For many years, students at George Washington Middle School in Lyons, which serves the southeast quarter of Brookfield, took a life skills class as part of their regular rotation of exploratory classes. 

But the class was eliminated this summer after the teacher who taught it chose not to come back to work after having twins. The plan was to replace the life skills rotation with Spanish, but the school could not manage to hire a Spanish teacher after looking over the last half of the summer. 

As a result, this year there is no Spanish class and no life skills class at GWMS. Former Lyons School District 103 school board member Joanne Schaeffer said she believes it was a mistake to eliminate the life skills class, which taught useful skills and was popular with students.

“We don’t have classes because kids like them, but they learned how to balance checkbooks — money coming in money going out — they learned how to do laundry, they learned how iron, they learned how to sew and they learned how to cook minimally, at least to be familiar around the stove,” said Schaeffer, who has a grandson in eighth grade at GWMS and a great granddaughter in seventh grade.

Currently the exploratory class rotation at GWMS includes art, music, STEM, computer skills and health.

Superintendent Kristofer Rivera, Curriculum Director Darek Naglak and GWMS Principal Joshua Dakins did not return calls asking for comment.