Education, Latest News, Preston County

Aurora School doing well, parent upset at police interaction

KINGWOOD — This year, Aurora School is working to continue the great work that has already been done.

That’s what principal Mandy White told the Preston County Board of Education at its regular meeting Monday evening. 

The school won first place with its float in the Buckwheat Festival, White said. The float and school band will participate in the Autumn Glory Festival, which is held in Garrett County, Md., this week.

The school’s library, with the help of a school of isolation grant last year, has updated furnishings and more current titles for books, White said. There is a new barcode system and the art teacher painted the library to make the space more inviting. There are plans to keep updating with a new circulation desk and more seating. 

Academics at Aurora School are going well. White said Aurora had the highest growth in the county in math and second highest in reading scores. 

“Additionally, 59% of our kids had improved placement and reading and 65% of our students had improved placement in math,” White said.

The middle school offers enrichment classes for students who need extra instruction and the elementary grades offer guided reading and math groups to help students improve, White said. The school is also in the process of starting a learning lab for students who have fallen behind. 

BOE member Jeanne Dreisbach asked White about the learning lab. 

“The kids will come in, anything they’re struggling with, we would be able to sit down and have someone help them with,” White said. That lab will function one day a week and will allow the kids to catch up on missed work and instruction time. 

Superintendent Stephen Wotring said White, who started as principal about two weeks before school started, really hit the ground running. 

He said the learning lab sounded “fabulous” and the idea of catching students up is crucial because it’s so easy for a student to never catch up once they fall behind.

“And so I think that sounds awesome,” Wotring said.

The board also heard from Rodney Zinn, who said the police were called on his son because he refused to wear a mask. Zinn has been at multiple board meetings this school year in opposition of mask mandates. He said last year wearing a mask caused multiple health problems, such as headaches, nosebleeds and coughs, for his son and it’s his choice as a parent if his son wears a mask or not.

Dreisbach said she knew Zinn’s son when asked and agreed he was a good kid. 

Zinn told The Dominion Post he was called by the school and told to come pick up his son, who is a freshman at Preston High School. He refused and said his son sat in the office the rest of the day rather than getting an education. The school resource officer, a sheriff’s deputy, talked to his son and Zinn said he thought that was bullying.

“Is that the school we’re going to run now? That what we’re doing now?” Zinn asked. “We’re gonna kick kids out, not gonna give them an education, and then we’re gonna call the police when they don’t, they don’t conform to your rules and your laws? That’s what we’re doing now. Because that’s what happened.”

He told the board he was “done.” 

You know how a dog does whenever you back it in the corner?” Zinn asked. “My ass is touching wall.”

Zinn left the meeting room after speaking before returning to watch the rest of the meeting.

Board President Jack Keim and board member Bruce Huggins were not at the meeting. Wotring said Keim was scheduled to not attend and Huggins had a family medical emergency.

TWEET @DominionPostWV