Reflections  (Arts In Education)


The arts—and the National PTA Reflections program—support student success and serve as a valuable tool for building strong partnerships in your school community. Celebrate arts learning in your school community with Reflections.


National PTA Reflections welcomes all grades 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. 


Reflections 2020-21

Theme: I Matter Because...


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


Facebook Group: PISD Council of PTAs Arts in Education

YouTube Channel: Arts & Reflections Videos

Council Arts Volunteer: Interest Form

Arts in Education Calendar:

End of Year: Arts Chair Info Form


Looking for more info about Arts in Education? Check out that page here!


A timeline for Plano PTA Reflections is below under Reflections Dates.


Here is an optional checklist by Texas PTA to follow as you run Reflections at your campus.


National PTA also has a leader resource guide to use.


These checklists offer step by step instructions if you’d like to use them. You get to run the Reflections Program at 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 scroll to the bottom for details.


Some schools hosted digital submissions for Reflections 2020 and many will continue to for their local program. Check out the how-to videos on our Arts YouTube Channel and email to get a copy of the digital form. National PTA also has some ideas on how to run Reflections digitally for your local school. Go HERE for info.


Dance, Film, Literature and Music have the option of USB or uploading to the designated Google Drive folders.


Visual Arts and Photography will be turned in for Council judging so that items can be shipped to Texas PTA for State judging. Please plan and communicate this with your families. Even if your campus hosts Reflections digitally, you will need to drop off these entries. See the dates below for details.


*Entry forms, Rules and Resources are available through Texas PTA and are updated each year.

You can direct families to these guidelines including how to package their submissions.

Here is a summary of each category to share with families. They can type directly into these forms then print out and sign.


You can see the current and full list of participation rules and entry forms. Update your website so families have access to all the info they need to participate.


All you need to know about Reflections is here on our website and on our YouTube Channel, but check out these sites for more details:

National PTA Reflections

Texas PTA Reflections*


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



Advertise Reflections & Plan

  • Communicate with your school about Reflections
  • Update your campus website with the current rules and entry forms (or links to the TX PTA resources)
  • Set a due date for submissions (usually end of Oct or early Nov see below); consider other events when planning (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.
    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


Find Judges

Contact local creators, art teachers or art chairs from other campuses to be judges at your campus. Judging is usually 1 week after your Campus due date. (Scroll to the bottom for more about judging)


SEPTEMBER 13th-17th, 2021

National Arts in Education Week

Celebrate the Arts during the National Arts in Education Week. (See above for ideas)



Fall Roundtable Chat - DATE COMING 2021

Arts in Education Round Table discussion via zoom



National Arts and Humanities Month 

All month long you can celebrate the arts and have art-related events to promote Reflections.



PTA Eligibility Deadline

Your PTA must be in good standing by October 31st to host Reflections. Confirm with your PTA President.


Also, someone in the student’s household must be a current PTA member for this school year to participate in Reflections. If their PTA is not active, they can join the Lone Star PTA no later than October 31st for the student to be eligible to participate. If your PTA is in good standing, your campus can determine the deadline for membership (which can be after this date). Art that is advancing to Council must have a current PTA membership so your campus deadline should be before they go to Council.



Art due at your campus

Set a due date by early November for students to turn in art at your campus. This gives you time to get the art judged (approximately 1 week after the due date) and prep any advancing art to be entered in the Advancing Spreadsheet. Many schools are using a digital form to gather the entry form information into the format for the Advancing Spreadsheet.


If you’d like a copy of the digital form, please email



Art judged at your campus

About 1 week or so after your due date, local artists and creators judge the entries by category. (Scroll to the bottom of this page for more info on judges and the judging process.)


NOVEMBER 30th 11:59PM

Reflections Advancing Spreadsheets Due


Advancing Entry Spreadsheet

*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. 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. 
  3. Make a copy of your original sheet.
  4. 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.)
  5. 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.



Prepare certificates and ribbons for your local Reflections results and celebrate the students in some way. Some schools will have a section of the Dec School Spirit Rally or special event such a pizza lunch.


Themed ribbons may be purchased through our local vendor, Spirit Promotions for quick turnaround. Another option is the Shop PTA's online market. Download a Certificate Template for easier printing (available on Texas PTAs Reflections site). This is NOT required but recommended - celebrate the best way that fits your campus and PTA budget.


Prepare physical art to be judged at the Council level. Only the Advancing Award of Excellence items are turned in for Council. See the rules for each category to confirm the art has been prepared correctly.


