Teacher
  • Photo of Samu Cortez
    Samu Cortez
    Tech Arts Teacher & Woodworking and Shop Operations Technician, Department Chair
    ext. 224
  • Photo of Youssou Fall
    Youssou Fall
    Wood Shop Teacher, Design & Technology Teacher
    ext. 229
  • Photo of Jeremy Kaplan
    Jeremy Kaplan
    Design & Technology Teacher
  • Photo of Laurel Nathanson
    Laurel Nathanson
    Wearables Teacher: Jewelry and Textiles
    ext. 222
  • Photo of David Sasson
    David Sasson
    Creative Code and Design Instructor
    ext 292

Lick-Wilmerding High School

755 Ocean Avenue | San Francisco, CA 94112 | 415.333.4021
A private school with public purpose, Lick-Wilmerding High School develops the head, heart, and hands of highly motivated students from all walks of life, inspiring them to become lifelong learners who contribute to the world with confidence and compassion.