The mission of The Palm Beach School for Autism is to provide a developmentally appropriate education using intensive behavioral strategies for students with autism spectrum disorder and related disabilities.
The vision and purpose of The Palm Beach School for Autism is to demonstrate that all age students with autism spectrum disorder can learn to lead successful & fulfilling lives through a structured educational program using strategies tailored to each student’s needs.
The Palm Beach School for Autism accepts children with the primary eligibility of autism spectrum disorder for students enrolling in our elementary and middle school programs. Our preschool program accepts children with autism spectrum disorder, speech and language delay, developmental delay; other health impaired and related disabilities. All students are enrolled with an Individual Educational Plan (IEP). Enrollment is on a first come first served basis; exceptions are made only in the event that students meet the criteria of our target population and meet one of the following additional criteria:
• Students who have siblings with an IEP meeting our eligibility requirements
• Students who are the children of a member of the governing board
• Students who are the children of an employee
Please note: The Palm Beach School for Autism does not provide busing to its middle school or elementary school students and limited busing is provided for our preschool students
• Providing a loving, nurturing environment for children with autism spectrum disorder and related disabilities so that they achieve self-confidence in school and the community that extends to their everyday life.
• Providing academic skills in highly individualized classes so that they may strive for academic excellence and feel equal among peers.
• Developing social skills that enable the child to function in society so that they may feel a sense of belonging and purpose.
• Increasing language/communication skills through a total communication approach, using verbalizations, sign language, augmentative devices and visual supports.
• Providing a positive learning environment which will enrich the learning experience so that the student develops an interest in learning.
Charter schools are public schools of choice. Charter schools are, by definition, flexible and have freedom to set their own rules on such issues as curriculum, teaching style, personnel, and discipline.
Funding for charter schools comes from the state, with a portion of the money per students by the Florida Legislature, by district. This is called the FTE, or full time equivalent. Charter schools offer students higher standards and a more hands- on environment for teaching and learning.
The Palm Beach School for Autism has a strong belief in becoming involved in our local community. Over the years we have been active with Autism Speaks, Walk Now for Autism event held annually. We have also become partners with our local police department in helping strengthen families during the holidays with food, clothing and toy drive. Reaching out to our multicultural community in Palm Beach County has been an exciting project for our school with the Palm Beach Multicultural Organization. Together we have developed programs to reach out to those families who may not know of our programs and other vital resources in our community.
Our families at the Palm Beach School for Autism have several different ways of becoming involved in our school. Throughout the year we organize field trips where families can volunteer to attend with their child. Families are also encouraged to participate in our active Fundraising Committee.
The Palm Beach School for Autism has established a Board of Directors from the local community representing individuals recognized as community leaders, business professionals, and involved parents. The Board of Directors is responsible for establishing guidelines for the operation and the fiscal accountability for the school.
The Board of Directors delegates to the Executive Director authority and responsibility for the management of the day to day operations of the school.
The Board meets quarterly at PBSA. Public notification is made available via flyers on school bulletin boards, student’s backpacks and the website.
If anyone has an item to be brought to the board, it must be received by the board secretary at a minimum of three days prior to the meeting so that it can be placed on the agenda.
If there is a grievance, it should be first brought to the principal. If the parent does not feel that the grievance has been resolved, then the parent may bring the grievance to the Executive Director. If the grievance remains unresolved then the parent may request a hearing with the PBSA Board of Directors.
President: Randee Gabriel
Vice President: Dawn D’Amato
Secretary: Ruth Menor
Ann Levene-Eisenberg - Executive Director
Ann has been the Executive Director at Palm Beach School for Autism since 2007. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Communications and Child and Family Studies from Syracuse University and a Master’s Degree in Non-Profit Management from Regis University. Ann was introduced to the field of Autism when her own child was diagnosed at the age of 18 months and she could not imagine doing anything else. Ann says, “I have lived in Florida for 20 years and began working in the field of disabilities in 1994. I have worked at the state level and the county level for the past 18 years. The Palm Beach School for Autism was born in 1996 because of the lack of services for children with autism in the public school system. I am proud of how far our school has come with regards to the quality of programming, teaching staff and operations of our charter school.” In her free time Ann enjoys hiking, skiing and learning to surf.
Allison Ballin, BCBA - Associate Director of Education & Behavioral Services
Allison Ballin, M.S., BCBA, is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst with a Masters Degree in Special Education. She has been passionately advocating for and working with children and young adults with special needs for over 20 years. Allison has a strong background in teaching children how to effectively communicate utilizing augmentative communication as well as American Sign Language and is highly skilled in working with the following populations: autism,severe behavior disorders, deaf and hard of hearing, developmental delays, speech and language impaired, attention deficit disorder, learning disabilities as well as individuals with other communication disorders. She has provided direct therapeutic treatment as well as education and life planning and coordination for clients and their families. Allison enjoys spending time with her children and family and living a healthy life-style.
