The site plan has been approved, trucks are prepping the more than 30 acres of land at 500 W. 3900 North, and Aaron Barth has been named principal of the third middle school in Lehi. A new school means shuffling boundaries and more than a few broken hearts, but Barth is ready to take on the challenge of unifying students under a new roof.
The new middle school, temporarily called Micron Middle School because the land for the school was donated by Micron 10 years ago, will not open until Fall 2021. Barth will spend the 2020-2021 school year as a principal without a school, working out of an office at Lehi Junior High and getting to know the students there. Although the boundaries haven’t been set, the school will likely serve students who currently attend Lehi Junior High. LJHS has seventh and eighth grade now, with ninth-graders attending Skyridge High School. The new middle school will have seventh-, eighth-, and ninth-graders.
“Right now, I’m a faculty of one,” Barth said. “It’s OK because there’s not that much to do yet. In August and September there will be more planning and shaping a vision and coming up with my ideals for a culture. Then we’ll slowly start to bring people onboard.” Alpine School District has a hiring time frame Barth will follow, starting with secretaries and staff, then adding teachers and PTA.
“This is a different kind of split,” Barth added. “Skyridge will be losing their ninth-graders, which means some of those teachers will be available. Willowcreek’s boundaries will shift and some of those students will now be attending Lehi Junior. With Willowcreek’s numbers dropping, teachers from there will maybe come to the new school. We’re using three schools to make a fourth.” Discussion of boundaries will start before this school year is over in committees, ultimately set by the school board.
Barth has been at Willowcreek Middle School in Lehi for three years. He and his family moved to Lehi right after he graduated from BYU, and he was an assistant principal at Lehi High School before coming to WMS. “I love Lehi,” he said. “It’s a great community. I want to make sure we continue the positive traditions of Lehi at this new school. Right now, the junior highs are bursting, and I hope this will be a breath of fresh air.”
“We have such good values that exist at the family level in this community. It’s fun to interact with these students and just know we’re sort of chasing for them to be the best version of themselves. I want to help continue and build upon that,” Barth continued. “I think junior high-age kids are the most fun. I love making connections with them every day.”