Playtime: Staying on top of school alerts, plus fun events this weekend (weather permitting)

Ahead of the half day on Friday, Feb. 8 — prompted by the impending storm — I got a call at my house, call on my cell, text, email, and a push notification from the Edmonds School District app. This is on top of a flurry of additional messages today about both after school sports and a cancelled school event Friday night. Thankfully, one of the school-related messages I got today was an email from the district explaining I could use “Skylert,” a tab found in Skyward Family Access, to update my preferred method(s) of contact. They also sent to a step-by-step guide to finding it in Skyward, which you can access HERE.

This will allow you to choose which alerts you get — attendance info, school news, food service information, snow days, and more — and which medium you choose to receive them. While this is so much better than sitting by the radio hoping to hear your school’s name, which was necessary on my snow days in the mountain town I lived in for part of my childhood, I clearly need to update my preferences. While I’m good with being reached on multiple channels for something like a snow day, attendance or bus delay/lockdown information, our family doesn’t currently need the same level of access for after-school sports updates.

Earlier this week, the login page of Skyward Family Access, our district’s website for access to student info including report cards, had a note with new, extended dates to expect report cards — Feb. 6 for grades 7-12 and Feb. 8 for K-6. The middle and high school due dates, first and second, have come and gone for our middle school, with the front desk saying to expect his on Monday. I have heard that MTHS got their report cards, but have heard differing reports from friends with kids in elementary school on when they were told they would have access to their student’s report cards. M youngest came home promising he would get his “Friday or Monday.”

Assuming this upcoming snow “event” — and its associated robo-calls — allow for it, there are a couple of really fun, FREE events this weekend in Edmonds.

Saturday, Feb. 9 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Cascadia Art Museum “invites families to a creative Children’s Valentine Workshop.” “Valendoodles” is a free event featuring a special Valentine art activity that will send happiness and goodwill for Valentine’s Day and beyond. Children and their parents, grandparents or friends will learn about drawing unique patterns to embellish traditional Valentine designs and either color them at the workshop or later.

This drop-in workshop will be led by Mona Fairbanks, celebrated artist and educator, who noted: “Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be only one day a year. Taking the time to create elaborate Valendoodles for a loved one to color at their leisure makes for double the pleasure!” During this workshop, children, their friends, and caregivers, can also view the current museum exhibit, Painters of the Northwest: Impressionism to Modernism, 1900-1940, a visual introduction to Northwest history and art. I have been to this museum a couple of times on Art Walk Edmonds and have enjoyed it each time. The gift shop is full of fun stuff, and you are just steps from a very tasty French Dip at 190 Sunset. For more information, you can visit

Also on Saturday, Feb. 9, there is Great Backyard Bird Count Training with Dr. Alan Mearns at the Edmonds Demo Garden at the Willow Creek Hatchery, 95 Pine St. From 10 a.m to noon, organizers promise you can learn all about the 2019 annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) and receive training that will get you ready to participate in the count, which runs Feb. 15-18.

“First timers, beginning birders, families and kids and others who want to brush up on their backyard bird identification skills will benefit from this workshop and have fun,” organizers said. “The training will include time to practice outdoors so bring your binoculars and learn about the birds you may see in your own backyard.”

While this event is free, donations are greatly appreciated and help cover operating and education costs. There is free parking on Pine Street and for those with limited mobility, there is parking in the Hatchery Parking area down the driveway on the right hand side of Pine Street. For more information and to get on their email list for future events, visit (programs,) contact, or call 425-771-8165.

While this next event is not this weekend, it is FREE and a great local resource. On Wednesday, Feb. 13, the Edmonds School District is holding a community event in support of their LGBTQ+ students, family and community. It’s at Meadowdale Middle School from 3 to 8 p.m. This year’s theme is “Love and Loving Thyself” and all families, students and staff are invited to come to this FREE training. At the event, you can: learn how to create and support a safe place for LGBTQ+ students, learn about gender diversity, listen to stories of families and students, and also learn about advocacy and being an ally. You can register and request interpretation for this event HERE. You can also contact Sally Guzman at 425-431-4267.

Jen Marx

— By Jennifer Marx

Jen Marx, an Edmonds mom of two boys, is always looking for a fun place to take the kids that makes them tired enough to go to bed on time.

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