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.
  • Ancient History

    Semester course, .5 credit
    Development of ancient civilzations and how they have influenced our thinkng today. Use of early DBQs and sifting through evidence to find the truth or form our own opinion. Ancient Egypt, Africa, India, China, Persia, Maya and Pre-Columbian indigenous societies. In depth Ancient Greece. Hinduism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Taoism, Confucianism and Legalism. Constantly asking why are we studying this topic and it's relevance to today. Use of many methods. Project based learning, creating and giving their own power point presentations, writing their own skits, writing and performing in their own 4 person based Greek myth, Debates about political systems and which one was best, writing and presenting their on monolog about a deity or historical figure, Analyzing DBQs, group work, applying the ancient to the current as to how would one deal with an infraction from a Taoist, Confucian or Legalist perspective etc. Drawing connections to see patterns using archaeology and anthropology to supplement lack of written text.
    Required: 8th grade
  • Asian History

    Year course, 1 credit
    This course exposes students who are about to vote and go out into the world to events in a continent that has more than half of the World’s population. The goal is to make students aware of different points of view and see history from an alternate vantage. Events in the news today are analyzed to show the relevance of the situation and then are traced back in a country’s history to bring events up to the current day. Students give weekly reports about recent events in the country of their choice, keeping them abreast of trends and helping to improve their public speaking. Research using online daily newspapers from around the world and blogs is required.
    Open to juniors and seniors.
  • Economics

    Semester course, .5 credit
    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.
    Open to juniors and seniors
    Spring semester
  • Geography

    Semester course, .5 credit
    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.
    Required: 8th grade
  • Global Cinema

    Year course, 1 credit
    In History of Global Cinema, we 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, we 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 the first semester, we study international cinema, including major film movements such as German Expressionism, Italian Neorealism, the French New Wave. In the second semester, we  explore themes of American culture, identity, politics, and history, by watching films such as Chaplin’s The Gold Rush, Coppola’s The Godfather, and Nichols’ The Graduate. Students complete two essays and produce two short film projects. This is a discussion and project based course open to juniors and seniors. 
  • Philosophy

    Semester course, .5 credit
    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.
    Open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors
    Fall semester
  • U.S. Government and Politics

    Semester course, .5 credit
    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, presentations, and class assignments include critical analysis and data interpretation.
    Open to juniors and seniors
    Fall semester
  • U.S. History

    Year course, 1 credit
    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 adopted roles and negotiated the terms of The Treaty of Versailles after World War I, prevented a nuclear war by reenacting the Cuban Missile Crisis, and proposed, debated and voted on the contents of the U.S. Constitution. 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.
  • World History I

    Year course, 1 credit
    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 under the Sui 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 and ask questions, such as what is left out and what would you ask? We 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. We collaborate with the English department and provide the real historical background and perspective to supplement Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. Assessments include a collaborative term paper, for which students compare their material and come up with a conclusion. For example, students might evaluate the lives of women in Medieval Europe, the Ming dynasty, and Aztec culture. Students regularly reflect on why they are studying topics, and their relevance to today is explored. Often, we will start with a concept or current event before introducing a topic. The course also students to draw connections, learn from the past, and from this vantage try to predict where current trends will lead to in the future. The course develops a number of skills and interests without featuring a textbook. All materials are curated by the teacher.
  • World History II

    Year course, 1 credit
    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.
  • YAS Art History

    Year course, 1 credit
    York Advanced Studies Art History (YAS Art History) 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. Students who take YAS Art History may opt to take the AP Art History exam—and they should be in good condition to do so.
    Open to juniors and seniors
  • YAS U.S. History

    Year course, 1 credit
    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 adopted roles and negotiated the terms of The Treaty of Versailles after World War I, prevented a nuclear war by reenacting the Cuban Missile Crisis, and proposed, debated and voted on the contents of the U.S. Constitution. 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. York Advanced Studies 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.

Faculty

  • Photo of Nick Coburn-Palo
    Nick Coburn-Palo
    Humanities Department Chair, Humanities, History
    Bio
  • Photo of Josh Bloom
    Josh Bloom
    Humanities
    Bio
  • Photo of Michael Borrowman
    Michael Borrowman
    History, 9th Grade Dean
    Bio
  • Photo of Alexis Giachetti
    Alexis Giachetti
    Cinema, Global Studies, History, Spanish
    Bio
  • Photo of Steve Peters
    Steve Peters
    Athletic Director, Economics
    Bio
  • Photo of Jon Zeljo
    Jon Zeljo
    Director of Teaching and Learning, History

Curriculum

York School

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Monterey, CA 93940
Phone: 831-372-7338
Fax: 831-372-8055
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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.