Attention! Funding opportunity. We have opened the call for proposals for projects to implement the English Access program in Northeast Mexico

Attention! Funding opportunity. We have opened the call for proposals for projects to implement the English Access program in the States of Nuevo Leon, Coahuila, San Luis Potosí, Durango and Zacatecas.

 

NOTICE OF FUNDING OPPORTUNITY
Public Affairs Office, U.S. Embassy Mexico City, Mexico

This notice of funding opportunity seeks proposals for the implementation of the U.S. Department of State’s 2019–2021 (FY18 funds) English Access Microscholarship Program (Access).

English Access microscholarships must provide a minimum of 360 hours over two years of high quality, American-style, after-school and summer-intensive English classes and enhancement activities for disadvantaged teens at a cost of approximately $1500 per student.

Access Program participants must be bright, highly-motivated, economically-disadvantaged 13 to 18-year-old students currently enrolled in public schools. The participant selection process must be transparent and competitive and must aim for gender parity.

To compete for the Access grant, local and international non-governmental organizations and educational institutions need to submit final proposals to the RELO Mexico office by June 10, 2019 using the FY18 Access Proposal template.

If interested to apply please email Ulises Corona (CoronaU@state.gov) or Irene Violante (ViolanteI@state.gov) in order to receive the proposal template form, the priority locations, and the Access Handbook.

Initial proposals should be submitted electronically to Ulises Corona (CoronaU@state.gov) and Irene Violante (ViolanteI@state.gov) by May 10, 2019.

Providers whose proposals are selected will be notified of which locations and how many classes they will serve. They will be asked to modify their proposals based on that information. Final proposals should be submitted electronically to Ulises Corona (CoronaU@state.gov) and Irene Violante (ViolanteI@state.gov) by June 10, 2019.

Background

Access is a learner-centered program that provides bright, but disadvantaged youth with an opportunity to learn English, develop civic engagement and leadership skills, and gain multicultural awareness through teaching the basics of American culture and values. The program benefits an equal number of teenaged men and women from underprivileged families through after-school instruction and intensive sessions. Access equips participants with skills that can 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. The Access Program has provided scholarships to over 180,000 students in 86 countries since its inception in 2004.

The Regional English Language Office (RELO) and Public Affairs Sections of the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Mexico have hosted Access Programs since 2010, and more than 2,500 students across the country have received scholarships. The U.S. Embassy RELO office in Mexico City oversees the program which is implemented by local partners.

Program Description

Access classes should be no larger than 20 students and gendered balanced. Teachers should create a meaningful, interactive language learning experience centered on the learner. Project-based and task-based approaches should be employed in order to help the learner use English to understand and work on authentic local and global challenges.

Access alumni and/or U.S. exchange program alumni may be hired as teaching assistants. Enhancement activities and intensive sessions should help extend the language learning experience beyond the classroom walls.

Participants’ parents should also be made aware of what and how the students are learning, and appraised of what can be done at home to encourage further learning.

  • After-School Instruction (mandatory)

Access is a two-year program that requires a minimum of 360 hours of instruction for each cohort reasonably distributed over the two-year period. Classes should meet at least twice per week, and last from 1.5 to 3 hours. It is the responsibility of the Providers to consider the schedule of the students to ensure that Access classes do not interfere with students’ regular school schedule.

  • Enhancement Activities (mandatory)

Enhancement activities must occur regularly throughout the two years of the program, usually during After-School Instruction, and are part of the 360 hours. These English-language activities should provide opportunities for students to use the target language in discussions, debates, U.S. holiday celebrations, skits, community service activities, etc. Consider inviting U.S. Embassy and Consulate personnel, U.S. English Language Fellows, Fulbright exchange participants and/or Peace Corps volunteers to do something with your class. Other possibilities include filming role plays, making an Access web page, creating an Access newspaper, or running a Model United Nations activity.

Access students should also be involved in community service activities to increase their awareness of issues facing their respective communities while also gaining an understanding of the ways they can positively contribute to civil society. Some possibilities include volunteering at a nearby senior citizens home, tutoring primary school students in English, and organizing the cleaning of a nearby park or forest.

  • Technology Component (encouraged)

Access programs might also consider including technology instruction in English, utilizing existing computer facilities rather than expending significant grant funding to purchase equipment.

  • Intensive Sessions (encouraged)

Intensive sessions are an English immersion experience having more instruction hours per week than the after-school program — for example, a camp. The aim of these sessions is to provide students with time to fully experience an English-medium environment outside of the classroom for a sustained period of time. These sessions are included in the 360 hours of required instruction. Hours of instruction during intensive sessions may not exceed 8 hours per day or 40 hours per week.

Intensive sessions should combine English language instruction with U.S. cultural activities such as drama, computers, art, music, or games and sports, or civic responsibility projects, leadership and teamwork training, or tolerance programs. The most successful immersion experiences are those run primarily by the Provider itself, with outside individuals included as needed to support the Access teachers. It is also possible to work with the U.S. Embassy’s RELO to recruit the support of an English Language Fellow or Specialist, as well as alumni of other U.S. Embassy programs, including the Access program itself. Access alumni in particular have been very supportive of such efforts and are often keen to “pay back” to the program by helping with such immersion programs.

