Return-to-School Update for Lemon Grove Academy Elementary School

August 6, 2020

Dear Lemon Grove Academy Elementary School Community:

I am writing with an update about the start of the 2020-2021 school year.

  • Our first day of school for students is now August 26th
  • All students will begin in a full distance learning phase (virtual) due to the fact that San Diego County is still on the State’s monitoring list for excessive COVID19 infection rates.
  • We will provide a 4-week advance notice to families, when it is safe to return to in-person instruction at the school site.
  • The district is prepared to provide a Chromebook for EVERY Lemon Grove student!
  • We are also able to facilitate home internet access if you do not currently have access to the internet. 
  • We will not be providing “packets” of worksheets as the mode of instruction for the 2020-21 school year. Using a computer device is essential.

Your school principal will be reaching out soon with more specific details on the preparations for returning to school. The district will also offer a series of webinars for parents to understand how the launch of school and distance learning will look.

School Leadership Update

I am very pleased to inform you the search for a new principal is concluded. With enthusiasm, I introduce Ms. Courtney Ochi as the next Principal of Lemon Grove Academy Elementary School! Ms. Ochi is an exceptionally thoughtful, organized and effective leader with classroom and administrative experience combined with a strong and unabiding belief in the brilliance of our Lemon Grove Learners.

Courtney Ochi is a passionate educator who is committed to expanding access to equitable education for all students. Originally from Honolulu, Hawaii, Courtney moved to San Diego to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies and Spanish and a Master of Education degree in School Leadership from the University of San Diego. She has taught students in grades Transitional Kindergarten through Fifth Grade. Courtney has held many roles leading students and staff at the elementary to high school level, most recently serving as Dean of Students. As a school leader, Courtney has facilitated equity, diversity and inclusion work for elementary through high school teachers. She is trained in council and is passionate about supporting the whole child through circle work and restorative practices. She has also been a part of the San Diego County Office of Education’s multi-tiered system of supports cohort and Ensemble Learning’s English Language Learner cohort and cares deeply about improving on ways to address inequities that exist for some of our most vulnerable students.

Courtney is committed to making meaningful change in her local community. In 2019, she was a fellow in the RISE San Diego Urban Leadership Program and Urban Principal Preparation Program. Courtney leads affinity spaces for Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander pre-service teaching candidates and is the founding board chair of San Diego’s regional Collective, an association for educators and cross-sector advocates of color. Courtney is passionate about building authentic community spaces and is excited to be joining the strong community that exists at Lemon Grove Academy Elementary.

Please join me in welcoming Ms. Ochi to LGA-Elementary School. We are delighted to have an individual with her energy and passion for teaching and learning join our leadership team. You can reach Ms. Ochi via email at or via phone at the school office (619) 825-5637.

You can connect with her on the Lemon Grove Academy Elementary Class Dojo communication platform. Please register - it is how we will communicate with you in the 2020-21 school year!

Erica Balakian