DECEMBER 7th *Tuesday*

Advancing Art Drop Off

Complete the drop off/pick up form below to choose a timeframe (refer to emails for details)


Reflections 2021 Art Drive-Thru Form


DECEMBER 8th *Wednesday*

Reflections Judging (No visitors)

Art is judged by local professionals


DECEMBER 9th *Thursday*

Artwork Pick Up

Pick up art (refer to the form above)

Overall Award of Excellence items will remain with Council for Texas PTA judging in February



Final Results

You will receive an email with spreadsheets of the final results from Council judging. Details are included below regarding awards. About 50% of entries will receive an award. Please visit our celebration page for updates on results and awards ceremonies.




MID-DECEMBER (Or in the Spring)


Plan a celebration of your local students who entered Reflections. Ask your school if their art can be shared on a slideshow or morning announcements, have a pizza party, add their art to the yearbook, display their work at the school, or anything else you want to do! Have fun and support the creative kids at your school!



OAEs Go To State

Entries that receive an Overall Award of Excellence are prepped for State judging. Only 1 entry per age division and art category (no more than 30) will advance to Texas PTA judging.



Texas PTA Judging

Emails are sent out with results from State judging as soon as they are available. (typically by the beginning of March)



National PTA Judging

After Texas PTA judging is completed, art is then sent to National PTA for judging. This is very rare as hundreds of entries are sent and only a small percentage will be awarded at the State level.



Council Awards Ceremony

Students who received an award at the Council Level will be recognized at a celebration event hosted by the Plano ISD Council of PTAs. Invitations with details will be sent out through inter-campus mail and dispersed to each student. We also celebrate any Texas PTA or National PTA awards at this event.


Art that is shipped to Texas PTA is then shipped back after judging is completed and may not return before the end of the school year.



End of Year Transition and Training

Arts in Education Chairs who are not returning to the position will pass the baton to the next chair. Please fill out the form below with updated information to stay in communication with Council.


All new and returning chairs are invited to a May training session to go over summer plans and prep for the Fall.



Before summer or during, share the new theme with your school and work with your local PTA to plan events.




See the Texas PTA Reflections site - Leader Resources for ideas and info regarding judging how-tos.

  • 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.
  • Age divisions are:
    • Elementary Primary: K-2 and Intermediate: 3-5
    • Middle School: 6-8
    • High School: 9-12
    • Special Artist (all ages) for students who qualify
  • Entries are divided into Age Division then Art Category.
  • Judges base decisions on the artist statement explaining how well the concept fits the theme, mastery of the medium (or how well students used the materials) and the overall creativity. *A well developed concept is more important than technique.*
  • 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.
  • Your campus may only need 2-3 judges depending on the total number of entries.
  • Council has 3-4 judges per art category since 300-500 total entries are submitted across Plano ISD


  • **Art prizes, certificates and ribbons are given to top entries!**
  • Ribbons and certificates will be given for the following awards (a percentage of entries receive awards):
    • Award of Excellence (blue ribbon)
    • Award of Merit (red ribbon)
    • Honorable Mention (white ribbon)
  • Council Award of Excellence entries are usually on display in the spring until the awards ceremony in April.
  • Many schools have their own award ceremonies, pizza parties, feature art in the yearbook, have art prizes, gift certificates and anything else relevant to your program.

What’s next:

  • Local Award of Excellence entries (or top 20%) advance to Plano ISD Council of PTAs judging in December every year.
  • If the entry was submitted digitally locally, it will need to be turned in physically for Council judging, especially Photography and Visual Arts.
  • A small percentage of entries are awarded at Council; then one entry per age and category (no more than 30 total) advance to the Texas PTA State level. From there, they may move on to the National PTA level.
  • 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) 1 per age division and art category (no more than 30)
    Award of Excellence (Blue) 10% of the entries, OAE are chosen to move on to State from this group
    Award of Merit (Red) 15% of the entries
    Honorable Mention (White) 25% of the entries
  • Overall Award of Excellence entries are chosen from the Award of Excellence group, so not all Award of Excellence will get the Overall award.
  • Those entries are shipped to Texas PTA so they may not be returned until the end of the Spring semester.
  • Students advancing past Council have chances to win monetary prizes for their art!
  • Plano PTA Council of PTAs hosts an awards ceremony each year in April for students who participated in the Council level judging where they get ribbons and other prizes.
  • Any awards from State judging by Texas PTA are also celebrated and awards are given by Texas PTA and their sponsors like Whataburger. Some students are invited to the awards ceremony in Austin.