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 immediate family) must have a current membership of their local 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..."
Reflections 2022-2023 Theme:
"Show Your Voice!"
Reflections 2023-2024 Theme:
"I am Hopeful Because..."
To participate in the annual theme submission contest, visit the Texas PTA Theme Search Page. The winner gets $100!
Submissions for the contest are due in the Fall (usually early November), chosen and announced by the following June by National PTA. The theme contest winner for this Fall is used as the theme 2 years from now.
ARTS IN EDUCATION CONTACT
Council Arts Volunteer: Interest Form
Fill out this form each year to update the contact for your school.
También disponible en español: https://youtu.be/zcvc1B6KWnI
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 below from our Arts YouTube Channel then email email@example.com to get a copy of the digital form for accepting submissions. Also email to join our Google Classroom for Reflections to participate in Council submissions.
Digital Reflections Videos:
Coordinators: How to use the Google Form for Reflections Submissions
Students: How to use the form to Enter Reflections Digitally (share this video on your websites).
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 for Council will be submitted through our Google Form. Please refer to emails and the Google Classroom for more details on how and where to upload these entries.
Visual Art 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). That includes the typical process of entry preparation following Texas PTA rules and guidelines listed below.
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.
REFLECTIONS LEADER CHECKLIST
- A simple timeline for Plano PTA Reflections is available to save to your devices under Reflections Dates.
- A sample website you can copy and paste is available at PlanoPTA.org/ReflectionsSampleSite. This is for using as a template only so update the information to reflect your campus program.
- Here is an optional checklist by Texas PTA to follow with details.
- National PTA also has a local leader's guide with a lot of helpful information.
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 including setting a due date and advertising.
If you are new to Reflections, check out our YouTube video and check out more details here.
REFLECTIONS ENTRY FORMS AND RULES
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).
- Click here for guidelines per category and a single page summary including how to package submissions.
- Current participation rules and entry forms.**
- Logos, flyers and posters to download.
**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.**
ADVANCING ENTRY SPREADSHEET
Due November 30th 11:59pm each year
Download the Advancing Entry Spreadsheet here or through the Google Classroom.
*If you need assistance, first watch this YouTube video going through these steps*
- After judging at your school, record the awards for your campus.
- 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.*
- Make a copy of your original sheet.
- 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 Award of Excellence, the top 20% should advance. See more under Judging and Awards.)
- COMPLETE EVERY COLUMN. You need to confirm current PTA memberships with your membership chair before turning in the spreadsheet online.
- Save the Spreadsheet with your School Name in the title.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for the Council Reflections Chair.
DOWNLOAD REFLECTIONS CALENDAR
These dates are very similar every year so you can plan with your school and PTA.
The due date on your campus is up to you. It is recommended to choose a date no later than the 2nd week of November. Most schools have a due date the end of October or early November.
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.
*The due date on your campus is up to you. It is suggested to be no later than the 2nd week of November. Most schools have a due date the end of October or early November.*
- 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)
- Here is a sample website you can copy and paste then edit if you do not already have a Reflections page: PlanoPTA.org/ReflectionsSampleSite
- 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 or make a final push during October, Arts and Humanities Month.
- PROMOTION and CELEBRATION IDEAS:
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. The Reflections Judging Timeline shows the order and timing of judging beginning with your Local PTA Program.
- 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.
- It is recommended to keep the judges information private.
- 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.
- Examples: The choreographer would be the student on the entry if they submit a video of an ensemble, even if they are not dancing in the video
- If students sing a duet or collaborate by one playing the piano and the other singing, the student on the entry from is the one who wrote the song.
- 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.
- Students may and are encouraged to enter multiple entries in one or more categories. These are judged the same as if different students submitted the art.
- Judges should not know the names so students with multiple entries should not affect the final outcome.
- 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 (see below) then Art Category (Dance, Literature, Film, Music, Photography, Visual Arts). The Special Artist Division is separated, regardless of age, then put into groups for the art category.
