PTA Great Idea Bank

A resource for PTA and parent involvement project ideas

Would love to use the Great Idea Bank to share ideas on how folks handle their Reflections programs:
Making it easy for school based chair to understand and implement a process from promoting to collecting art work
Getting schools to participate - chairs and teachers on board
Finding judges for school and council level
Recognizing students who advance to next level
Showcasing artists at Council level
Financial support for program for things like ribbons and small gifts of recognition
Nancy Cox

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I would also love to see some discussion on this. I would like to see our participation increased. This past year we only had around a dozen entries out of our K-5 school.
I will make sure our Reflections Program Director Chantay Carter provides some guidance here. Also, be sure to check out www.ptareflections.org. The site will feature a gallery of winners. Should be ready soon.
Hi -thank you and we will look foward to hearing from Ms. Carter but I really am excited to hear from folks "in the trenches" so to speak as it has not always been easy to help school based PTAs to embrace Reflections and even if the leadership wants to make it happen, finding a committee chair and dedicated members is another hurdle. Unfortunately, art teachers also need convincing. One concern expressed by Art teachers has to do with the competition aspect. I have worked hard to ally this concern. One strategy that has worked is using the following verbiage, "The entries selected at the school level move onto distrct to represent your school and showcase your student body's collective talents and enthusiasm for the arts." Same thing when we move entries from Council to state level, "These entries will represent Durham at the State level and showcase the collective talent, creativity and enthusiasm for the arts expressed by all students who participated in the Districts Reflections program." This seems to help - the intent is to create a team spirit with the school cheering on their representatives and the district cheering on our representatives at state level. This way, if we have entries selected to represent state - it is a win for our community and the individual child. Finally, the rules are stringent and prevent quite a few folks from participating. It is a never ending goal to try and streamline the process for the families, the individual school and for us at the Council level.

I am toying with adding a production component i.e. an opportunity for students at Council level to showcase their work. live with the actual selection of which entries will represent Council at the next state level happening at the live event. I am thinking of this because I believe it would add excitement for students to participate. Because our number of entries has been small, we have been able to showcase live performances and display of visual arts at an evening event that mainly attracts the families of the student. My thought is that a production with the thrill of finding out who will move on to next level as part of the event, would encouage a wider audience and make it more of a community event. We would have a selection committee (notice I did not use the word judge) choose the entries to represent the district at the next level of state selection. Has anyone done this? I am working to figure logistics - i.e. to have a manageable number of live performances, maybe we could just invite the top entry from each category at the school level to participate but still, of course, recognize at Council level, the 18 (3 per category for middle and high) and 36, (3per category per age level primary and intermediate from elementaries). Any help here would be great.
With everyone so busy you are going to do it best by overlapping some uses of this event. First - start with an email / letter to teachers introducing it and why it is important. DO NOT GIVE THEM thousands of copies and expect it to go anywhere. Just a hint. Then do a family / school night where you explain all the rules ONE TIME and then folks can request which forms they want copies of- have runner handy to go make them and print them on one sheet of paper. The easier it is conveyed they easier it will be welcomed. Once you have given all the handouts to everyone - let them know there will be a workshop for questions and making plats for the art work within 3 weeks. Be sure to pre-fill any repeated info on handouts prior to photocopying... (school info, id #, etc) (All art has to be a certain or smaller size.) Once you have these huge areas taken care of it gets lots easier. Students have a visual of how big or small they need to make their project and have asked everything first - not later or too late. We recognize anyone that participates by a luncheon with the principal and to turn in their art (who would miss the opportunity?). Then we have several college art students, HS art students and some peer art students review and select our REPRESENTATIVE ART. Then it goes to state, then national if you are lucky. Once this is complete - we provide gas money for winners to attend the award ceremonies wherever they may be. When we get the art back we post it at the Board Office and let folks in the community view it as we let the papers know we have a new year display.
Good luck!

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