News Releases » MPUSD Secures State “Community Schools” Funding to Continue Prioritizing Academic Programs and Interventions to Support Students’ Critical Needs

MPUSD Secures State “Community Schools” Funding to Continue Prioritizing Academic Programs and Interventions to Support Students’ Critical Needs

For Immediate Release: May 25, 2022

Contact: Marci McFadden | 831.706.6971

MPUSD Secures State “Community Schools” Funding to Continue Prioritizing Academic Programs and Interventions to Support Students’ Critical Needs

Monterey, CA - The Monterey Peninsula Unified School District is one of 265 local education agencies in low-income areas to receive a California Community Schools Partnership Program (CCSPP) planning grant from the California Department of Education to serve as a community school by offering wraparound services, such as health care, family support, counseling, and housing assistance. Of the 265 recipients, MPUSD is one of 192 receiving $200,000 two-year planning grants to begin the process of becoming community schools. Following the two years of planning, the district intends to apply for a CCSPP implementation grant to better serve the needs of all students across the district. 

“The significance of this grant is to ensure our community partners, students and families have a voice in their school community,” said Carli Peck, Director, College, Career and Educational Partnerships. “The vision is for the district and our schools to work closely with teachers, students and families; and partner with community agencies to align community resources behind improving student outcomes.”

“The investment of this grant is incredible because it allows districts to focus on critical issues that students face while simultaneously embracing our community’s culture, strengths and voices,” said PK Diffenbaugh, Superintendent, Monterey Peninsula Unified School District. 

MPUSD will continue to leverage existing community partners to focus on a whole-child, community schools improvement strategy. Ultimately, this approach will help students overcome social and economic barriers and improve outcomes across the district.

Specifically, the California Community Schools Partnership Program Planning grant will allow MPUSD to focus on the CCSPP’s four pillars” that guide community schools: 

  • Integrating services, including trauma-informed health services
  • Expanding learning time
  • Sharing decision-making among educators and administrators
  • Engaging families and the community

“The pandemic has highlighted the need to transform our schools so that they are places which have integrated services that meet the needs of all our students. Planning and implementing community schools in MPUSD will provide the needed infrastructure, support, and services for mental health, physical health, social-emotional development, academic development, and identity development among our students, many of whom come from disadvantaged backgrounds,” said Diffenbaugh. “Our intent is to establish integrated community school strategies to address our vulnerable students’ and families' needs, and provide services to enhance whole-child education for all MPUSD students.”

There is a strong need for community schools in MPUSD, and addressing these issues is especially important as MPUSD recovers from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, 47% of elementary and high school students and 38% of middle school students, the global pandemic “very much or significantly changed” their lives, the Youth Truth survey shows. 

During year one of the planning period, MPUSD will build the capacity of the district, identify qualifying schools, and develop community resources. Moreover, MPUSD will contract with the Community School Learning Exchange, which will provide direct coaching on how to facilitate collaborative community school development, focusing on a sustainable model that includes the four pillars of community schools: integrated support services, family and community engagement, collaborative leadership, and expanded learning time and opportunities. Through this consultation, a minimum of four staff members will receive extensive professional development and make site visits to model community schools across the state. 

Additionally, MPUSD will strengthen the existing systems while preparing to extend additional services to qualifying schools. This includes identifying local agencies that can fill gaps in services identified by the family and community survey. MPUSD has an established partnership with the new Ohana Center for Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health in Monterey to serve our middle schools, and will expand its services to provide students and families greater access to school-based mental health treatment. Other needed services include partnering with agencies that support the college financial aid completion; parent-student engagement in post-secondary planning; and expanded apprenticeship opportunities. 

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About Monterey Peninsula Unified School District


The Monterey Peninsula Unified School District is home to approximately 9,600 students in grades transitional kindergarten through 12th grade. The district also houses preschool and adult education. The district is built on a solid foundation of effective instruction, positive school culture, systems of support, and collaborative leadership. The district is nestled along the Monterey Bay, and stretches from the city of Marina to the north to the city of Monterey to the south, and includes the communities of Del Rey Oaks, Marina, Monterey, Sand City and Seaside.