Olive Balbosa - Intermediate & Middle School Principal
Olive has earned a B.S. and an M.S.Ed. in Special Education from City College of New York. Before coming to Palm Beach School for Autism in 1996, she taught in a variety of special education settings in N.Y. Olive believes that every single child is capable of learning. She has a passion for working with children with autism and hopes to make a difference in their lives. She says, "It is key for a family to be able to trust their educators and look to them for support and understanding." In her spare time, Olive enjoys travel, volunteering, theater, reading and spending time with her family.
Juliet Bliss - Principal-Preschool, K-3
Juliet worked in the school district for 7 years before coming to the Palm Beach School for Autism in 2008. Juliet says, “This is my dream job and I cannot imagine working anywhere else. This is a fantastic family of hard working, dedicated staff.” She has Bachelor’s Degree in Exceptional Student Education and National Board Certification in Exceptional Needs Specialist Early Childhood –Young Adulthood “Let me hear Your Voice” by Catherine Maurice brought her to tears as a college student. This prompted her work in Early Intervention therapy in the home with verbal behavior and ABA therapies. She has been in the field ever since. Juliet enjoys spending time with her husband and 6 year old daughter. She watches football and “Chick Flicks.”
Nick Miles - Principal, High School
As a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) with a specialization in Performance Management, Nick Miles was excited to join Palm Beach School for Autism in 2014. Nick has been working with individuals with autism since 2002 in a variety of settings including home, school, vocational, and residential facilities. He has served populations ranging from early intervention to elderly adult, focusing on the acquisition of important verbal, functional, and vocational skills as well as the reduction of maladaptive behaviors. Nick earned his Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Western Michigan University in 2004, and his Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis with a specialization in Organizational Behavior Management from the Florida Institute of Technology in 2007. Nick has also published peer-reviewed research on topics including behavioral skills training and fluency of verbal behavior. Outside of his professional career, Nick enjoys camping, hiking, and surfing, and has a strong interest in animal behavior, honing his behavioral skills at home in the form of training his three dogs.
Nicole DeFlorio - Director of Transition Services
Nicole DeFlorio joined the Palm Beach School for Autism family in 2015.She has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Elementary Education from Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York. She has 17 years of experience working with people with disabilities. In her tenure at Southern Westchester BOCES (NY), she provided direct student-centered transition services in 7 counties and served as the director of the Hudson Valley Transition Coordination Site where she coordinated transition services in 15 counties. After relocating to Florida, she worked as a Transition Specialist with the School District of Palm Beach County. Nicole is skilled in developing community and inter-agency relationships and we are happy to have her leading the transition program at PBSFA. Outside of her professional role, Nicole enjoys spending time with her son and loves to read and cook.
Abby Girton - Director of Development & Marketing
Abby joined The Palm Beach School for Autism family in December, 2012. She has a Bachelor of Science in Recreation Administration and Therapeutics and a Bachelor of Arts in Art Education. Abby is National Board Certified in Art and has worked as an Art Teacher for the past fifteen years. She has always enjoyed educating children with autism. While working as a teacher, Abby received Grant funding for technology, specialized art supplies and a garden project. She also raised funds for much needed supplies on an annual basis. Her hobbies include painting, technology, snorkeling, and spending time with her daughter. Abby is happy to be able to use her creativity to raise funds for something so close to her heart.
Louisa Legato - Director of Business Management
Louisa was on the Founding Board of Directors as Secretary/Treasurer and became the Director of Business Management in May of 2003 just after the school’s program went out on it’s own. Louisa has more than 30 years experience working in various business financial departments at every imaginable task. With a son attending PBSFA since preschool and the school's inception she feels she has a vested interest in seeing the school succeed & grow in order to help as many children as possible.
Chad Peltz - Director of Facilities
Chad has been with Palm Beach School for Autism since January of 2008. He holds a Bachelors Degree from Lynn University in Hospitality & Sports Recreation and an Associates Degree in Physical Education. Chad has been working with children with special needs for over a decade and says that he does it for the love of it. Chad is a movie buff and avid softball player. He also enjoys sci-fi, comics and sports of all kinds.
Adriene Fern - Director of Family Services
Adriene is thrilled to be part of the PBSFA family. She has a multifaceted professional background, as an ESE teacher, case manager, workshop facilitator, advocate, certified peer mentor with the Christopher Reeve Foundation and life coach. Personally, she is the proud parent of young-adult son on the autism spectrum and can share her “walk in your shoes” journey with candidness, authenticity and humor. She will support you with understanding, encouragement and exceptional resources.
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