History

We want our students to gain insight into the connection between significant historical events and today’s complex world. Our History courses develop each student’s appreciation for and understanding of the past and its impact on the present by engaging students in discussions, debates, simulations, primary and secondary sources, and research projects. Particular emphasis is placed on historical thinking skills, analysis, and interpretation. Innovative assignments challenge students to recreate historical eras through a variety of cooperative projects.
  • American Cinema

    In American Cinema, students analyze the relationship between film form and meaning, while taking into consideration the larger political, historical, and cultural context in which the films were made. In seminar discussions, students deconstruct films in order to decipher what the filmmaker intended to communicate as well as to identify some of the unintentional effects the film has had over the course of history. In this course, we explore themes of American culture, identity, politics, and history, by watching films such as Eyre’s Smoke Signals, Kramer’s Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, Coppola’s The Godfather, Hitchcock’s Rear Window, and Nichols’ The Graduate. The historical focus this semester is on the history of Hollywood and Independent cinema. As we continue to learn the foundational vocabulary and skills for film analysis, we focus on cinematography, editing, and sound. Students complete an analysis project and a creative production project. 
    Semester course, 0.5 credits
    Open to juniors and seniors
  • Ancient History

    This semester-long course focuses on the development of ancient civilizations, including Egypt, Africa, India, China, Persia, Maya and Pre-Columbian indigenous societies, and Greece. Students are introduced to these civilizations through a variety of techniques and skill-building activities, such as project-based learning, role play, presentations, myth writing, debates, analyzing primary documents, and other group work. Students draw connections between the past and present, finding relevance in the study of the ancient.
    Semester course, 0.5 credit
    Required: 8th grade
  • Art History - YAS

    York Advanced Studies Art History is a year-long course that explores such topics as the nature of art, its uses, its meanings, art making, and responses to art. Through investigation of diverse artistic traditions of culture from prehistory to the present, the course fosters in-depth and holistic understanding of the history of art from a global perspective. Students learn and apply skills of visual, contextual and comparative analysis to engage with a variety of art forms, constructing understanding of individual works and interconnections of art-making processes and products throughout history. This course is largely based on the AP Art History course, and students who take YAS Art History may opt to take the AP Art History exam.
    Year course, 1 credit
    Open to juniors and seniors
    Note: Qualifying elective for the Distinguished Global Scholar Certificate
  • Economics

    Students are introduced to the history of economics and trace the evolution of economic thought from the late 18th century until the modern era. Emphasis is placed on the foundations, philosophy, and debates of macroeconomic theory, and the vocabulary and concepts of modern micro and macro economics, utilizing case studies and supplementary materials from websites, films, newspapers, magazines, journals, class discussions, and debates. The course goal is to provide the beginnings of a measured economic philosophy for the student.
    Semester course, 0.5 credit
    Open to juniors and seniors
    Note: Qualifying elective for the Distinguished Global Scholars Certificate
  • Geography

    Congratulations, explorers! York’s Geography class is your ticket for an intellectual adventure across the world. Over the span of our semester together, we will travel all across our planet. Our course is a journey—one that explores nations and crosses continents. As a member of our expedition, your mission is to get to know the places where we “travel.” Using puzzles, games, videos, projects, mastery quizzes, and other assessments, we will learn about over 200 places—and all in one semester! Furthermore, our class serves a larger purpose: by better knowing about countries in the world, you will be better prepared to learn Ancient History, World History, U.S. History, and Economics.
    Semester course, 0.5 credit
    Required: 8th grade
  • Global Cinema

    In Global Cinema, students analyze the relationship between film form and meaning, while taking into consideration the larger political, historical, and cultural context in which the films were made. In seminar discussions, students deconstruct films in order to decipher what the filmmaker intended to communicate as well as to identify some of the unintentional effects the film has had over the course of history. The focus in Global Cinema is on international cinema, including major film movements such as Italian Neorealism and the French New Wave. Students also study major directors and their films, including Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo, Wong Kar-Wai’s In the Mood for Love, François Truffaut’s 400 Blows, and Federico Fellini’s 8 1/2. Over the course of the semester, students will understand how these movements and directors influenced one another. In analyzing these films, we focus on narrative structure, mise-en-scene, and cinematography. Students complete a film history essay and film analysis project.
    Semester course, 0.5 credits
    Open to juniors and seniors
    Note: Qualifying elective for the Distinguished Global Scholar Certificate
  • Philosophy

    Philosophy is a seminar-based, critical thinking-oriented, survey course of this expansive area of thought. It involves extensive discussion based on excerpts from classical texts, curated video featuring leading philosophers, and student written responses to contemporary issues in philosophy. As part of that process, we watch and discuss the first season of the critically acclaimed television show “The Good Place” and the movies “The Matrix” and “Waking Life.” A significant goal of the course is to help students learn how to properly frame questions, develop a theory about that question, diagram the resulting argument, and develop tests of sufficiency for the key elements of that argument. Our final assessment involves students developing a robust prospectus for a philosophical project, which they then present to, and workshop with, their classmates, in a simulated philosophy conference.
    Semester course, 0.5 credit
    Open to juniors and seniors
  • U.S. Government and Politics

