Unnecessary Surgery: Why Cutting Collab Hurts

In the 2012-2013 school calendar year, the class colloquially referred to as “Collab” will be no more. Known formally as U.S. History Honors Collaboration and English Honors Collaboration, Collab will be cut because of a lack of interest and budget cuts according to the class’ two teachers: Michael Fulton, an English teacher, and Cathy Dancz, a social studies teacher.

Two words can aptly describe this turn of events: a travesty.

Collab is a non-traditional U.S. history course where students are constantly engaged in in-depth discussions and exposed to texts, such as “A Peoples’ History of the United States” by Howard Zinn, that open up students’ minds to new ideas about the history of the United States.

Fulton and Dancz have constantly pushed me to break the boundaries of my perceived limits, whether it is my quietness in class, or my ability to write essays. They have taught me that collaboration doesn’t just signify a combined English and History course.

It also means collaborating with the teachers, with other students, and even collaborating with the authors to interpret the idea and arguments of the books we read.

For me personally, collaboration means opening myself up to others, including my teachers.  They demand that we think, speak, contribute and debate with each other and with them. Before Collab, I’d never done that.

While I understand Fulton and Dancz want to move onto other things, that doesn’t mean the Collab course needs to be cut. Two other bright teachers should be given the same opportunity as Fulton and Dancz to touch the lives of students.

The mission statement of Staples says, “We strive to become a community of learners who treat each other with care and respect; we think critically, use contemporary literacy skills, and work to solve real-world problems.” Unlike other classes, Collab fulfills our school’s mission statement.

In Collab, I have never seen another student bullied, something I can’t say in other classes I have been in. Everyday we think critically about texts that we read, watch or listen to, and then reflect on them to understand what the texts means to us. In the eight months that I have been in Collab, my literacy skills have dramatically improved; I understand the depth of many of the books I read.

And finally, everyday we debate how to solve the issues that this world has to face in the next 50 years; whether it be racism, lobbying, economic injustice, or social injustice.

Not only has Collab made me a better student, but also it has made me a better person. Staples has an opportunity here to do the same for another year and years to come.