Funding Opportunity: Brazil: Design & Implementation of an English Access Microscholarship Program for Teacher

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July 26, 2019


Announcement Type:  Cooperative Agreement with funds from the U.S. Cooperating Agency for Global Access Programs, FHI360

Funding Amount: Up to $1,500/participant

Deadline for Applications: Open until September 1st, 2019

Program: English Access Microscholarship Program for Teachers

Project Location(s): Rio de Janeiro, Porto Alegre, and São Paulo

Program Office: Regional English Language Office, U.S. Embassy Brasilia, Brazil



The English Access Microscholarship Program (Access) is a learner-centered program that provides a foundation of English language skills to participants from economically disadvantaged sectors through after-school classes and intensive sessions. Access gives participants English skills that may lead to better jobs and educational prospects. Participants also gain the ability to compete for and participate in future exchanges and study in the United States. Originally conceived for teenagers from non-elite communities, the Access Program has provided scholarships to over 188,000 students in 89 countries since its inception in 2004.

The Regional English Language Office (RELO) and Public Affairs Sections of the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Brazil have hosted Access Programs since 2008, and more than 2,500 students and teachers have received scholarships. Currently in Brazil, there are 10 Access Program sites. The Regional English Language Office (RELO) of the U.S. Embassy in Brasília oversees these programs, which are implemented by local partners.

This notice of funding opportunity seeks proposals for the creation and implementation of an Access Program for teachers who teach in English or for students enrolled in English Language and Literature Programs (Letras). Teachers should be pre-service or novice public school teachers within the first ten years of their teaching practice.

Program description:

The U.S. Embassy in Brasília requests proposals from non-profit and/or educational organizations with English language teaching program capacity to create and implement one or more English Access Microscholarship Programs (Access 2019 – 2020) for Brazilian non-elite pre-service and novice teachers who teach in English (subject areas and English language teachers).

The goal of the program is to provide young future and current public school teachers an opportunity to develop their English language skills so that they become more confident users and teachers of English.  The program will focus on high quality, communicative instruction of the four skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking), along with the explicit teaching of vocabulary.  The program should also include the explicit teaching of learning strategies in order to empower participants’ own learning process during and beyond the program.

Selected participants must be either 1) novice public school teachers who teach in English and are within the first ten years of their teaching, or 2) pre-service teachers enrolled in English Language and Literature Programs (Letras). Preference will be given to teachers who have not participated in other U.S. government teacher or learning programs and who test at the A1, A2, or B1 CEFR proficiency levels at the beginning of the program.

The main structure of the program must include the following:

After-school/weekend instruction

The Access Program for Teachers must deliver a minimum of 200 hours of instruction including intensive sessions over a 12-15 month period.  The core component of the program should be in-class meetings organized to maximize attendance and provide regular, on-going English practice, ideally more than once a week, and as often as four times per week.  Due to the school calendar of pre-service and novice teachers, we anticipate the need for alternative schedules or longer sessions to accommodate their schedule, perhaps up to 3.5 hours on Fridays or Saturdays.  Programs typically begin in February/March of any given year and will finish by February of the following year.  It is the responsibility of the Provider to consider the schedule of the students, especially during the initial recruitment phase, to ensure that Access classes do not interfere with students’ regular school and work schedules.

Providers may propose blended learning for the 200 hours of instruction, but the hours should be considered “classroom” hours for which interaction is a key component either with a teacher or through a program platform designed to provide communicative practice. Online classes should not be more than 30% of the after-school and weekend instruction.

Enhancement activities

Enhancement activities that will foster Brazil-US cultural understanding as well as developing other key global citizenship skills are strongly encouraged throughout the program. These activities should be integrated into the afterschool/weekend curriculum and seen as an opportunity for educators and students to be creative and to extend the learning experience beyond classroom walls.  Trips to museums, workplaces, theaters, community service, etc. are encouraged.  Other possibilities include civic outreach or community service activities such as tutoring public school students in English.  In-school activity possibilities include a U.S. culture project-based where participants create a range of classroom teaching activities based on American life and culture, including but not limited to key American holidays, music, inventions, entrepreneurship, icons, etc. Enhancement activities should be considered as a way of building knowledge and a potential future teaching toolbox for use in teachers’ prospective and current classrooms with students.

