News Stories » MPUSD awarded $1,249,511 to support social and emotional needs of military-connected students

MPUSD awarded $1,249,511 to support social and emotional needs of military-connected students

MPUSD awarded $1,249,511 to support social and emotional needs of military-connected students

The Monterey Peninsula Unified School District will receive a $1,249,511 grant from the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) over the next five years to support the social and emotional needs of military-connected students at La Mesa Elementary, Marshall Elementary, Colton Middle School and Monterey High School.

“Our military community is woven into the fabric of the Monterey Peninsula. The receipt of nearly $1.25 million is a big win for our military-connected students," said Monterey Peninsula Unified School District Superintendent Dr. PK Diffenbaugh. "The funding allows us to better serve the number of students whose social/emotional needs hinder their transition and learning; and complements the support offered by the military’s school liaison officers and family life counselors."

Members of the military do not serve alone,” said Rep. Sam Farr, D-Carmel. “Their family serves with them and it’s important that we remember the toll that takes on everyone. This grant will help Monterey students transition into life here on the Central Coast so they can focus on learning and just being a kid.”

“The DoDEA grant received by the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District demonstrates the Department of Defense’s commitment to easing the challenges military students face due to multiple transitions and deployments. Duty in Monterey is not only a wonderful location but affords many military families an opportunity to reintegrate and normalize family life after serving in locations where mothers or fathers may have been deployed away from the family. The challenges of family reintegration as well as integration into a new school makes this DoDEA grant especially useful and valuable to both the student and the school district,” said Captain Kevin Bertelsen, Commanding Officer, Naval Support Activity Monterey.

"The DODEA grant is a wonderful addition to the support MPUSD and the Army are providing for our military children," said Elaine Vrolyks, School Liaison Officer Child, Youth and School Services, U.S. Army Garrison, Presidio of Monterey. 

Grant Summary

Given the shorter length of time that military families reside within the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District (five to six months with average length of stay of 18 months), MPUSD needs the capacity to quickly identify and respond to the social and emotional needs of students.

At La Mesa and Marshall elementary schools a behaviorist-counselor will provide services to students whose behaviors and related social/emotional needs provide obstacles to academic success. At Walter Colton Middle and Monterey High schools, students will receive support from a liaison to support their transition to a new school environment, as well as help them address adolescence and socio/emotional adjustments due to the deployment of a parent. Professional development will also be provided on the Student2Student program that will be implemented to provide a structure to support needs of students.

This is the second time MPUSD will receive a DoDEA grant. The first time was in 2011 to provide a liaison at elementary schools and technology for military-connected students. DoDEA grants are very competitive, and local education agencies who have previously applied were at a five-point disadvantaged as first-time grantees automatically received five points. This year's grant opportunity called for proposals that aimed to strengthen family-school-community relationships and enhance student achievement for military-dependent students. Projects were to address the social-emotional needs of military students, as well as strengthen teacher content knowledge through sustained professional development.

To be eligible for the grant, schools within a local educational agency must have at least one participating school with 25 percent or greater military-dependent student enrollment, at least fifty percent of participating schools with a military-dependent student enrollment of 25 percent or above, and the remaining percentage of participating schools with between 10 and 25 percent military-dependent student enrollment.

The following provides insight on the schools within MPUSD that qualified to receive grant funding:



La Mesa Elementary


Marshall Elementary


Walter Colton Middle School


Monterey High School


The grant will be awarded September of 2015 and run through August 2020. The first year of the grant is a planning year that includes refining project plans, providing professional development and securing necessary resources, including the hiring and revision of staffing positions. 

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