We welcome students with diverse talents and needs and encourage students with disabilities to apply. On the day that you sign up for an audition date, you can request allowable accommodations for your child's audition if needed. You will be asked to provide documentation of a disability, such as an IEP or 504 plan. Gifted EPs are not needed for auditions. Please visit the Admissions webpage for detailed information about the application and audition process.
Meet Our ESE Team
ESE Coordinator: Laurie McCormick
Laurie McCormick has been a part of the Bak MSOA family for more than 20 years, and has enjoyed being a part of such a special place and among some of the most talented teachers and students in the state. Her teaching career began in 1988 after graduating with her bachelor's degree in special education from the University of Florida and moving on to earn her Master's degree in special education from Florida State University. Yes, she is a Gator, not a Seminole!! Working with students at Bak MSOA has been one of the most rewarding experiences in her life and she looks forward to many more years in this wonderful place.
Mrs. McCormick coordinates services for students with special needs, including Individual Education Plans (IEPs) and gifted Education Plans (EPs). She is available to answer your questions about your child's IEP, EP, or to discuss evaluation needs. Email: Laurie.McCormick@palmbeachschools.org
ESE Teacher: Jaimee Stamile
Jaimee Stamile teaches Learning Strategies and is the support facilitation teacher for grades 7 & 8. She holds a Master’s Degree in Varying Exceptionalities from FAU. She is certified in Varying Exceptionalities K-12, General Education K-6, ESOL K-12, and holds a Reading Endorsement for grades K-12. This is her 16th year in the Palm Beach County School District and her 7th year at Bak MSOA. Mrs. Stamile was honored by being named the Dwyer Award winner for Special Programs in 2019!
ESE Teacher: Keishla Pesantes
Ms. Pesantes started her education as a psychology major in college. She quickly learned about ESE and knew she had to switch after working with students with autism for a year prior to college. She soon received her Bachelor's degree in ESE with ESOL Endorsement at FAU and is certified ESE K-12. She has worked with students with varying disabilities of all ages for the past 8 years. She looks forward to teaching at BAK MSOA and learning more.
Speech Pathologist: Tania Sigman
Ms. Sigman is the speech-language pathologist (SLP) at Bak Middle School of the Arts. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Western Carolina University, a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Alabama School of Law (Roll Tide!!!), and then a master’s degree in Communication Science and Disorders from Florida State University. During her law career, she served as an Assistant State Attorney as well as litigated insurance defense and family law matters. She then returned to the field of speech-language pathology and has worked as an SLP in various public schools, medical settings, and private clinics. This is her 11th year with the school district and her 8th year at Bak MSOA.
ESE Paraprofessional: Olga Cussell
Olga is a passionate believer in education. After a successful career as a Judicial Assistant, Olga began a second career in education. When her own two children became public school students, Olga established school gardens as a volunteer with the Palm Beach County Master Gardener Program and 4H. She then earned her Educational Paraprofessional Certification as well as her Substitute Teacher Qualification. Olga looks forward to more joyful years collaborating with faculty and students within the areas of Exceptional Student Education and English Speakers of Other Languages.
Gifted offerings at Bak MSOA include Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies, and are open to eligible students with a gifted Education Plan (EP). Gifted math classes are not offered. Advanced math courses are based on a variety factors that determine placement.
Parents often ask about the difference between gifted and advanced classes. Both options are challenging, however advanced classes are available to any student with strong academic qualifications, while gifted classes are only open to identified gifted students. Additionally, teachers who teach gifted classes have completed gifted coursework that includes innovative strategies to enrich and differentiate curriculum to match gifted students' abilities and interests.