Reflections

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Reflections Arts Program

Explore the Arts and Express Yourself

National PTA has a long-standing commitment to arts education. The Reflections program provides opportunities for recognition and access to the arts which boost student confidence and success in the arts and in life.

Each year, over 300,000 students in Pre-K through Grade 12 create original works of art in response to a student-selected theme. This 50+ year-old program helps them explore their own thoughts, feelings and ideas, develop artistic literacy, increase confidence and find a love for learning that will help them become more successful in school and in life.

Categories and Divisions

Students participate in the appropriate division for their grade: Primary (Pre-K - Grade 2), Intermediate (Grades 3-5), Middle School (Grades 6-8), High School (Grades 9-12), Special Artist (All grades welcome).* 

Students submit their completed works of art in one or all of the available arts categories: Dance Choreography, Film Production, Literature, Music Composition, Photography, Visual Arts.

Film

Film Production


Music

Music Composition


Visual Arts

Visual Arts


Dance Choreography

Dance Choreography


Literature

Literature


Photography

Photography


*Students who identify as having a disability and may receive services under IDEA or ADA: Section 504 may enter in the Special Artist Division or grade division most closely aligned to their functional abilities.

The 2023-2024 Reflections theme:
I am Hopeful Because...

I Am Hopeful Because...

Registration is now closed for the 2023-2024 I am Hopeful Because... Reflections program. Thank you for letting us know that you're participating in Reflections! 

Special thanks to Alice Meko of Hampton Cove Elementary School in Alabama, who submitted this year's Reflections theme.




Frequently Asked Questions


Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about the National PTA Reflections program.


General Questions
What is the Reflections program?

The Reflections program was founded by Mary Lou Anderson in 1969 and provides students an opportunity for recognition and access to the arts which boosts student confidence and success in the arts and in life. Each year, students in pre-K through grade 12 create and submit original works of art in response to a student-created theme selected through the annual Reflections Theme Search Contest.

Based on state PTA rules and guidelines, art is submitted and may advance from the local PTA level up through district/region/council and state PTA competitions to the national level for awards and recognition opportunities.

What art categories and divisions are available in the Reflections program?

Students participate in the Reflections program in the division for their grade: primary (pre-K to grade 2), intermediate (grades 3-5), middle school (grades 6-8), high school (grades 9-12) and special artist (all grades welcome). Students may submit in the categories of dance choreography, film production, literature, music composition, photography and/or visual arts.

However, submission and category guidelines are determined at the state PTA level and may vary by state. Please review your state’s Reflections website or contact your state PTA office for category guidelines and related questions.

What is the special artist division?

In 2012, the special artist division was created through collaboration between a PTA volunteer committee and arts professionals with expertise in disability advocacy in the arts. The division offers modified rules and guidelines for students with disabilities, who may receive services under IDEA or ADA: Section 504, to participate in the Reflections program. Students may enter the grade division most closely aligned to their functional abilities and be recognized and awarded prizes as part of the general student population OR they may enter the special artist division and be recognized and awarded prizes as part of this division.

For specific questions, refer to your state’s Reflections website to ensure that you are participating in the program per their requirements.

What is Reflections registration, and how do I do it?

By registering your participation in the Reflections program, you are helping National PTA show the reach and impact of the program. Registration is separate from participation.

Registration opens April 1 at PTA.org/Reflections and runs until Feb. 1 of the following year. Due to the high volume of registrants, please note you will not receive a confirmation email.  

What do the national Reflections award winners receive? When will you announce the awardees?

State-winning Reflections submissions that advance to the national level go through two rounds of review by esteemed arts professionals across the country. Through the review, over 200 student Reflections participants are selected for recognition with the following awards from National PTA: Award of Merit, Award of Excellence and Award of Outstanding Interpretation. The national awardees are announced on May 1 and are celebrated throughout the following calendar year. 

Learn more about the awards and prizes offered to national level winners by National PTA at PTA.org/ReflectionsAwards.


Participation Questions
How can I/my student artist participate in the Reflections program?

Students are eligible to participate according to the requirements set by their state PTA. Students or parents interested in participating in the Reflections program should begin by connecting with their local PTA.

Not sure if your school has a PTA? Ask your school administration or use this Find My PTA Lookup Tool to contact them. If you need further support or if your PTA does not support the Reflections program, visit your state’s Reflections website to understand what options for participation may be available to your family.

What are the deadlines to participate?

Each state PTA determines its own process and deadlines for Reflections submissions, so deadlines vary by state. Begin by connecting with your local PTA, and for further support visit your state Reflections website to find specific submission timelines and participation guidelines.

Does National PTA require PTA membership to participate in the Reflections program?

The Reflections program is an opportunity made available to students through local PTA units. Students are eligible to participate according to the requirements, including membership, set by their state PTA. National PTA does not accept individual entries.

Contact your state PTA office with eligibility questions and visit your state’s Reflections website for details to understand what options for participation are available to your family.

What are your guidelines on copyrighted materials?

The intention of the Reflections program is to encourage and showcase original artwork created by the student in response to the annual theme. Use of copyrighted material is not acceptable, and entries cannot establish association between the student and a trademark/business/material. Software may not provide the primary design of an entry and may only be used to enhance and/or present the work.

For specific questions regarding copyrighted materials, refer to your state’s Reflections website to ensure that you are participating in the program per their requirements.

Can a participant submit Reflections artwork created with a friend?

National PTA will recognize only one student as the award recipient for each entry, and they should be the primary creator of the piece—specifically, the interpretation of the theme and the execution of the piece. For specific questions regarding eligibility, refer to your state’s Reflections website to ensure that you are participating in the program per their requirements.




How to Participate 

Local PTAs

Individuals Connect with Local PTAs


Students or parents looking to participate in the Reflections program should connect with their Local PTA. Find your local PTA here: Find My PTA.




State PTAs

Local PTAs Follow State PTA Guidelines


PTAs looking to host a Reflections program should reach out to their State PTA. As Reflections is a state-run program, Local, District, Region and Council PTAs should implement the program based upon the specific forms, deadlines and guidelines which are required by their State PTA. Connect with your State PTA Reflections Program.




National PTA

State PTAs Connect with National PTA


State PTA Reflections leaders should reach out to National PTA to become part of the State Reflections Network to support their Local, District, Region and Council PTAs through the Reflections program. Student winners from the State PTA level have the opportunity to advance to the national level for recognition and awards.   





Get Inspired by Reflections

Be Inspired!

Watch and share our 2023-2024 Reflections Call for Entries video to inspire your PTA community to participate in the I am Hopeful Because... Reflections program.

Watch and Learn

Watch this short Reflections introduction video to learn the basics of the program. Use #PTAReflections to share this video and get your school community excited about Reflections!


Celebrating 50+ Years of Reflections

Explore 50+ years of the Reflections program and learn about the impact Reflections has had on students, families and communities since the program was founded in 1969. Enjoy the program's timeline and share your experience with Reflections using #PTAReflections!

From Art to Exhibit

Student winners from the local level have the opportunity to move up through their district, region, council and state PTA programs to the national level. National Reflections winners are announced in May and celebrated throughout the following year. Visit our awards page for information about and artwork from our national winners.  





 



Questions?Questions?

Contact your State PTA Reflections Program, your State PTA or email Info@PTA.org.



Reflections Navigation


Find tools to run your Local PTA's Reflections program.

Learn about our winners, events and exhibits and see what you can win!

Explore ways your PTA can advance and advocate for arts education.