Guest speakers that complement in-class learning are also encouraged.  U.S. English Language Fellows, English Language Specialists, Fulbright English Teaching Assistants who are visiting or living in or near the city hosting the Access site are excellent options.  Taking advantage of other speakers in the community such as Access alumni, Fulbright alumni, key civic leaders, U.S. Embassy and Consulate visitors, local businesspeople, and community leaders are motivating ways to highlight the community and provide additional learning opportunities.  Sites should approach the selection of such speakers creatively and carefully incorporate English practice and learning goals into the encounters.

Providers should organize at least four enhancement activities per program. The hours used for such activities will be counted as part of the total number of 200 hours of afterschool and weekend instruction.  Providers can budget for transportation or materials for such activities and must submit monthly highlights (see “functional requirements” below); the most successful enhancement activities will be shared with other providers and the wider Embassy and State Department communities.

Off-site immersion sessions

The Access Program for teachers should include multiple immersion sessions lasting between two and five days.  At least one immersion session must be off-site and overnight to provide and American Summer Camp–like experience.  Such sessions can occur on weekends, at the end of the regular school year, or during school vacations.  Hours from off-site immersions– no more than eight per day – are counted toward the total number of 200 hours of instruction.  Immersion sessions are a significant portion of program hours, and students should attend all sessions in order to successfully complete the program.  In case of students’ absence during sessions, RELO office should be notified.

The aim of these immersion sessions is to provide students with time to fully experience an English-medium environment outside of the classroom for a sustained period of time.  A typical day should consist of a variety of team-building, challenge-solving, and creative activities that allow the students to gain confidence in English and to consolidate the global citizenship skills that they have been learning during the entire program. These sessions should be off-site or at least combine off-site activities as to provide an American summer camp-like experience. The provider is encouraged to be creative in planning and budgeting for these sessions. Funds for transportation, accommodation, and food during immersion sessions should be present in the budget.  We encourage creativity (and fun) in approaching immersion sessions, and it is also possible to work with the RELO office to include English Language Fellows, Fulbright English Teaching Assistants, or alumni of other U.S. Embassy programs, including the Access program itself.

One potential format for Immersion + Afterschool Instruction might look like the following, but the Provider is encouraged to research and propose a format that works best in the local context:

  • Immersion Session #1: Orientation and Community Building for 3-5 days on-site or off-site
  • Regular English classroom and enhancement activities during the semester along with a blended component
  • Immersion Session #2: English Language Camp/Intensive Session for 3-5 days in an off-site retreat in July
  • Regular English classroom and enhancement activities during the semester along with a blended component
  • Immersion Session #3: Final Presentation of Projects and Intensive Session, potentially in a conference presentation like format for the teacher students to share for 3-5 days, potentially combined with the final graduation and certificate ceremony

Community outreach

The Access Program site should serve as a model classroom.  Providers should reach into the community to universities, schools, and other English teachers, as well as governmental bodies and secretariats, teachers of other subjects, administrators, English Language Fellows, alumni, etc. in the Access experience, where appropriate.  Successful examples  include holding a workshop for the community (parents at schools where the teachers work or open sessions at universities) addressing how to support learning a foreign language, organizing a workshop for future teachers at a nearby English language teaching department or for current teachers at the schools from which Access students have been recruited, conducting a meeting for administrators to better understand how to create stronger foreign language programs in their own schools, or organizing community service opportunities to tutor public schools students in English.

Pre- and post-test of language proficiency

Providers should propose a recognized measure of English language proficiency to assess teachers at the beginning and end of the Access Program. In addition to periodic progress evaluations, the pre- and post-tests are intended to mark progress in English language development. Official tests should be economical and not detract from the program goals of learning. However, a formal proficiency score from a recognized testing service should be presented to teachers at the end of the program to serve as official documentation of their English language abilities.

In-country educational service provider: Roles and responsibilities

Proposal eligibility requirements:

Proposals may be submitted by Brazilian or U.S.-based non-profit or educational organizations who can receive international wire transfers from our U.S.-based Cooperating Agency FHI360.

Number of providers:

The U.S. Embassy reserves the right to split the project between two or more providers based on location and capacity to administer the program.

Program implementation location:

The U.S. Embassy is soliciting proposals from the cities of Rio de Janeiro, Porto Alegre, and São Paulo.  The proposal should cover the sites where the Provider is confident it can deliver a safe space with a qualified administrative and teaching staff selected upon final approval of the RELO office, over the duration of the program.  Each site should propose hosting one or more classes of 15-20 students per class.

