Monday, November 18, 2013

Reflections - Frequently Asked Questions

Please refer to the Reflections User’s Guide where Rules and Guidelines for each category are detailed. Below are some frequently asked questions.

How do I contact the WSPTA Reflections Chair?
The WSPTA Reflections chair is Virginia Muniz. You can reach her at or phone: 360-403-9731

Where do we send our entries?
If your local unit is part of a council, contact your council Reflections chair to find out where and when entries should be delivered. A local unit which is a part of a council cannot send entries directly to WSPTA. Non-council local units may send entries directly to the WSPTA.

How many entries can we send to WSPTA? 
Non council local units may forward up to a total of 18 entries if special artist entries are included or up to 12 traditional entries if no special artists are included, to be considered for the State PTA competition.

What is the Reflections Listserv?
The Reflections listserv is a networking tool to help connect Reflections chairs at all levels with each other and with the WSPTA Reflections chair. The WSPTA Reflections chair posts reminders, changes and up-to-date information on the listserv. Questions are asked and answered, ideas and information are exchanged, complaints are addressed, encouragement is always available. All Reflections chairs are strongly encouraged to join the listserv by contacting the WSPTA office.

What is the Reflections theme?
The Reflections theme is “Believe, Dream, Inspire”. The theme is determined by National PTA. Students may submit theme ideas by using the Reflections Theme Entry Form available on the WSPTA website under the programs/Reflections page. The next theme will be announced in early spring.

What is the deadline for submitting Reflections entries?
Each local unit and council sets its own deadlines. If your local unit is part of a council, the local unit must submit entries to the council by its deadline so plan your program accordingly. Contact your council to find out its deadline. The deadline for a council or a non-council local unit to submit entries is Tuesday, January 21, 2014. The deadline is a deliver by or postmark by date.

How do I know if my local unit is part of a council?
Contact your PTA president, region director, or the WSPTA office.

Who can enter the Reflections contest?
Reflections is a National PTA arts contest open to students in grades preschool through 12th grade. Although membership in a PTA is not required to enter the contest, a Reflections program is a benefit of attending a school where there is a PTA. Students must enter the Reflections contest through a local unit (school) PTA in good standing. A local unit PTA may, but is not required to, accept entries from students who do not attend it's particular school (i.e. home schooled students, students from schools where there is no PTA). Students who do not attend a PTA school but wish to enter Reflections should contact the Reflections chair at a grade-equivalent school PTA in their school district to ask if their entry will be accepted by that PTA. PTA councils, Washington State PTA nor National PTA may not accept a Reflections entry directly from an entrant.

Where can I find Reflections forms and rules?
Reflections forms and rules are available on the WSPTA website under the programs/Reflections page. Some forms are password protected. Contact the WSPTA office for instructions to access password protected forms. Please use ONLY WSPTA forms. Your local unit and council presidents were provided with a Reflections User’s Guide in the Leadership Packet. If you have not received the User’s Guide, please ask your president or download it from the WSPTA website.

Why does the PTA box on entry form ask for two PTA ID numbers?
Your PTA has both a National PTA number and a WSPTA number. Your local unit president and/or secretary can provide these numbers to you. Your National PTA number is an 8-digit number that usually starts with zero. Your WSPTA number is divided by periods in between 3 sets of numbers. For example, 2.12.123. Both numbers need to be included on the entry form.

Do children have to sign the entry form?
Yes. The entry form must be signed by the submitting student (even if it’s just a printed first name) and the student’s parent/guardian. If the student is at least 18 years old, only the student must sign.

What does “sturdy backing” mean for visual arts and photography entries?
This means that the entry must be mounted in a way that it cannot be folded, rolled or bent. Acceptable backing includes corrugated cardboard, foam board and thick mat board. Poster board and construction paper are NOT acceptable backing materials. Entries not mounted on a sturdy backing may be disqualified. An entry that is surrounded by a mat but is not backed to prevent folding, rolling or bending may be disqualified.

