All-Magnet Olsen Middle School Sets Students on Pathway to Success

The school opened in 1954, but Olsen Middle School in Dania Beach might as well be brand-new because it just became an all-magnet school.

It's got a variety of programs for its students backed by a slogan: mission possible.

"Yes, mission possible, we set very high goals, every student has an individualized goal, we have department goals, we have a school-wide goal, and we work as a team because we believe that our mission is possible," said principal Valerie Harris.

They're justifiably proud of their student scientists -- they just won a Science Olympiad competition, but Olsen has what they call pathways for every type of student, including LEEO, which stands for Linking Education and Employment Outcomes. The LEEO kids are learning business and academic skills simultaneously.

"Eventually, they'll do three industry certifications in middle school, three industry certifications in high school, and that leads to a full scholarship in college," said Shekelia Harris, the LEEO teacher.

"So we start planting the vision now at the middle school level and preparing our children for career or the college path," principal Harris added.

They even have yoga at Olsen. The students asked for it as an elective, so it's now part of this all-magnet school's offerings, linked to physical education.

"So they get to choose an elective that's not just a random elective, but an elective that's attached to a career, an elective that's attached to a pathway," principal Harris said.

They call the magnet program the I Can Academy. The global scholars class is part of it. Students in the class interact with kids from all over the globe, collaborating on the same issues and problems, and expanding their worldviews in the process.

"Well, one of the biggest benefits is the interaction with other cultures, so a lot of times we focus on and we think of our culture and we don't understand that other cultures are affected differently by things," explained Tysheena Boggan, who teaches global studies.

With so many opportunities, calling it Awesome Olsen Middle School sounds like they deserve the nickname.

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