Provider Roles and Responsibilities

Eligibility Requirements:

Proposals may be submitted by Mexican or U.S. based legally-registered organizations. To be competitive, the organization should be engaged in English language teaching. The organization should have the services of a qualified accountant and be able to open a separate bank account for receiving Access grant funds. The organization must be able to communicate in English. All program documents and reports are in English.

Number of Providers:

The U.S. Embassy reserves the right to split the program among multiple Providers.

Program Implementation Location:

The Embassy prefers that the Provider oversee multiple implementation locations. The proposal should cover the sites where the Provider is confident it can deliver a safe space, with a qualified administrative and teaching staff, over the duration of the program. A clean and safe space for classes is non-negotiable. The space must have seating for 20 students. It must also have a blackboard/whiteboard, power outlet, and nearby bathrooms. The space should also have internet capability (or the Provider should supply this). Providers are encouraged to seek additional spaces on the premises that add to the overall experience (theater, garden, sports facility, etc.).

The Provider must select underprivileged communities in the states included on the Embassy’s list of Access FY18 locations. The Provider should prepare a representative budget for one class in each state that they can serve.

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.

Program Calendar:

The start date of the program will depend largely on the length of the time needed to finalize the Agreement, and on the student selection process. The whole program should last no longer than 24 months. Once the program calendar is finalized, joint opening and graduation ceremony dates will be coordinated with RELO so that Embassy officials can participate.

Budget:

The budget per student should be around $1500 depending on the location. This includes administrative costs (no more than 10%), tuition, materials, transportation if needed, enhancement activities, community service activities, and costs for travel to the regional opening ceremony and a graduation ceremony in Mexico City.

Teachers must be paid 250 pesos per hour after taxes, competitive with high-quality private schools, and be given a two-year contract.

Materials:

Providers choose the textbooks that they prefer, but should follow these guidelines:

  • If possible, use a textbook published in the U.S.
  • Textbooks that have U.S. Culture incorporated in the lessons.
  • Textbooks that make use of a variety of communicative and “real world” activities.
  • Textbooks that cover such issues as: the environment, human rights, gender equality, civil society and volunteerism.
  • Textbooks that help build critical thinking skills in students.
  • Textbooks that use a variety of activities that involve: speaking, listening, reading and writing.

 

Every student must receive new books (e.g. textbook, dictionary, easy readers). After the program ends the books are the property of the students.

Teachers are encouraged to use supplementary materials that suit Access Program goals. A good source is: americanenglish.state.gov. Supplementary materials should focus on US culture and American English, or international English and intercultural understanding.

Branding:

All Access Program documents, applications, banners, teeshirts, publications, etc. must feature the U.S. Embassy logo, and it must be the most prominent if displayed with other logos. Access is written as a word (Access), not as an acronym (ACCESS).

Teacher Selection:

The Provider is responsible for identifying and if necessary, recruiting highly competent Access teachers. RELO representatives will often be involved in teacher selection.

Access teachers must have at least a BA in English or Education and be comfortable and fluent in English with proof of at least C1 proficiency in the CEFR. They should have progressive views about methodology, employing interactive, learning-centered approaches that focus on tasks and projects. They should have experience teaching teens. First-hand experience with American culture is a plus. Similarly, experience in designing and carrying out community service is desirable.

Teachers must be paid 250 pesos per hour after taxes, competitive with high-quality private schools, and be given a two-year contract.

Student Selection:

The Provider is responsible for demonstrating that students enrolled in the program fit the target audience:

  • Are economically-disadvantaged youth (demonstrated by documents such as an electric bill or a liconsa)
  • Are bright (demonstrated by official school transcript from previous year and/or aptitude and attitude in interview)
  • Are motivated to learn English and help their communities (demonstrated in an application and interview)
  • Are between 13 and 18 years old at time of recruitment

No children from families of Provider administrative or teaching staff may be enrolled.

The scholarship must be announced widely in the target community (e.g. newspaper, radio, other local media, posters in schools).

It is recommended to use an application to shortlist those students who will receive interviews. Both should be in Spanish.

RELO representatives will check on the selection process to ensure it is transparent and selecting the right students.

The Provider will select 1-2 alternate students who participate in Access unofficially and will replace any students who must leave the program. These students do not receive the official certificates but may receive certificates from the Provider.

Additional Requirements:

  1. The Provider is responsible for printing student certificates for the opening ceremony using a template provided by RELO.
  2. The Provider will ensure that students are given the same proficiency test at the beginning and end of the program to show overall progress in English.
  3. The Provider is required to produce frequent program and financial reports (usually quarterly), accompanied by receipts.
  4. The Provider must monitor and report students’ attendance and performance and take steps to help any students who fall below the minimum passing grade and minimum attendance of 70%.

The Provider will maintain a student database with contact information to be given to the RELO office at the end of the program.