    This course provides an analysis and understanding of American government and politics, and examines the framework and traditions that have shaped American politics. The class explores how public policy is made today, including the nature and influence of the political parties, branches of government, special interest groups, the media, and government bureaucratic institutions. At semester’s end students will have developed a critical, across the board understanding of American politics, with an appreciation for the nature of individual rights and responsibilities. Mirroring a college-level course, students will read primary source documents, full-length works, newspapers and magazines, blogs and other online resources, and data such as polls and statistical analysis. The classroom format features discussion (including a regular discussion of current events), lectures, debates, and presentations.
    Semester course, 0.5 credit
    Open to juniors and seniors
  • U.S. History

    This course addresses political, economic, social, diplomatic, and cultural U.S. History from the pre-Columbian period to the present. Students strengthen their capacity to communicate complex thoughts in seminar discussions, debates, and simulations. In past simulations, students have proposed, debated, and voted on the contents of the U.S. Constitution; adopted roles and negotiated the terms of the Treaty of Versailles after World War I; and prevented a nuclear war by reenacting the Cuban Missile Crisis. Other class time consists of primary source analysis, short lectures, and exposure to musical and visual art from various time periods. Over the course of the year, students improve their research, writing, and presentation skills by way of completing the Junior Thesis. Students are encouraged to engage in related extracurriculars, such as Model UN, a “think tank” on nuclear nonproliferation in partnership with the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, and York’s Distinguished Global Scholars Program.
    Year course, 1 credit
    Required: 11th grade
  • U.S. History - YAS

    This course addresses political, economic, social, diplomatic, and cultural U.S. History from the pre-Columbian period to the present. Students strengthen their capacity to communicate complex thoughts in seminar discussions, debates, and simulations. In past simulations, students have proposed, debated, and voted on the contents of the U.S. Constitution; adopted roles and negotiated the terms of the Treaty of Versailles after World War I; and prevented a nuclear war by reenacting the Cuban Missile Crisis. Other class time consists of primary source analysis, short lectures, and exposure to musical and visual art from various time periods. Over the course of the year, students improve their research, writing, and presentation skills by way of completing the Junior Thesis. Students are encouraged to engage in related extracurriculars, such as Model UN, a “think tank” on nuclear nonproliferation in partnership with the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, and York’s Distinguished Global Scholars Program.

    In York Advanced Studies US History, students are offered opportunities to broaden and enrich their academic experience by way of additional readings and activities and more extensive projects and assessments. YAS US History is designed for students who have a strong interest in history, and who are ready and willing to do the work necessary to dig deeply into the material.
    Year course, 1 credit
    Prerequisites: World History II, recommendation from history teacher
    Open to juniors
  • World History I

    World History I covers a period beginning with the rise of Rome and concluding with European contact in the Americas. The course pauses at key moments to compare areas and scenarios. For instance, around 500 the Western Roman Empire was collapsing, whilst Chinese reunification was about to happen, paving the way for the golden ages of the Tang and Song dynasties, and across the ocean, the Mayans were about to embark on their own golden age. DBQs are heavily emphasized so that students can get into the science of history and question sources. Students dive deeply into topics so that meaningful concepts and connections can be understood. Activities include lectures, documentaries, art, project-based learning, individual and group presentations, and creative activities such as designing one's own illuminated letter or spending a lesson as a monk. Students regularly reflect on why they are studying topics, and their relevance to today is explored. The course also teaches students to draw connections, learn from the past, and from this vantage try to predict where current trends will lead to in the future.
    Year course, 1 credit
    Required: 9th grade
  • World History II

    Students gain insight into the connection between significant historical events and today’s complex world by using lectures, primary and secondary sources, videos, student-centered projects, and discussion of current events in a historic context. Particular emphasis is placed on historical analysis and interpretation. Students also undertake a year-long research project, requiring them to engage in the best practices for historical work associated with college undergraduate coursework. The first semester covers the 15th to 19th centuries, emphasizing European transformations through the Age of Exploration, the Protestant Reformation, the Scientific Revolution, the Enlightenment, the American & French Revolutions, and the Industrial Revolution. The second semester covers the 19th and 20th centuries, emphasizing transformations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America through Colonialism & Neo-Colonialism, The Japanese Empire, The Chinese Civil War, World War I & II, and the Cold War.
    Year course, 1 credit
    Required: 10th grade

Faculty

  • Photo of Nick Coburn-Palo
    Nick Coburn-Palo
    History Department Chair, History
    Bio
  • Photo of Josh Bloom
    Josh Bloom
    English, History, Health & Fitness Coordinator
    Bio
  • Photo of Michael Borrowman
    Michael Borrowman
    History, 9th Grade Dean
    Bio
  • Photo of Alexis Giachetti
    Alexis Giachetti
    Coordinator of Distinguished Global Scholars Program, History, Spanish
    Bio
  • Photo of Steve Peters
    Steve Peters
    Athletic Director, History
    Bio
  • Photo of Jon Zeljo
    Jon Zeljo
    Director of Teaching and Learning, History
    831-372-7338 x108
    Bio

Curriculum

York School

9501 York Road
Monterey, CA 93940
Phone: 831-372-7338
Fax: 831-372-8055
We inspire and prepare a diverse community of creative, independent thinkers.
Since 1959, York School has created an exceptional college-prep experience for our youth: inspiring them to develop intellectual curiosity; challenging them to create and try new things; and preparing them to be passionate contributors in college and in life.