AP World makes Euro and Geo history


Illustration by Lichen Fischer

GBHS to introduce AP World as the new sophomore AP history class, bringing a much more suitable world history curriculum

AP World will be replacing AP European History and AP Human Geography as the sole Advanced Placement history class available to sophomores in the upcoming 2023-2024 school year.

This decision comes from two main reasons: the first, being the announcement of the retirement of Mike Valentine, who has been the AP Euro teacher at GBHS since 1998.

“Mr. Valentine loves AP Euro. He’s good at it. The kids love them. It’s always been a great experience. It’s a really hard curriculum to get up, over and on top of so when he was leaving, then we had to obviously figure out who’s going to take his place,” Brandon Dell’Orto, head of the Social Science Department and history teacher said.

While Valentine’s retirement could mean the replacement of him by a suitable successor, the Social Science Department had it act as a catalyst that would set in motion a decision that they had pondered for years: the introduction of AP World to GBHS.

“The department history teachers have been looking at a better content-wise, and they redesigned the classes, and AP World just looks like a better fit for us. We never got rid of (AP Euro) because it had been so successful here for so many years, but now with Valentine retiring, it’s an easy way to move it; it lines up very well,” AP Government teacher Jarrod Westberg said. 

The Social Science Department had AP World as a consideration for years because AP Euro and AP Human Geo were never truly supposed to be considered “world history” classes, which the graduation requirement for all GBHS students outlines.

“AP Euro is very obviously, Euro centric. It does not do a whole lot with anybody outside of Europe, except with (the) tangential issue of colonialism … (The students) are not really learning world history with AP Euro, but AP Euro history that then affects the world,” Dell’Orto said. “AP Human Geo is really not almost any history. It’s just things that are happening in the world right now.”

Additionally, College Board completely redesigned the AP World curriculum in 2019 to fit into a more specific time frame of modern history compared to its prior convoluted curriculum. With this last incentive, all the pieces had finally fallen into place to make for the perfect time to bring AP World to Granite Bay.

According to Westberg, the school administration is on board with the decision, and they will only then require approval from the district, which they are expected to get without any problems.

Because of the switch from two AP history classes to only one for sophomores, AP World will  be serving a very large population of students; Dell’Orto estimates at least 7 or 8 sections, or classes, of AP World of the course of the year, and at least two teachers. 

As of now, both Thomas Gieck, Ethnic Studies teacher, and Austin Lundquist, AP Human Geo teacher, have expressed willingness and interest in teaching AP World next year.

“I think it’s actually a cool class that kind of combines AP Euro with the history of the rest of the world and AP Human Geography,” Lundquist said.

With minimal roadblocks outside the new AP World teachers having to learn and prepare for the new curriculum, the teachers of the Social Science Department are hopeful for the future of AP World. Both Dell’Orto and Westberg believe that having AP World as a class will actually boost the number of sophomores taking an AP history course compared to having both AP Euro and AP Human Geo as options, and even lead to an improvement in AP scores.

As for AP Euro and AP Human Geo, their legacy at GBHS will live on.

“The thing I’ll miss the most are my students. Extremely smart people that I’ve had over the years that have gone on and are all functioning adults in the real world; it’s been quite pleasant,” Valentine said.