Reflections Art program


National PTA Reflections welcomes all grades (Pre-K to 12th) and abilities to explore and be involved in the arts. Annually, thousands of students will reflect on a common theme and create original works of art in the categories of dance choreography, film production, literature, music composition, photography and visual arts.


Students (or a member of their family) must be members of PTA to participate. Multiple entries into any or all of the categories is allowed and encouraged. Students' work is judged at the local campus, with the opportunity to advance to Council, Texas and National PTAs. Scholarships and prizes are available for top entries!


Reflections 2021-2022

Theme: I Will Change the World By...


To participate in the annual theme submission contest, visit the Texas PTA Theme Search Page.

Submissions for the 2023-24 contest are due Fall 2021 and chosen in June 2022 by National PTA. The winner gets $100!


Facebook Group: PISD Council of PTAs Arts in Education

Council Arts Volunteer: Interest Form

Arts in Education Calendar:

End of Year: Arts Chair Info Form


Check out the Arts in Education page with more info about the arts including other art contests to share with your campus!


Some schools accepted digital submissions for Reflections 2020 and many will continue to for their local program in the following years. Plano PTA Arts has created some ways to make the process more streamlined for your coordinator and students.


Check out the how-to videos on our Arts YouTube Channel and email to get a copy of the digital form for accepting submissions.


National PTA also has some ideas on how to run Reflections digitally for your local school. Go HERE for info.


For 2021 Council judging, Dance, Film, Literature and Music have the option of submitting through USB or uploading to the designated Google Drive folders for your school.


Visual Arts and Photography will be turned in physically for Council judging. Even if your campus hosts Reflections digitally, you will need to drop off these entries in person during the designated drop off day and time (second week of December each year). If an entry advances to state, we will make arrangements based on the Texas PTA Reflections guidelines. Please plan and communicate this with your families.




These checklists offer step-by-step instructions if you’d like to use them. You get to run the Reflections Program on your campus the way that is best for your school. It is very flexible as long as you follow the rules and due dates for Council, allowing you to use your own creativity to promote and run the program. If you are new to Reflections, check out our YouTube video and check out more details here.



Texas PTA updates the entry forms every year. Please use the current entry forms from Texas PTA (which is different than the National PTA entry form).

**Before you share the entry form pdf, you can edit it to add your information at the top then save it for your campus to use. This will save you from having to write it out by hand for Council judging. Students may type directly into the form. It must be signed; digital signatures are accepted.**



Due November 30th 11:59pm each year

Download the Advancing Entry Spreadsheet here 


*If you need assistance, first watch this YouTube video going through these steps*

  1. After judging at your school, record the awards for your campus.
  2. Use the spreadsheet linked above from Texas PTA.
  3. *If you used the digital form for students to upload their art, the Google form creates a spreadsheet automatically in the order of the one linked above. There are still columns to fill out regarding membership and your contact info.*
  4. Make a copy of your original sheet.
  5. On the copy, include ONLY the information for entries advancing to Council and confirm membership for these entries. (If you have a large number of AOEs, the top 20% should advance.)
  6. COMPLETE EVERY COLUMN. You need to confirm current PTA memberships with your membership chair before turning in the spreadsheet online.


Whether your campus participated in Reflections or not, Texas PTA asks that you fill out this "Local PTA Reflections Participation Summary” form. It will ask you to upload your copy of the above spreadsheet with ONLY the Award of Excellence entries that are advancing to Council.


It will automatically email a copy to Plano PTA Council Reflections Chair. Enter your information for the campus Reflections Chair and for the Council Reflections Chair.




These dates are very similar every year so you can plan with your school and PTA.

Subscribe to the arts calendar for updates and reminders to your devices.

(You can copy this image to your device for quick access)



Be creative in getting the word out to your campus. Start in the summer to get dates set. Try to keep the due date the same each year when possible.

  • Communicate with your school about Reflections during the summer and start of the Fall semester.
  • Update your campus website with the logo and theme, current rules and entry forms (or links to the TX PTA resources)
  • Confirm the due date (usually end of Oct or early Nov)
  • Consider other events when planning (for example, don’t overlap with science fair or other large projects when possible)
  • Contact your PTA for budget information to know what you can spend toward the Arts Programs and find community sponsors for your school who support the arts.
  • Plan for art related events to promote the arts and the Reflections program, potentially during the National Arts in Ed Week in the middle of September.
    Art night with art stations Talent show Performance night with local artists
    Art related scavenger hunt Share fun art facts Advertise in morning announcements
    Advertise in e-newsletters Virtual art night or painting party Art rewards for entries 
    Contest between the teachers Teachers offer bonus points Flyers and posters around school
    Social Media posts Share local artists’ stories Schedule “How to” and Info Meeting



See the Texas PTA Reflections Leader Resources for ideas and info regarding judging how-to's and the Texas PTA Judging Guidelines pdf. The National PTA local leader's guide includes a judging rubric and guidelines you can refer to and use.

