Reflections

Welcome to the 2020-2021

PTA Reflections Art Contest: I Matter Because…


What is Reflections?

National PTA Reflections is a program designed to recognize student creativity in the arts. It’s more than just an art contest: it’s an opportunity for students to express themselves creatively and find meaning and connections in their communities. 

All entries must be the product of the participating student’s creativity. The program is designed to encourage each student’s individual creativity, help from an adult (except in the Special Artist Division) is not allowed.

Students of all ages and abilities may participate in Reflections. Each grade division only competes against other entries in the same grade division.


Grade Divisions

  • Primary: Preschool – Grade 2
  • Intermediate: Grades 3 – 5
  • Middle School: Grades 6 – 8
  • High School: Grades 9 – 12
  • Special Artist: All grades welcome

Arts Categories


Special Artists

The Special Artist Category is designed to allow participation by students who, due to disabilities, cannot participate in the program without assistance in the form of accommodations. 

Students who identify as having a disability have two ways to enter the National PTA Reflections® Program. All students may enter in only one division.

  • 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. The divisions are as follows: Primary (preschool – grade 2); Intermediate (grades 3-5); Middle School (grades 6-8); High School (grades 9-12). 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.

Reflections How To

Here’s what you’ll need to start your Reflections Program:

  • Click here to sign up for the Reflections reminders mailing list. Anyone from your PTA can get the emails.
  • Check that your Local PTA is in good standing and has completed their tax forms, submitted membership for at least 20 members, updated Bylaws and Standing Rules. PTAs not in good standing with Texas PTA are not able to participate in Reflections.
  • Submit a Plan of Work to your local PTA board to detail what you plan to do and how much money you will spend. 
  • Set a date for your local PTA Reflections Contest deadline.
    • Leave time for your judging and recognition events as well as preparing your top 20% from each category and grade division to be delivered to Council PTA by November 15 – 19. Please keep physical Art work on hand should entries advance and be needed at the state level.
  • Put up posters, distribute flyers, and advertise your event to students and teachers! 
  • Distribute Rules and Forms to Artists https://www.txpta.org/reflections-participation 
Student Program RulesEnglish | Spanish
Student Entry Form  English | Spanish
  • Purchase prizes, ribbons, or other recognition for artists.
  • Schedule an awards event or art display to recognize the artistic contributions of your students. Remember to CELEBRATE ALL artistic creations even the ones that don’t win a prize. If you have your recognition event after you turn in the top 20% to council make sure you take a photo before turning them in. 
  • Find some judges for your contest. These can be teachers, community members, or anyone who understands about art.
  • Collect your artwork and verify One PTA Member per household for artwork entered in the contest. Your Membership Chair can help with this! 
  • Prepare your top 20% in each category and grade division for judging at the Council Level and email your submissions to your Council Reflections Chair. For more information click here.

Getting Started – Reflections Online

How To Packet

Setting Up Your Online Reflection Portal


Reflections Deadline & Awards Ceremony Dates

Council Upload due November 20th by Midnight (12am)

Prepare your top 20% in each category and grade division for judging at the Council Level and email your submission to your NISD Council Reflections Chair. For instructions on how to submit to Council please click here. **You will only send on your campus’s top 20% of entries in each category – just the Awards of Excellence** Please recognize the creative contributions of all artists at your campus.

At the March 2021 Delegate Meeting

  • Artwork, Participation Ribbons, and Invitations to the Awards Ceremony will be available before, during, and after the March Council Delegate Meeting. Please arrange for someone to pick-up your packet.

At the April 2021 Delegate Meeting

  • The Council Awards Ceremony. Artwork that receives an award of Honorable Mention, Award of Merit, or Award of Excellence from the Council level of judging will be recognized at this awards ceremony.

Promoting Your Local Contest

Resources to promote your PTA Reflections Art Contest

  • You can use the NISD Resource Room to make posters or color copies for PTA at very low cost!
  • Check out our Arts in Education Council Google Drive! Lots of forms and posters, sample plans of work, etc.
  • Texas State PTA rules, posters, and images are here. Student Entry forms are here.
  • National PTA call for entries video here.
  • Want more help? Check out the National PTA e-learning course for Reflections here.

