National PTA Reflections Program
The Reflections Art Program has been bringing the arts to life for more than 10 million students since 1969. Reflections encourages students of all ages to:
- Unleash creative talents and be inspired
- Express themselves imaginatively in their artwork
- Experience the fun and joy of making art
- Tap into critical-thinking skills to create art inspired by the annual theme
- Receive positive recognition for their original works of art.
What is the National PTA’s Reflections Program? Very simply, it is a creativity contest to promote the arts in education.
This annual program encourages ALL students to 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.
The arts can positively affect the entire school culture—especially student motivation, attitudes, and attendance—which encourages students to stay in school, succeed in school, succeed in work, and succeed in life! Watch the video below for an overview. This is an excellent video to share on social media.
46 Ways To Support Student Learning In The Arts
National PTA “Our Children” Magazine December/January 2014
Quanice Floyd (Baltimore County PTA Council Reflections Coordinator) and Ethan Clark
National PTA’s Reflections program was founded by Colorado’s State PTA President Mary Lou Anderson that recognizes Pre-K through grade 12 students for their participation in the literary, visual and performing arts. Anyone who has ever been to their child’s music performance or art exhibit knows for a fact that recognition is key. Students will gain confidence and interest in their own learning.
Try these 46 ways to support student learning in the arts based on the National Standards for Family- School Partnerships. Welcoming all families into the school community—Families are active participants in the life of the school, and feel welcomed, valued, and connected to each other, to school staff, and to what students are learning and doing in class.
1. Join the PTA and volunteer to support PTA arts projects.
2. Organize a family arts day with local arts organizations.
3. Greet parents at back to school night and activity fairs to promote PTA volunteer opportunities.
4. Invite parents to volunteer at student exhibits and performances (decorating, greeting, ushering, selling refreshments, stage assistance, etc.)
5. Host a talent show for students and their families.
6. Host a PTA Reflections celebration event. Visit PTA.org/ReflectionsToolkit for a leader’s guide. Communicating effectively— Families and school staff engage in regular, two-way, meaningful communication about student learning.
7. Collaborate with arts teachers and school leaders to share ideas on how to support arts education programs/activities.
8. Collaborate with arts teachers and learn how to support your child’s learning at home.
9. Host a student artist reception and facilitate introductions at back to school night and during activity fairs.
10. Invite families, school staff and community arts leaders to student exhibitions and performances.
11. Volunteer in your child’s arts classes. Supporting student success— Families and school staff continuously collaborate to support students’ learning and healthy development both at home and at school, and have regular opportunities to strengthen their knowledge and skills to do so effectively.
12. Recognize young artists’ participation and achievement at an awards ceremony.
13. Coordinate additional learning experiences such as in-school assemblies or out of school field trips to local arts museums and cultural learning centers.
14. Establish an arts scholarship at your school.
15. Encourage school leaders to volunteer at a fundraiser supporting afterschool arts activities.
16. Host a fundraiser to support arts education programs/activities.
17. Ask for in-kind and monetary donations from your local partners and businesses.
18. Apply for an arts enhancement grant. Visit PTA.org/Awards to apply.
19. Collect box tops for education to benefit your school’s arts programs.
20. Discover local, regional and state arts agency grant opportunities. Speaking up for every child— Families are empowered to be advocates for their own and other children, to ensure that students are treated fairly and have access to learning opportunities that will support their success.
21. Promote traditional and nontraditional art forms to celebrate diversity and inclusion.
22. Discover arts resources for students with disabilities at PTA.org/ReflectionsToolkit.
23. Offer the PTA Reflections program Special Artist Division to students with disabilities.
24. Take a National PTA e-Learning course at PTA.org.
25. Learn about current issues and solutions at a state PTA and National PTA training event.
26. Start an arts education committee at your school.
27. Publicize school arts events and performances by inviting local news outlets.
28. Serve as your school’s PTA leader in education with resources provided at PTA.org.
29. Host a PTA creative youth development arts project by partnering with youth development services and specialists in your school community. Sharing power—Families and school staff are equal partners in decisions that affect children and families and together inform, influence, and create policies, practices and programs.
30. Coordinate a young artist showcase at a school board meeting.
31. Report arts programs successes to school leaders and state your PTA’s position on arts education.
32. Stay informed about arts education policies by subscribing to the National PTA Takes Action Network.
33. Collaborate with your school’s literary, visual and performing arts teachers to develop a shared vision for your child’s learning.
34. Write a letter to the editor, school blog post or social media message about your PTA’s support for arts education.
35. Collaborate with other organized parent groups across grade levels and in neighboring schools. Collaborating with community—Families and school staff collaborate with community members to connect students, families, and staff to expanded learning opportunities, community services and civic participation.
36. Host career fair for families to learn from expert artists in their community.
37. Invite local arts and cultural institutions to participate in school-based activities/lessons.
38. Discover and promote additional arts offerings in your greater school community.
39. Take a trip to the library—libraries have amazing story-telling and creative writing programs.
40. Showcase student artwork in public areas around your community.
41. Discover and promote creative youth services that use arts activities for whole child support.
42. Invite community leaders and business owners to arts events at your school.
43. Invite professional artists to collaborate with students at an exhibition/performance.
Top Three Ways:
44. Learn more about the National Standards for Family-School Partnerships; visit PTA.org.
45. Lead a National PTA Reflections program for your school. Visit PTA.org/Reflections for more information.
46. Share your creative ways to support arts learning in your school on social media using the hashtag #StartTheArts.