How should film and dance entries be submitted?
Film and dance entries must be submitted on a CD/DVD and the entry MUST be saved as a FILE on the CD/DVD. This means that when the disc is inserted in a computer the entry shows as a file that the viewer must open. If the disc is inserted in a computer and the entry starts playing without the viewer opening it, the entry is not in a file format. Entries not saved as a file, may be disqualified. Judges view entries on a computer, not on a TV/DVD player. No video tapes are accepted. Submit the required number of copies indicated in the Rules and Guidelines.

What are the recommendations for quality recordings?
  • Make the room you record in as quiet as possible. Close windows and turn off all noise-making devices in the room (air conditioners, fans, telephones, etc.). ----Do not place the recording devise on top of an instrument or speakers.
  • Do not record at too loud a level (in the red zone on the meter) or too soft a level (meter barely moving).
  • Record a short test and listen to it while watching the meter. If needed, improve recording quality by changing the record volume or microphone location.
  • Return to the beginning of the CD and record two seconds of silence; then start performing your composition. Finish with another two seconds of silence.

Can more than one person create and submit the same entry?
No. Only one person can submit the entry.

How many entries can one student submit?
Your local unit or council should make this decision. WSPTA does not set these limits.

Why are there so many rules - isn’t Reflections a program to encourage students to be creative?
Reflections does encourage creativity, but it is an art contest. Like all contests, there are guidelines, rules and deadlines. National PTA requires state PTAs to submit entries to the final level of judging following specific rules and guidelines. WSPTA requires that entries submitted at the state level follow the same rules and guidelines National PTA requires. At the local unit level, you are free to accept and award entries that do not meet the rules and guidelines. You should not, however, submit entries not in compliance with the rules and guidelines to the next level.

If we have entries that make it to the state level, how and when will our entries be returned? 
WSPTA and NPTA return only visual arts and photography entries. Please keep a copy of all other entries. Entries that do not win awards at the State level are returned to your region director at the WSPTA Annual Convention in April. It is the region director’s responsibility to distribute the entries to their councils and/or local units. If you have not received your entries back by the end of May, please contact your region director (contact information available on the WSPTA website under the regions tab). Entries winning awards at the state level are returned following the awards ceremony to their owners or to council or region directors if the award recipient is not present. National may keep the entries for up to 3 years if part of the National tour.

What is considered copyrighted material subject to disqualification?
An entrant may use copyrighted material in a Reflections entry as long as that material is not the primary focus of the entry, or if the entrant is not trying to pass off the copyrighted material as his/her own creation. For example, if a photograph is taken where someone is wearing a Mickey Mouse shirt, that entry is acceptable as long as the Mickey Mouse character is not the primary focus of the photograph. Even if the entrant takes a photograph of a family with Mickey Mouse at a theme park, that would still be an acceptable photograph if the subject of the photograph is the family and not the Mickey Mouse character. If an entrant creates an entry that includes Mickey Mouse as a primary subject in the artwork, that entry would be infringing on copyrighted material and would be disqualified. Sometimes, like in the case of a collage, possible copyright infringement would need to be determined on a case by case basis and the WSPTA Reflections Chair should be consulted.

What if I would like to be removed from the Reflections Listserv?
If you want to be removed from the Reflections listserv, please do not reply to a listserv post or make a new post on the listserv about removing your name. When you do this the request goes out to everyone on the listserv. The unsubscribe link at the bottom of the listserv e-mails does not work but we're hoping it will get fixed someday. Please start a new e-mail (not through the listserv) addressed to asking to be removed. Or you can call the WSPTA office at 800-562-3804.

Reflections Rules Clarification
The WSPTA has received some phone calls regarding the rules for photography and literature entries. Please make it clear to your student artists that electronic is an optional way to submit, hard copies are preferred. Thank you for your help in clarifying these rules.