Centers of Excellence

Social Studies


The Weiss School Social Studies Center of Excellence provides gifted students with an elevated social studies curriculum through hands-on, primary-based study and project execution. Student opportunities include developing relationships with local and national level historians, academic institutions, archivists, museums, and historical societies. Middle school elective courses include History Exhibits and National History Research Lab. Students participate in various Social Studies Academic Competitions including the South Florida Regional and National History Bee and the National History Day Fair. Students also gain real-world experiences by participating in comprehensive field trips throughout the United States that explore various geographical areas of national history.

Partnerships and Collaboration

Within the Social Studies Center of Excellence, faculty members have established partnerships and collaboration opportunities with the following organizations, universities, and historical societies so that Weiss School students can interact and learn from local and national historical professionals:
  • The Historical Society of Palm Beach County
  • The Florida Humanities Council
  • University of Florida-Department of History
  • The University of West Florida-Department of Marine Archaeology
  • The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
  • The U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center
  • The Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Seminole Indian Museum
  • The Mel Fischer Maritime Museum
The Social Studies Center of Excellence faculty includes an adjunct professor at Florida Atlantic University.

Social Studies Center of Excellence: 3rd - 5th Grade

The Social Studies Intermediate curriculum is dedicated to foster independence, promote higher order thinking, and build grit based on educating the whole person in a fun, interesting manner. This plan is designed to create a social science curriculum for 3rd – 5th grade students that promotes creative, analytical, independent students who can problem solve and work collaboratively.  

This curriculum is based on themes not content as students typically read and learn about history in order to recall it later for an assessment or transfer it in an assignment. This method is usually driven by a textbook and based on memorization. With information literally at the tips of everyone’s fingers, I have to ask what’s the point? Why memorize and regurgitate anything when you can look it up in seconds?

Creating a curriculum from a thematic approach fosters student thinking because the emphasis becomes “Why does it matter?”, How did this happen?”, “How is this similar to what you already know?”, and “How does this affect your life?”. It brings meaning and purpose to the curriculum and removes the dependency on textbooks for both teachers and students.

Themes and concepts are taught and students then create something that explains the information using the themes and concepts via any method they choose (i.e., movie, photos, notes, word webs, storyboard, or graphic organizers). The 10 themes that are review are: Agriculture, Government, Achievements, Trade, Social Class, Technology, Disease, Imperialism, Geography, and Religion.  
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.