AP World to replace AP Euro


Jackson Spenner

The textbook for AP Euro, the former advanced social science course offered to sophomores that will be replaced by AP World.

Samantha Johnstone, Managing Editor

AP European History (AP Euro), the advanced history class previously offered to sophomores, is notorious for its demanding curriculum and challenging tests. However, this course was not offered to the current freshman class during course selection. For the first time in Burlingame’s history, the class of 2024 instead chose between modern world history and AP World History: Modern (AP World).

AP European History has been the advanced social science course for sophomores at Burlingame for around 10 years, and at the time of institution, it seemed to be the only practical option

“AP Euro started at San Mateo High School, and then we adopted it,” AP Euro teacher Joshua Gnass said. “So at the time, AP Euro made sense because they already had it at San Mateo High. The other reason is that AP World was a weird class, up until two years ago.”

The original AP World class covered the time period of 200 BC to the 1900s. The extensive curriculum seemed impractical for sophomores, most of whom would be taking their first AP course. Jim Chin, the other AP Euro teacher, and Gnass’ opinion of the course began to change two years ago when the College Board completely reformed the curriculum, making it much more manageable. 

“It [now] starts in the 1200s, and I think that made it so much more doable. And in a lot of ways, AP World 15-20 years ago wouldn’t look close to CP World. They would still be super different, [but] now AP World and CP World have a lot more in common, and I think that makes the switch kind of make more sense,” Chin said. 


Junior Ella Giere took AP Euro last year and thoroughly enjoyed the class. 

“I loved the class, I loved all the discussion … [but] I think that the class setup kind of made it seem like Europe is the center of the world, and that’s not the case. You know, there are so many other cultures and countries that … have fascinating histories and we never had a chance to learn them,” Giere said. 

This push to create a more diverse curriculum has been a frequent conversation within the Burlingame administration. 

“[There is a] conversation that has been happening in the [social science] department around a more global, less Eurocentric perspective,” principal Paul Belzer said. 

Last year, the freshman history class — contemporary world studies — was replaced by ethnic studies in hopes of bringing ninth graders a more well-rounded history of the world with respect to continents other than Europe. 

“We want to make sure that we are offering a culturally relevant and culturally responsive curriculum,” Belzer said. 

This change was welcomed by teachers and students alike, prompting the social science department to tackle what they saw as the problematic tenth grade curriculum.   

The replacement of AP Euro with AP World has been a lengthy process, and Chin and Gnass still have a long summer of curriculum planning ahead of them. 

“Fortunately, we have an awesome social science chair in the district, Mr. Zozos, who is kinda shepherding us through the process … of getting AP World, and it’s a pain. It’s a very bureaucratic and typical public education sort of stuff,” Gnass said. 


The teachers and Burlingame’s administration believe the work to be worth it, and are excited for fall to come. 

“I’m really excited about the kind of trajectory and lens our school is looking through … to make [Burlingame] really student centered and culturally responsive,” Belzer said … ” I [also] appreciate the teacher leadership in seeing that lens [and] having conversations around cultural responsiveness and around course content that is relevant to students.”