Global Curriculum
Academic Programs


Grade level seminars are weekly meetings of all students in a particular grade for the purpose of stimulating broad dialogue about challenging questions and developing a sense of intellectual community within the school. Participation is required, but seminars utilize information and experiences readily available to the students, thus calling for a minimum of additional outside work.

The theme for each grade level is selected to promote critical thinking skills and to augment the ideas presented in other courses. Presentations and discussion questions are designed to enhance the students' reflections about relationships, events, beliefs, and knowledge.

Seminars meet once per week for a large group presentation followed by reflection and discussion in small groups with faculty advisors.

Seminar Objectives:

  • Build community through shared discourse
  • Model and practice critical thinking in all its varieties
  • Introduce novel perspectives on familiar questions, disciplines, and problems
  • Provide a forum for sustained interdisciplinary learning
  • Provide a forum for exposing students to community resources and career paths through guest presentations
  • Create opportunities for reflection and intervention regarding developmentally-driven issues, especially wellness and self-care

9th Grade - Visual Literacy
Explore critical thinking through media studies.

Students might:
  • Analyze journalistic, artistic, and fashion photography content and the historical significance of select photographs;
  • Explore logo designs and examine the use of gender stereotypes in mass marketing;
  • Study the art of filmmaking with special emphasis on the directors, cinematographers and designers involved;
  • Take field trips to local film festivals or a video game company.

10th Grade - Civic Engagement

Students might:
  • Analyze the ethics of self care, including food politics and nutrition;
  • Discuss the various doping controversies in college and professional sports;
  • Explore the justice system, with particular focus on adolescents’ rights;
  • Discuss the ethics of communities, which includes a study of The Lord of the Flies as a comparison to student-constructed societies.

11th Grade - Civic Engagement

Students might:
  • Explore how do we know what we know;
  • Simulate how scientific inquiry works;
  • Examine how stereotypes begin;
  • Learn how religion sometimes informs what we know;
  • Observe how the brain tricks us into “knowing” something that isn’t true.

12th Grade - Life Skills
Everything a young adult needs to know (almost).

Students might:
  • Explore career options by hearing from working professionals in a variety of fields;
  • Learn basic self defense techniques and how to be safe on a college campus;
  • Discuss personal finance;
  • Learn methods of time management and apply them through the college application process;
  • Practice communication skills – how to communicate with admissions officials, professors, roommates and potential employers.

Meet the Faculty

List of 4 members.

  • Mickey Blaine 

    Theater Director, Drama Teacher, Visual Literacy Seminar Coordinator
    Loyola Marymount University - B.A.
  • Karen Eshoo 

    Head of School, Advisor
    Stanford University - MA
    University of San Diego - BA
    UC Berkeley - EdD
    Stanford University - MA
  • Jason Gregory 

    Assistant Head of School
    Azusa Pacific - BA, MA
  • Ann Petit 

    Director of Experiential Learning
    Babson College - BA
    University of New Mexico - MA
Vistamar School is a private independent high school in the South Bay region of Los Angeles
Vistamar School  |  737 Hawaii Street, El Segundo, CA 90245  |  T: 310.643.7377  |  F: 310.643.7371