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Charlotte Amalie
Friday, February 3, 2023
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@Work: Academics Enhanced Incorporated School

Nov. 11, 2004 – When Olufunke Olaniyan-Greaux made her first trip to St. Thomas 25 years ago, it wasn't to start a school. It was to take a vacation. As she explored the island, she was hooked, and sometime during her 14-day stay, St. Thomas became home. Olaniyan-Greaux moved her young sons down and started a life. But she soon discovered her children had special educational needs that weren't being met by the school they were enrolled in.
"I remember praying and trying to decide what to do. My older son is dyslexic, so I started home schooling. I found all kinds of resources to help me, and it grew from there," Olaniyan-Greaux said. "People started to ask me if I would teach their children. Even when I was doing it I was sure I wasn't going to do it."
Eventually, that little home school turned into Academics Enhanced Incorporated School (formerly Creations Training School), established in 1989. Olaniyan-Greaux offers alternative education from kindergarten through grade 12.
"If it's usually done other places in a traditional form, more than likely we will not do it here. We have all the academics, reading, writing, arithmetic, and basically in similar form. The difference is we don't believe in chalkboards, and we don't believe in school as usual," she said.
Children sit at desks called offices, and work under the belief that school is their first job. And the school maintains a small population in an open classroom.
"That's part of my method or my madness," says Olaniyan-Greaux. "I believe children do better in small settings and open classrooms. It works to have them next to each other because they work at their own pace and at their own level."
Academics Enhanced works with behavioral challenges in children, including attention deficit disorder, hyperactivity and dyslexia. The school is set up for one-on-one learning. It's a Christian school, so morals, values and strictness are emphasized.
"Parents seem to be looking for that now," Olaniyan-Greaux said. "We get children who need behavioral changes. They need someone to say 'do it or else,' and mean it. Often times it works wonders in the life of a child. Children respect authority once they can't get around it."
The school has accepted students from every other school on the island, proving to Olaniyan-Greaux that conventional school does not always work.
"It's there for children who can work within that system. But when they cannot, there's another source. I know what I do and I know it works very well. Not everyone will come, but it will benefit anyone who does come."
As for the future plans of the woman who never dreamed she would be head mistress of her own school? She wants to expand.
"I have plans to build a campus and leave it as a legacy for the people of the Virgin Islands. I've developed something here that is a mixture of many different styles. It's one of those quirky things you can't give yourself any credit for," she said.
Academics Enhanced Incorporated School is located in Frenchtown in the second floor of the LaBelle Creole Building. For more information, call 776-4494.

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