Program calendar:

The start date of the program will depend largely on the length of the negotiation, contract finalization, and student selection phases.  The program could begin as early as February 2020 or as late as April 2020.  The program is to last no longer than 15 months, but could be as short as 10 months.  Providers must prepare themselves to be as flexible as possible with regard to start dates due to issues that may occur before an agreement is signed and during student recruitment.

Technical and infrastructure requirements:

The provider must specify the location(s) of the Access Program and space that will be used for the classes and activities. The provider must either provide verification that the space belongs to the grantee or a written agreement with the holder of the space. The space must have seating for at least 20 students; it must have a blackboard/whiteboard, power outlet, air conditioning, and sanitary requisites. The space should also have a computer access with internet capability.  Providers are also encouraged to share any other unique learning spaces on the premises that are accessible to the program and that add to the overall experience (theater, garden, sports facility, etc.).

Providers must have capacity to receive an international write transfer from our U.S.-based Cooperating Agency, FHI360.

Functional requirements:

  1. Final program participant selection to be made by the RELO office or a U.S. Embassy or Consulate representative
  2. The provider is responsible for creating a highly effective and innovative method for identifying and recruiting highly competent Access teachers. Potential Access instructors identified by the provider will be interviewed by the RELO officer.
  3. The provider is required to produce frequent reports (usually quarterly) and substantial final financial and performance reports. The provider should monitor students’ attendance and performance.
  4. The provider will submit monthly 1-3 paragraph highlights, with photos, based on criteria to be provided at a later date, for an internal U.S. Embassy and Department of State audience.
  5. Maintain records on graduates that will be added to the U.S. Embassy’s Alumni database in order to include in follow-on programming.

Assumptions and agreements:

The Provider should craft a proposal that can serve one or more groups of 15-20 students per site, depending on the Provider’s capability, infrastructure, and geographic spread.  The budget per student should be no higher than $1,500.  The Embassy recommends that the interested Provider find creative ways of extending the quality and quantity of the students’ learning experience for this amount as opposed to compete based on a lower cost per student.  All possible costs for participants – including tuition (overhead, teachers’ salaries, administration), materials, enhancement activities, off-site immersion sessions, and, where relevant, transportation for the students – should be covered.

The Provider’s instructors for this program should have a minimum of three years of teaching full-time in any institution.  The instructors should be comfortable and fluent in English, with at least a C1 (CEFR) level, and have some cross-cultural experience, preferably with U.S. culture (familiarity with the culture is stressed over actually having visited the U.S.).  The instructors should have progressive views about methodology, employing learning-centered approaches that focus on tasks and projects that lead to interactive classes.  The instructor should be adept at integrating modern technology into the classroom, and at creating a linguistic risk-taking atmosphere that allows students to learn in a comfortable and fostering environment.  We encourage the selection of instructors among U.S. Embassy professional development program alumni of FLTA, E-teacher, PSTDP, BRITE and others.

The Provider’s staff involved in the program, including instructors and coordinators, must be available to participate in a mandatory training offered by the RELO Brazil office in February.

We recommend coordination with local stakeholders of English teaching in planning the program. Outreach done in the proposal stage should include local universities and state secretaries of education to encourage successful recruitment of teachers and potential credit or recognition for their participation from Secretariats of Education.

Submission information:

Potential providers should send an email to requesting a proposal template. Completed proposals should be submitted to the Regional English Language Office, Public Affairs Section, U.S. Embassy Brasília electronically to The deadline for submission is midnight, September 1, 2019.

Basis for award:

The grantee should be an established non-profit institution or a non-governmental organization (NGO) with at least 3 years of experience in administering educational programs and/or teaching English, preferably to the target age group. The grantee must have access to an established core of English instructors willing to commit their time to this project. The grantee must identify the location(s) and venue(s) that will be used for this program (verified with a document/preliminary agreement) and will be responsible for recruiting students and, in consultation with the Regional English Language Office at the U.S. Embassy, developing the curriculum. Organizations with previous experience and a capacity of working with educational institutions on a national level will be given priority.

Deadline for receipt of questions:  August 18, 2019

All questions will be answered via DVC or Zoom call o/a August 21, 2019 (Please make sure to submit your questions by 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time on August 18, so that the Regional English Language Office can be prepared to answer questions accordingly).

Additional information:

For additional information or clarification, please contact the Regional English Language Office of the U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Section by writing to