Submitted by Joan Scovic, Cultural Arts Director
Reflections is the National PTA Arts program that encourages children to create works of art in six different arts categories. The program has a different theme each year, and the theme for the 2014-2015 school year is “The World Would Be A Better Place If…”
Each local unit PTA received a flash drive with the Local Unit Packet (LUP). Among the plethora of information provided by Illinois State PTA is a section devoted to the Reflections Program. These files are also available online for download here.
One of the documents included with this information is the quick start guide. This one-page overview of the program provides helpful tips for offering the Reflections program in your school. This month’s article will revolve around how you can “familiarize yourself with the Reflections program” and “setting a due date and creating your flyers.”
Familiarize Yourself with the Reflections Program
There are six arts categories: Dance Choreography, Film Production, Literature, Music Composition, Photography, and Visual Arts. The LUP contains copies of the rules for each of these arts categories.
There are four age divisions: Primary (Preschool to Grade 2), Intermediate (Grades 3-5), Middle School (Grades 6-8), and High School (Grades 9-12).
In addition, there are two methods that can be used to submit artwork created by special artists. Children with special needs can enter in traditional age divisions. Qualifying students follow all general and arts category rules, but receive accommodation to submit Reflections entries in the grade division most closely aligned to their functional abilities. Alternatively, Special Artists can enter through the Special Artist Division. The Special Artist Division is non-graded and limited to students whose physical, cognitive, or mental health challenges meet ADA guidelines. Qualifying students entering this division create their own artwork in any category, but may receive non-artistic accommodation and assistance from an adult.
Children can create as many works of art in as many categories as they like.
Finally, one of the best ways to learn more about the program is to participate in one of the National PTA Reflections 101 Webinars. These webinars explain the program, how to promote Reflections in your school, judging the projects, and recognizing your students. The webinars are free – sign up for one today using the following registration links: September 9, 2014, October 14, 2014.
Setting a Due Date and Creating Your Flyers
Each local unit sets their own due date. As a local chair, you just need to provide yourself with enough time to promote the program and collect the artwork from your students at the beginning of the year. Then, once you have the artwork, be sure to leave enough time to package it all, check the paperwork, judge the projects if necessary, and meet your next deadline. Check with your local unit PTA president to find out the next level of the program in your area: Council, District, or Region. Follow the due dates set by that chairman.
The LUP contains several flyers that you can customize with your own contact information and due date. You can also create your own flyers.
Promote the program at all of your back- to- school events, during orientation events, ice cream socials, meet the teacher days—any event that includes your families! Set up a table and share the news about how the arts help children and then encourage participation in the Reflections program. Utilize your newsletter, website, backpack mail, morning announcements, social media—any outlet that will help spread the word! You will be amazed at how creative our children can be!
If you are on Facebook, please take a look at the new Illinois PTA Cultural Arts Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/ilptaarts. This page will include information about a variety of cultural arts topics, along with updates, reminders, and tips to help you build a successful Reflections program at your school this year.
Best of luck getting your program off and running this year! If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.