Announcements and Information
Tennessee PTA Reflections Chairman Vacant (email)
The PTA Reflections Program
PTA recognizes the many ways a quality arts education can benefit all children. The organization has set a goal to establish the arts as a basic component in the curriculum of every public school and to ensure that every child receives a quality arts education.
The Reflections Program is an arts recognition and achievement program. Students in preschool through grade 12 participate in the arts areas of literature, musical composition, photography, visual arts, dance choreography and film/video production. Age divisions are preschool through grade 2, grades 3-5, grades 6-8, and grades 9-12. The State Reflections Program allows five (5) entries for each art division per school. This is regardless of how many age divisions a certain school may have. Reflections provides a venue for students to create and be recognized for original works of art based on a pre-selected theme, while increasing community awareness on the importance of the arts in education.
The Reflections Program was established in 1969 by National PTA board member Mary Lou Anderson. Since that time, more than 10 million students have participated in the program. The program’s longevity and participation figures attest to its strength. The excitement and enthusiasm that the program generates for children, parents, schools, and communities is unmatched.
The goal of the Reflections Program is participation, not winning. Although the program follows a “contest” format, winning should not be the emphasis. Arts in education chairs should remember that all children are gifted and talented; the Reflections Program can give children who have never tried creating a work of art a chance to experiment and feel good about their work.
The National PTA Reflections Program is more than 40 years old. Ten million plus students have participated in the program since it was created.
How to Start a Reflections Program
Appoint a Reflections Chairman and a committee to administer the program.
Whether at the local, council, or region level, the job of the chairman and the committee includes the following:
Locating judges and setting artwork judging dates
Enlisting support from the school and parents
Publicizing and promoting the program
Communicating the rules and deadlines
Determining costs of program and funds available
Arranging a lunch and/or small thank-you gift for the judges
Returning artwork to students
Developing a Reflections calendar that includes the following: Entry deadlines, potential judging dates and locations, exhibit sites, awards ceremony dates, date to contact local paper, date to send selected entries to the next level (council or state)
Working with next level of PTA (council or state) to determine deadlines and how many works will advance
Establishing recognition for participants such as an exhibit and/or awards ceremony.
Make sure students have a copy of and understand the rules of the program. Parents, friends, and teachers may not assist a student in the creation of the work. Artwork must be the original creation of one student.
Gain support. The Reflections Program offers the opportunity to showcase the importance of the arts in education. The program enhances a school’s art program by giving students a sense of achievement and recognition.
To enlist school and parent support, you should do the following:
Talk to your school principal and teachers to explain the value of the Reflections Program.
Arrange to talk to staff members at one of their meetings.
Decide with your teachers and the principal whether the Reflections Program should be created at home or at school.
Make sure parents get involved in the program early. Hand out information or letters to parents.
Planning your Budget
The following are some of the costs your program may incur:
Shrink-wrapping of visual arts or photography works/mounting and matting
Shipping top entries to State Office in Nashville
Prizes or Certificates
Lunch for judges
Gifts for judges (small thank you)
Exact costs depend on the number of participants. The National PTA encourages you to ask local businesses for in-kind contributions to the program. Try to prepare a formal request and consider including the National PTA Reflections Program information so they understand the scope of the program. Be sure to give them credit in any written information you publish.
Distribute Reflections Program information to parents.
Set up an orientation/information meeting. Distribute informational handouts. Ask a representative from another area PTA who has worked with the program to speak. Hand out your state rules and your local deadline.
Set up a “get started” workshop for participants. You may want to discuss the theme, but always leave room for individual interpretation. Provide basic art supplies and rules.
Give your teachers copies of rules, and tell them that Reflections works can be created within the classroom, if desired, or at home.
Use community and school bulletin boards to promote the program.
Print literature entries from the previous year’s program to encourage participation.
Play musical composition entries at a school function and/or display entries from previous year’s program.
Collecting, Storing and Exhibiting Artwork
Find a place where students can submit their entries, possibly some place at the participating school.
Check to make sure that each entry is eligible for judging. Each entry should meet the size and art medium requirements specified. Leave a “grace period” of a week for students who may have misinterpreted the rules to adjust their works.
Try not to let students know their works were “disqualified” unless a parent pursues you for an answer. It could discourage a student from further artistic endeavors.
Create a list of participants’ names, age divisions, art areas, and addresses.
Try to display all participants’ entries in the school hallway or in a community forum such as your community center, local library, bank or a business. Try to display the works some place where parents can view them after regular working hours.
Locate a safe place to store the artwork.
Establish a return policy.
Make sure that all participants are recognized, including those with artwork advancing to another level. You may want to have a ceremony at a school assembly, an in-class presentation, or a PTA function. This can encourage future participation. Students see their peers enjoying the program and look forward to participating themselves. You may want to do the following:
Include an article in your PTA newsletter or school newsletters.
Send congratulatory letters.
Set up a lunch or dinner party for the participants with the PTA president and/or school principal or teacher.
Hold a “show and tell” day for young participants to discuss their entries.
Have students read their literature work, display visual arts and/or photography entries, show video of dance choreography or film/video production entries, and invite students to perform their winning musical
Acknowledge anyone who supported the program including parents, staff, volunteers, and community members.
Announce the names of the participants over the school public address (PA) system.