  • This is not technically a contest. It is truly a program hosted by PTAs (local, council, state and national), run by volunteers, created to give students a forum to explore the arts and expand their interests and talents.
  • Entries are judged by local professionals volunteering their time and talents.
  • Judges base decisions on:
    • Interpretation: how well the concept "reflects” the theme in the artwork and the artist statement
    • Creativity: overall creativity and originality related to the theme
    • Technique: skills and techniques used, how well students use the materials
  •  *A well developed concept is more important than technique.*
  • One student per entry.
  • Students are individually judged on their entry and not in comparison to the other students so there can be multiple awards given within the groups.
  • There is not a “first, second, third” place type of rating. It is based on the 3 areas of judging above.
  • Entries are divided into Age Division then Art Category (Dance, Literature, Film, Music, Photography, Visual Arts).
  • Age divisions are:
    • Elementary: Primary (Grades K-2) and Intermediate (Grades 3-5)
    • Middle School (Grades 6-8)
    • High School (Grades 9-12)
    • Special Artist (all grades) for students who qualify


Judges can be anyone who is an advocate for the arts. You can use art chairs, teachers or parents as long as they are able to judge without bias of any kind.

  • Begin contacting judges in September with a specific judging day in mind.
  • Your campus may only need 2-3 judges total depending on the total number of entries.
  • Keep a similar due date each year when possible, end of October or early November.
  • Choose a judging date a minimum of 1 week after your due date so you have time to let students correct any errors.
  • Judging must be completed before the end of November when the Advancing Spreadsheet is due (Nov 30th each year).
  • 20% may be awarded to move on to Council level if they meet the requirements (share this with your judges)
  • Art does not have to move on to Council if it does not meet the Excellence level; just because there is one entry does not automatically qualify it to move on.
  • Once judging is finished and recorded, confirm that the Advancing art is properly prepared according to the rules and memberships are current for the school year.
  • If the entry was submitted digitally, it will need to be turned in physically for Council judging, especially Photography and Visual Arts.
  • Drop off the Advancing art to the Council judging location the second week of December.


  • Council Judging is the second week of December every year.
  • Tuesday is art drop off, Wednesday is art judging, Thursday is art pick up.
  • Complete this form by Dec 5th to sign up for drop off and pick up times: Reflections 2021 Art Drive-Thru Form
  • Council has 3-4 judges per art category (20-24 total judges) to judge 300-500 total entries submitted across Plano ISD.
  • Judges follow the same guidelines as above but a smaller percentage are awarded at the Council level.


Overall Awards from Council are shipped to State by January 15th then judged in February. State awards are announced on March 15th. It is very rare to receive an award at the State or National PTA judging. Here is a list of Texas Awards and Recognition. Advancing entries are sent to National PTA by March 1st.


Some items sent to State are then sent on to National judging. National awards are announced in May. Here is a list of National Awards and Recognition. Items are shipped back to Council when all judging is completed. This may be the end of the spring semester. If art is awarded, it is kept for display and may not be returned for 1-2 years.



Now that judging is complete on your campus, it is time for celebrating! **Art prizes, certificates and ribbons are given to top entries! (Varies per campus coordinator)**

  • Awards at the campus level:
    Award of Excellence (Blue ribbon) 20% of entries, these entries advance to Council
    Award of Merit (Red ribbon) 20% of entries
    Honorable Mention (White ribbon) 30% of entries
  • Optional: Participation (green ribbon) may be given to all entries just for participating in Reflections on your campus whether they receive an award or not.
  • Order ribbons through our local vendor for fair pricing and quick turnaround: Spirit Promotions
  • Another option is PTA's online market.
  • Download a Certificate Template from Texas PTA or make your own using the downloadable logos.
  • Many schools celebrate with award ceremonies and parties, feature art in the yearbook, display the art at the school, give art prizes, gift certificates and anything else relevant to the program.
  • You can involve teachers with contests for them to win and encouraging them to incentivize the students (no grades for submissions).
  • Please refer to the PTA rules when giving gifts. Cash prizes are not allowed at this time.
  • Celebrate the best way that fits your campus and PTA budget...remember: this may change the course of a student’s life.


Once the Council level judging is completed, it is time for more celebrating! It is truly an honor for the student to represent your campus PTA and they should be celebrated. Only 50% of entries are awarded at Council so make a big deal of this accomplishment!


See our celebration page with the current Overall Award of Excellence awardees and past celebration videos.

  • Local (Campus) Award of Excellence entries (or top 20%) advance to Plano ISD Council of PTAs.
  • The Texas PTA judging rules state only a small percentage of items can be awarded at the Council level:

    Overall Award of Excellence (Blue with white ribbon) 1 per age division and art category (no more than 30)
    Award of Excellence (Blue ribbon) 10% of the entries, OAE are chosen to move on to State from this group
    Award of Merit (Red ribbon) 15% of the entries
    Honorable Mention (White ribbon) 25% of the entries
  • Overall Award of Excellence entries are chosen from the Award of Excellence group, 1 per age and category.
  • Not all Award of Excellence will get the Overall award.
  • Overall AOE entries are shipped in January to Texas PTA so they may not be returned until the end of the Spring semester.
  • Texas PTA judging is in February.
  • National PTA judging is in March.
  • Council Award of Excellence entries are usually on display in the spring until the awards ceremony in April (with exception of the OAE that are shipped).

Plano PTA Council of PTAs awards ceremony is in the Spring each year for students who participated in the Council level judging.

  • Invitations are sent to students and chairs through campus mail or via email.
  • Students are given ribbons and other prizes.
  • Any awards from State judging by Texas PTA are also celebrated.
  • When possible, the National PTA awardees are also highlighted.
  • Students who are awarded at State are given awards by Texas PTA and their sponsors like Whataburger. Some students are invited to the awards ceremony in Austin which is always a well-run event worth attending.