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ABRACE – Brazilian Portuguese as a Heritage Language 
Institution name: ABRACE
Address: 1633 Davidson Rd
McLean, VA 22101
Telephone: (571) 366-9779
Web address: http://www.abracebrasil.org
Name: Ana Lucia Lico
Title: Executive Director
Address: PO Box 813
McLeanVA  22101
Email: analulico@gmail.com
Telephone: (202) 441-0263
Purposes and goals of the program:
ABRACE’s mission is to preserve and promote Brazilian education and cultural and social integration in the Brazilian community with the aim of strengthening its identity within the United States.
Program origin:
ABRACE, Inc. originally began as a project within the group MBV – Brazilian Mothers of Virginia, that organized the first education initiative for preschoolers in 2005. As the demand increased, an idea formed within the group to create an entity that could embrace the need of our families that our children learn and promote Brazilian Portuguese language and value their cultural heritage.  Through the efforts of the founders, friends, and volunteers, a professionalization process took place and, as a result, ABRACE Inc. was formally founded in 2009. ABRACE (Brazilian Association of Culture and Education or Associação Brasileira de Cultura e Educação) received its 501c3 status in 2010. ABRACE’s founders are three Brazilian mothers: Ana Lúcia Lico, Aline Mota, and Leila Ribeiro.
Program funding:
Tuition paid to participate in the program, Brazilian companies as sponsors, individual donors, support from the Brazilian government
Languages/dialects taught:
  • Portuguese
  • Program type:  Community-Based
    Average enrollment: 140
    Total contact hours per week: 2
    Times per week classes meet: 1
    When meetings take place:
    Saturday mornings
    Where meetings take place:
    Public school in Fairfax Co. (rented space)
    Parents' or guardians' expectations of the program:
    Parents expect that their children are able to maintain close contact with their cultural roots and communicate and socially interact in Portuguese.
    Parents' or guardians' involvement in the program:
    Parents volunteer in classrooms as additional help to teachers, participate and help set-up ABRACE’s cultural events, and volunteer on a rotating or continuing basis.
    Instructors' expectations of the program:
    To teach children to be able to feel comfortable and have pleasure while in the learning environment, and to motivate the students to respect and value their parents' cultural backgrounds.
    Number of instructors in the program
    Full-time instructors: 0
    Part-time instructors: 18
    Volunteer instructors: 2
    Languages in which instructors are proficient:
    Brazilian Portuguese
    Educational backgrounds and credentials of instructors
    (e.g., diploma, bachelor's, master's, doctorate, certificate):

    The majority have bachelor's degrees.
    Professional development opportunities instructors have:
    Initial training and continuous monitoring, in addition to workshops offered by ABRACE, in partnership with Georgetown University.
    Professional development opportunities instructors need:
    Access to research-based studies of Portuguese as a heritage language, and exchange of ideas and results with teachers in other heritage language programs.
    Students' expectations of the program:
    Student background
    First-generation immigrants: 7%
    Second-generation immigrants: 90%
    Third-generation immigrants: 3%
    Children of interethnic marriages: 85%
    Children of interethnic adoption: 2%
    Indigenous students: 0%
    Students' countries of origin:
    Most are born in the US.
    How the program identifies heritage language speakers:
    Heritage language speakers are children from immigrant parents who bring to the classroom contextual and some informal knowledge of their parents' language and socio-cultural values,
    Average enrollment: 140
    Approximate percentage of students who complete the program: 65%
    Approximate percentage of students who continue to study the heritage language after completing the program: 15%
    Possible reasons that students continue to study the heritage language after completing the program:
    To keep improving their language skills and reach advanced skills, and to increase their ability to work using Brazilian Portuguese.
    Total contact hours per week: 2
    Times per week: 1
    Student grouping (e.g., proficiency level, grade, age):
    Combination of proficiency level and age
    Language skills taught in the program (e.g., reading, writing, speaking, and listening):
    Speaking, Reading, Writing
    Aspects of culture included in the program (e.g., history, literature, traditions):
    Arts (music, dance, literature), History, Geography, Folklore
    Other content taught in the program:
    Instructional methodologies used in the program:
    Communicative - project based
    Levels of language proficiency reached by the end of the program (e.g., ACTFL proficiency levels, language tasks able to perform):
    Ability to speak, read, and write at least at a middle school level, and to be able to interact in complex situations independently.
    Brazilian textbooks as reference
    Manuals and workbooks:
    Self-designed materials:
    Films, videos, and DVDs:
    Brazilian videos and DVDs with music, stories, cultural celebrations, and Brazilian cartoon characters
    Brazilian music and musical instruments geared towards childrenslearning
    Computer in class, some activities with Internet access in the classroom
    Standardized tests used:
    There are none available for young students (children, youth).
    Other assessments used:
    Social-emotional aspects applied in preschool levels; cognitive aspects added at elementary/middle school levels. A more formal and structured assessment system is under development by the education body of the organization in partnership with PhD educators from Brazil.
    Connections with local schools or other organizations:
    Strong partnership with Georgetown University for teachers’ training. Close connection with Brazilian Consulate for sponsorship of cultural activities.
    Credit received from formal education system:
    None so far.
    Types of support received (e.g., financial, time from parents or volunteers):
    Time from parents and volunteers to provide help on several on-going activities and occasional events
    Additional support desired:
    Brazilian government and private companies
    Challenges faced by the program:
    Financial stability, a diverse source of funding, and cost-efficient management

    Multicultural families have the right to be proud of their cultural roots and heritage, which is a very valuable legacy to their children.

    This profile was updated by Mahida Bachi on February 13, 2013.

    Updated by Carmen Winkler on 10/27/2017