PSS gets $1M to help troubled students


The Public School System was recently awarded $1 million through the Trauma Advise, Student, Advocacy Grant under the National Institute of Health to provide help for students who’ve been traumatized by past storms and the current COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Bonnie Pangelinan, PSS associate commissioner for Student and Support Services, PSS received notice last week that they were awarded $1 million under the TASA Grant, which they applied for back in February.

“We received the notice [last Tuesday] that we were awarded the Project TASA Grant. We will begin working on mental health training and support as soon as we access the funds,” she said.

Pangelinan explained that the grant is for 18 months and would go to mental health support for students, teachers, and families.

“This is a $1-million grant for 18 months and, as soon as the funds are accessible, we can begin some support for teachers, families, and students on some of the trauma that they have been experiencing and our efforts to increase mental health,” she said.

Pangelinan added that it is perfect timing to be awarded this grant since families are still recovering from Super Typhoon Yutu while also facing the COVID-19 pandemic. “It’s more than timely considering the crisis we’ve encountered like the storms and this so that is something we’re very happy to have been awarded,” she said.

Pangelinan said PSS is also working on a grant application that would secure it $5 million but she did not mention what the grant is for.

“We are submitting another grant for $5 million for five years with no cost sharing. We’re looking forward to a favorable response with that as well,” she said.

Currently, PSS is also awaiting over $12 million from the U.S. Department of Labor under the CARES Act. Education Commissioner Dr. Alfred Ada said the funds are expected to be transferred directly to PSS’ account around May or June.

The funding from the CARES Act would be used to pay off the last three missed payrolls for PSS personnel that is worth about $1.8 million.

Kimberly Bautista Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Bautista Esmores has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at

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