Guidance to Successfully Participate
Film Guidance (PDF)
Literature Guidance (PDF)
Music Guidance (PDF)
Photography Guidance (PDF)
Visual Arts Guidance (PDF)
Goal of Participating in the Reflections Program
All children deserve opportunities to explore and be involved in the arts. The arts play a critical role in students’ success in school and beyond, enhancing their reading and language skills, mathematics skills, thinking skills, social skills, motivation to learn and positive school environment.
Since 1969, the Reflections program has inspired millions of students to reflect and create original artwork. Top entries from Maryland Free State PTA Reflections contest advance to National PTA for the final round of judging. National PTA awards are announced each May.
What is the Reflections Program?
The National PTA Reflections program is PTA’s cornerstone arts program. It offers students the opportunity to earn local, county, state, and even national recognition for original artwork they create in response to a specific theme.
Students who participate in the Reflections program get an opportunity to explore the arts and culture, develop their creative thinking, and recognize themselves as artists. This year’s entries should reflect upon and interpret the theme: Show Your Voice.
Age Divisions Available at FRES:
ð Primary Division: Grades PreK – 2nd
ð Intermediate Division: Grades 3rd – 5th
ð Special Artists Division: Students with Disabilities as defined by the ADA may choose alternative participation options. The two options include:
Option 1: The Special Artist Division is an optional division of the Reflections program accepting students in all grades whose physical, cognitive or mental health challenges meet guidelines set forth in the Americans with Disabilities Act. Qualifying students create their own artwork but may receive non-artistic accommodation and assistance from an adult. PTA will honor Special Artists in their own special division; winners will advance in the Special Artists divisions.
Option 2: Students who qualify for the Special Artist Division may choose instead to enter in one of the traditional age divisions follow all general age division rules and arts category rules but may submit their entries in the age division most closely aligned to their cognitive or functional abilities. These students are recognized and awarded as part of the general student population, without regard to special needs or challenges.
Needed Family Support
Families can support their children’s participation by:
1. helping them register and then review the rules for participating in Reflections
2. creating time and space for students to work on their entries
3. providing encouragement and needed materials
4. volunteering to support the Reflections Program.
Entries should represent students’ unique creativity—adults are welcome to encourage students but are asked not to assist in any way with their interpretation of the theme or artistic expression. Appropriate assistance and accommodations for Special Artists is allowed.
Format Rules for 2022-2023
· All final entries will need to be submitted electronically
· Dance Choreography and Film Production entries must be submitted in MP4, MOV, or AVI format.
· Music Composition entries must be submitted in MP3 or WAV format.
· Photography and Visual Arts entries must be submitted in JPEG, JPG or PNG format.
· Literature and scores as required for Music Composition must be submitted in PDF format.
The following additional guidelines apply to student entries:
· Each entry must be the original work of one student only.
· A student may develop an entry inside or outside of the school.
· A student may submit entries in more than one arts area and/or multiple entries in a single arts area.
· Each student entry must be accompanied by a student entry form, signed by a parent or guardian. This form can be found in the appendices to this document.
· Student entries MUST include a title and an artist statement, which communicates the artist’s inspiration for the work and how it relates to the theme. The statement must describe the content and be at least 10 words but not exceed 100 words.
Student privacy and safety are always a top priority! Only the following information about each piece will be displayed:
· Title of Work
· Artist’s first name and last initial
· City and state of school
· Arts area and grade division
The judging process has two goals:
1. To determine which student entries will advance to the next round of judging. (from FRES to the Howard County Program)
2. To identify specific recognition. All PTA Reflections program entries will be judged on artistic merit, creativity, mastery of the medium, and interpretation of the theme.
“Mastery of the medium” refers to the level of skill the student demonstrates in the basic principles and techniques of the arts area. However, a well-developed concept is more important than technique. Entries should be judged primarily on how well the student uses his or her artistic vision to portray the theme.
Occasionally, entries submitted to the Reflections program are ineligible. The most common reasons for ineligibility are plagiarism and resubmission. Originality is very important in being successful in Reflections. All entries will be scanned and checked to ensure they are original and have not previously been submitted to Reflections or another art competition.
· Only one student may be recognized for each entry; collaboration with other students is not allowed. Other individuals may appear in or perform a student’s work, but the work itself— the dance choreography, film production (i.e., screenplay, camera work and directing), or musical composition (i.e., written score and any lyrics)—must be the creative product of one student alone.
· The artwork must be inspired by the current year’s theme and created expressly for the program. Artwork produced before the dissemination of theme or used for another competition or program may not be submitted.
· Use of copyrighted material is generally prohibited in the literature, music composition, photography, and visual arts/3D categories. This includes the use of copyrighted cartoon characters, copyrighted material from the Internet, advertisements or advertising ideas, musical themes from existing copyrighted compositions, copyrighted recorded music, copyrighted photographs, or stock images.
· Use of copyrighted music in dance choreography and film production entries is acceptable when the title, composer, and performer of any music in the submission are cited on the student entry form. Film productions, photography, and visual art/3D may include public places, well-known products, trademarks, or other copyrighted material, as long as that copyrighted material is incidental to the subject matter of the piece and is a smaller element of the whole.
· Visual arts collages may include portions of existing copyrighted works, such as portions of photos, magazine clippings, internet images and type cut out of a newspaper, as long as those pieces of copyrighted works are used to create a completely new and different work of art. A collage should be judged for its whole—not its parts—and its creativity as an original work of art.
· Misuse of the above materials constitutes plagiarism—taking and using another’s words, ideas, or inventions as one’s own.