To spark your creative ideas, these are some ways other schools have done PTA Reflections:

  • A Spirit Monkey Spirit Stick could be used for participation prizes.
  • A kick-off event
    • A Reflections Spirit Night at a local restaurant with all the proceeds funding your local prizes
    • A Family Art Night  celebrating creativity and introducing the forms of art accepted in the art contest: Visual Arts, Photography, Literature, Music, Dance, Film, and Special Artist. You can have a local photographer giving tips about framing, get high school volunteers to teach dance, set up some play dough and invite parents to download stop motion software onto their home devices, etcetera.
  • Have a poster and flyers in the classroom for meet the teacher night.
  • Have an activity station at your back to school night or kick-off night!
    • set up some crayons and have a coloring contest.
    • set out some random objects that might represent heroes and let kids take still-life photos with their phones
    • Have a photo-op with a frame that says “I Matter Because…”
    • Ask the computers teacher to show parents the software students can use on school computers to create movies.
  • At the staff lunch before school starts, present the theme to the teachers and encourage them to have “early finishers” work on their projects in class.
  • Provide a laminated flyer or two that teachers can use as a “station” during rotations.
  • Meet with your campus art teacher and encourage them to practice writing Artist’s Statements for the work they do in class.
  • “Write about looking within” is a great prompt for ELA teachers to free-write during class.
  • Meet with the Special Education Team and encourage them to enter students in the Special Artist category.

Judging Your Local Art Entries

Reflections Judging in Seven Easy Steps

Step One: Identify and recruit Volunteers and judges to help you with your Reflections program. Remember that it’s best to have judges who are not closely affiliated with your campus.

Step Two: Verify eligibility of all entries received, including National PTA arts category rules and Texas PTA membership requirements. It’s important to be proactive in working with families to resolve any eligibility concerns prior to judging.  

Step Three: Host your Reflections judging. Guidelines and suggested Scorecards are available for download. Council PTAs and Regional Coordinators should follow these judging Guidelines.

Step Four: Download and complete the Advancing Entry Spreadsheet.

Step Five:  Following judging, complete the appropriate participation summary for your judging level.
School PTAs: Local PTA Participation Summary 
District PTAs advancing to state-level: Council PTA Results Summary (Available in December)

Step Six:  Advance entries to next round of judging by the published deadline.

Step Seven: Celebrate your students and Volunteers! Themed ribbons and certificates may be purchased through Texas PTA’s online market (Available in October). Download a Certificate Template (Available in October) for easier printing!


Celebrating All Artists

Celebrate your Reflections Art Contest

First of all, pat yourself on the back because you encouraged Art on your campus! Even if you got zero submissions to the Reflections Art Contest, you sent a message to the school that art is important and that what students have to share is meaningful. Thank you for doing that.

Ideas for recognizing Artists at your school:

  • Recognize every artist. Reflections does participation awards because every student, regardless of ability, created and shared a meaningful experience with others and that is worth celebrating.
  • Showcase all art at a school event. Combine with your choir or strings program for an Arts Night and display the entries.
  • Do a virtual art show and have a website or Facebook display.
  • Put up the art in the library and invite parents and classes to stop by.
  • Show art on the screensaver on campus computers.
  • If your campus has video announcements, show art on the announcements.
  • Purchase ribbons or print certificates for each entry.
  • Texas PTA Reflections ribbons and certificates are now available! Consider sharing with a nearby campus to save on shipping costs. https://s-t-a-r-co-op.myshopify.com/collections/reflections-materials
  • Celebrate all artists on your campus–even the ones who didn’t win a prize.  Take a photo of all the winners and display it or put it in the yearbook.

Council Judging – Round Two!

Is your campus ready to submit your top 20% Reflections artwork to the NISD Council PTA round of judging? We are excited to see the amazing work your students have created! Please send us the top 20% from each category in each grade division + Special Artist. It is ok to round up the 20%, especially in categories with few entries: like Dance, Music, and Film.

Forwarding Online Submissions to Council


Other Arts in Education Program Ideas

Want to try an Arty Party or Creative Career Fair? 

Maybe you want to have a reflections kick-off spirit night at a restaurant that gives a % of sales, then use that donation to fund prizes for your local Reflections Art Contest?

Click here to sign up.

National PTA Resources

Thank you for supporting art at your campus! 

Jenelle Reed

NISD Council of PTAs Arts in Education Chair

2020-2021

NISD.PTA.Arts@gmail.com