- Age divisions are:
- Elementary: Primary (Grades PreK-2) and Intermediate (Grades 3-5)
- Middle School (Grades 6-8)
- High School (Grades 9-12)
- Special Artist (all grades) for students who qualify
SPECIAL ARTIST DIVISION
The National PTA Special Artist Division is an option for students with disabilities who receive services under IDEA or ADA: Section 504 to have the opportunity and accommodations they may need in order to participate fully in the program. The Special Artist Division offers modified rules and guidelines to ensure that every student has the chance to be part of the National PTA Reflections® program.
Special Artists have 2 options, but only one can be chosen:
- Option 1: Enter in Grade-Level Divisions. Regardless of age, students with special needs may enter in the grade division most closely aligned to their functional abilities. Students may not receive assistance other than that which is allowed for all children - Primary, Intermediate, Middle School or High School. Students are recognized and awarded as part of the general student population without regard to special needs or challenges.
- Option 2: Enter in Special Artist Division. Eligible students entering the Special Artist Division create their own artwork, but may receive non-artistic accommodation and assistance from an adult. Students are recognized and awarded as part of the Special Artist Division.
CAMPUS (LOCAL PTA) JUDGING
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.
- Usually 2-3 judges total is sufficient 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 approximately 1 week after your due date so you have time to let students correct any errors before advancing to Council. Usually the first or second week of November.
- Judging must be completed before the end of November when the Advancing Spreadsheet is due (Nov 30th each year).
- As a general guideline, 20% may be awarded to move on to the Council level if they meet the requirements (share this with your judges). This primarily applies to those schools with large numbers of entries.
- See Awards below for more information on guidelines for awarding.
- If your school has smaller numbers of entries you will end up sending more than the 20%.
- For example:
- If you have 12 total Primary Visual Art, 20% is 2.4 so round up to 3. If 5 of them are amazing, send them. It is a guideline for about how many should move on.
- If you have a large turnout with 50 Visual Art entries in one age group, then around 10 could potentially be Award of Excellence and sent on which is 20%.
- It is okay to send 1 more if it is Excellence even if it goes over the 20% number.
- If all of the entries are Award of Excellence, you'd need to choose the top entries instead of sending all, even if you have a total of 5 in the group.
- Art should not move on to Council if it does not meet the Excellence level; if there is one entry, it does not automatically qualify to move on. It must have received an Award of Excellence.
- Once judging is finished and awards are recorded, confirm that the Advancing art is properly prepared according to the rules and memberships are current for the school year.
- It is recommended that Visual Art and Photography are mounted onto foam core and/or matted.
- Often framing stores can affordably prepare the entries or have standard pre-cut mats that allow the student or PTA to prep the art in a professional manner.
- A simple black or white mat is best to keep the focus on the artwork.
- Using art bags that seal is good but not required.
- Wax paper or butcher paper is a good way to protect the art when stored or transported.
- If the entry was submitted digitally, it will need to be prepared and turned in physically for Council judging if it is Photography and Visual Arts.
- Dance, Film, Literature and Music must be uploaded to the Google Drive for Council using the Google Form.
DISTRICT (PISD COUNCIL PTA) JUDGING
- 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 Submissions 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 (see Awards below).
STATE (TEXAS PTA) JUDGING
Overall Awards from Council are shipped to State by January 15th then judged in February. State awards are announced by March 15th on their website and Facebook Page. 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.
NATIONAL PTA JUDGING
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. Students can be awarded with scholarships at this level! 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 Lynette@spiritpromotions.net
- Another option is PTA's online market with National PTA ribbons and certificates.
- Download a Certificate Template from our Google Classroom 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. See our celebration page with the current Overall Award of Excellence awardees and past celebration videos.
Only 50% of entries are awarded at Council so make a big deal of this accomplishment!
- 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. See our celebration page with the current Overall Award of Excellence awardees and past celebration videos.
- 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.