Sunday, March 7th, 2021

Shopper Client Stories


Where children discover the joy of learning

by Cristi Sanchez

Dr. Shirley Auguste, Lead Educator at Jasaron Learning Center. Photos by Michele Thompson

Dr. Shirley Auguste, Lead Educator at Jasaron Learning Center. Photos by Michele Thompson

It's an all too common sight on any given school night: with papers strewn across the kitchen table, a weary child stumbles through an agonizing worksheet, perhaps as Mom or Dad offer coaching. Letters jumble on the page. Vision blurs. Whining commences. A painful hour passes, and the worksheet is finally completed. And despite getting mostly correct answers, what the child learned was to dread another school day.

Dr. Shirley Auguste wants parents to know it doesn't have to be that difficult. Homework is designed to be challenging yet doable for a grade level, and if a child is excessively struggling, it likely means there's a gap in knowledge. At Jasaron Learning Institute, the unhappiest child can discover a love of learning.

As an educator for 27 years, Dr. Auguste knows the demands that school makes on a young mind. As a mother of two, she also knows the effects of bullying, inattention, and poor chemistry with a teacher. She was working as a public school teacher when her own son Aaron confessed that he wasn't doing well.­ He was smart enough for the material, but circumstances discouraged him. As she coached Aaron through those difficult adolescent years (now he's earning a science degree), she realized his story was all too common. That put Dr. Auguste on the path toward helping children more effectively.

She moved up the ranks of public education, transitioning from teacher to administrator. Her techniques helped entire classrooms to meet academic benchmarks. Utilizing tools such as Bloom's Taxonomy Framework, she introduced hungry young minds to the power of critical thinking, with impressive results. Depressed children, as well as those with behavioral issues, often ended up under her wing. She taught her students, her peers, her own kids at home, her fellow parents, and herself. Meanwhile, she published affirmative books for young women, including an interactive personal workbook.

Children are engrossed in reading, math,
critical thinking, positive affirmation,
study habits, and more.
Parents are often amazed by the
improvement in a matter of weeks.

"When I found a new technique, I tried it on my children first. Sometimes they were skeptical," Dr. Auguste recalls with a laugh. "The tools I use today are tried and true. They've been proven to work in the classroom and the home."  

Wanting to give them the best leadership, she pursued more education for herself, culminating in a doctorate in education. That brought her to the role of principal. Dr. Auguste enjoyed leading a team of educators to improve morale and performance across the board. After successfully managing a school, she set her sights on the city level of serving on the school board. It seemed the next logical step in her career path, but fate intervened to remind her of her first love. A head injury landed her in physical therapy in the middle of the school board race. Dr. Auguste found herself with lots of time to think.

What she wanted most was to see a child smile from the joy of learning. With encouragement from her grown children, Dr. Auguste developed Jasaron Learning Institute. There she's able to bring all of her wisdom and knowledge into a face-to-face encounter with each student. Dr. Auguste doesn't merely tutor a student through their daily homework; she knows how the assignment fits within the school's curriculum, what the teacher is hoping to achieve, and how the student can learn the material. She encourages students as if they were her own as she guides them through the process.

"Children want to learn," Dr. Auguste emphasizes. She explains that children tend to put off assignments, stay home from school, or display resistant behaviors when they're frustrated. Even gifted children who feel bored in class can get fidgety when they're not learning. Dr. Auguste's institute connects each student with a personalized goal-oriented plan to empower students to take charge of their own learning journey.

With her animated voice and upbeat personality, Dr. Auguste quickly puts nervous children at ease. The cheery, colorful rooms at Jasaron provide the perfect setting for fun, yet rigorous, learning: children are engrossed in reading, math, critical thinking, positive affirmation, study habits, and more. Parents are often amazed by their child's improvement in a matter of weeks.

"Children who've fallen behind can get to grade level within two years. Even children already at grade level can benefit from moving ahead," Dr. Auguste describes. "Imagine how much easier homework time will be when a student is outperforming the material! Or perhaps a chance to take on extra college-prep courses which would have been too ambitious otherwise. We position our students for long-term success. We give them skills that can carry them to college and beyond."

"I love watching young people
progress toward their goals
I can give them tools to make their dream a reality."
 - Dr. Shirley Auguste

The first meeting with Dr. Auguste includes a one-on-one assessment. This reveals a student's actual performance level when working alone. Parents receive a detailed report on the student's capabilities, which often sheds light on homework behaviors. Based on these findings, Dr. Auguste develops a personalized set of goals to help the student reach grade level or above. Parents are also given ideas to encourage better academic habits at home.

Dr. Auguste asks for at least a seven-week commitment. For those who've fallen behind, it may take up to two years to reclaim grade-level performance, but the investment is essential to prepare a young person for a serious career path. Small group sessions twice a week work on the fundamentals in a safe, encouraging environment. Virtual sessions and after-school homework assistance are also available.

SAT, resume writing, and other services are offered to young adults. Dr. Auguste even offers life coaching. She aims to position every young person to be the happiest version of themselves. And whether or not they choose to finish college, she wants them to know they're intelligent enough to do so.

When she's not educating young people, Dr. Auguste can often be found writing motivational content, speaking at events, leading a church women's group, and engaging in community outreach.

"I love watching young people progress toward their goals," Dr. Auguste says with a smile. "Whatever path they choose, it should be their choice because it's what they want. I can give them tools to make their dream a reality."

Jasaron Learning Center

1400 Kempsville Rd Ste 105
Chesapeake, VA 23320