Centers of Excellence

Language Arts/ Speech & Debate


The Weiss School Language Arts/Public Speaking Center of Excellence provides gifted students with an elevated language arts and public speaking curriculum through hands-on, primary-based study and project execution. A comprehensive reading and writing program begins in Early Childhood classrooms and continues through 8th grade. Public speaking is a mandatory academic subject that is integrated throughout all Kindergarten – 8th grade classrooms to develop student confidence in their ability to speak in front of range of audiences.

Middle School elective courses offered in the Language Arts/Public Speaking Center of Excellence include Newspaper, Writing Workshop, Debate-Introduction, Debate-Varsity, Yearbook, and Friday Morning Show. Students participate in various Language Arts and Public Speaking/Debate competitions including the Scripps County Spelling Bee, National Spelling Bee, and National Speech and Debate Tournaments. The Language Arts Department includes a teacher who was selected and trained by Columbia University’s Teachers College on Reading and Writing Project, a highly selective and prestigious distinction.

Language Arts

The Weiss School Language Arts program encompasses reading, writing, and speech components. All components incorporate material introduced and presented by means that complement individual student learning styles, while integrating elevated thinking skills, originality, and creativity. Diverse, challenging literary works are selected to enhance student appreciation of works that include fantasy, science fiction, history, and cultural diversity. Research skills are developed by combining cross-curricular activities with individual interests. The use of Smart Boards provide additional opportunities for students to investigate all areas of Language Arts through tactile, audio, and visual learning modalities. The comprehensive Language Arts program prepares students to become skilled writers, thought provoking readers, and effective communicators. A unique activity in the Language Arts Center of Excellence that involves all students in Kindergarten – 8th grade is the Annual Author’s Day Program in which each student writes and publishes their own book. 

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  • Language Arts: 3rd - 5th Grade

    The 3rd - 5th grade Language Arts program at The Weiss School is developed using the Workshop Model developed by The Teacher's College of Columbia University. This model focuses on fostering student independence and choice and the differentiated approach that allows students to work on the same type of comprehension and creation at varying levels. This approach bridges understanding from teacher-led instruction into student practice and students use their choice to help them select reading materials and writing focuses. Teacher-led conferences and small groups foster larger classroom goals where learning progressions are utilized to help map out student performance and goal setting. These progressions are used to evaluate growth and progress.
  • Language Arts: 6th – 8th grade

    At The Weiss School, the objective of the Middle School Language Arts program is cultivate the love of reading among students while also developing proficient writing skills. The program provides students opportunities to engage in their own learning across genres through various texts that incorporate historical relevance. The Weiss School Language Arts curriculum guides students in their development of critical analysis from classic works of literature and provides opportunities for them to develop appreciation of the written word. Literary selections span from classic works including Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream and Macbeth, George Orwell’s Animal Farm, The Great Gatsby, Of Mice and Men, and No Promises in the Wind.

    Over the course of three years, Weiss Middle School students engage in a research process that develops their ability to examine the multiple historical time periods of Britain, France, and the United States. Through comprehensive writing phases including planning, organizing, drafting, revising, proofreading, and feedback, Weiss School students become proficient writers over time. Furthermore, vocabulary is introduced that focuses on the origins of language in order for students to gain the ability to decipher unfamiliar words. Student vocabularies are also enhanced through the study of Greek and Latin roots, which improve the ability to decipher the meanings of new words. Students continuously develop their grammar, usage, and mechanics skills through an in-depth study of sentence analysis and structure, agreement, punctuation, and online activities. Innovative technological presentations are created for the culmination of activities throughout the various Language Arts courses. Poetry is also an integral part of the Weiss School Language Arts curriculum. Each year, students work on writing poems as a tribute to their endless successes. 

Public Speaking

At The Weiss School, one of the unique curricular components that begins at an early age is the introduction of Public Speaking skills. All Weiss School students in grades Kindergarten – 8th grade receive weekly instruction in Public Speaking to develop them into articulate and effective communicators. The primary goal is to augment core academic skills with proficient Public Speaking skills to prepare them for high school and higher education. Public Speaking introduces students to the elements of good speaking and listening skills. A spiral Public Speaking curriculum is utilized to enhance speaking and listening skills each year as students progress through The Weiss School pupil progressional plan. The development of proficient public speaking skills has been instrumental in Weiss School students succeeding in academic competitions in other content areas. The ability to speak in front of hundreds of individuals without anxiety or fear is a critical skill that is fostered and developed among Weiss School students. 

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  • Debate (6th – 8th Grade)

    A significant component of the Language Arts/Public Speaking Center of Excellence is student participation in competitive Debate teams and competitions. Middle school students are eligible to participate on The Weiss School Debate Team, which actively competes in regional, state, and national Debate competitions. Debate competition events include Congressional Debate, Impromptu, Oral interpretation, Declamation, and Public Forum. The Weiss School boasts Annual National Debate participants including a Tournament of Champions 1st place national winner in Congress and a National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) 2nd place Congress national champion. Weiss School students participate in monthly local tournaments with a strong competition record in Congress. 

    The Debate Team has collaborated with The Weiss School WCDT team for the Space Exploration Alliance each February for space advocacy. Additionally, student participation on the Debate Team is closely aligned with other content areas that enhance learning and provide real world speaking applications including student participation in Science Fairs, National History Day competitions, speaking opportunities at monthly Palm Beach Gardens City Council meetings, and American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) banquets.
The Weiss School is a co-ed private school that serves gifted students in PreK-3 through 8th grade in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. A Weiss School education prepares students to think analytically and creatively, act socially responsible, live vigorously, and create imaginatively in a warm and supportive educational environment.