Previously: Jallon Brown braves the Anne Arundel County public school system's bureaucracy to chase down the missing paycheck of one her new teachers. To catch up on earlier episodes, go to www.washingtonpost.com/adventures.
Jallon brown gazes lovingly at the baby picture on her computer screen. "He's so cute," she says. The shot was taken in May, when Malachi, her son, was 4 months old. "He's got my eyes," Jallon says. "I've got to update the picture to show his two new teeth."
But that's a relatively minor task on Jallon's incredibly full plate. Her work papers are scattered across the home office. Jallon, who's 31, says her fiance, Phil Croskey, ribs her for making such a mess. For the last few days, she's been working from the basement of their Hanover townhouse. Phil, 31, takes Malachi to the babysitter on his way to work in Baltimore. Jallon says that she's been trying to pick him up "and give Phil a break. . . because once school starts I won't be able to do it."
Jallon just finished running three weeks of summer school for 80 fifth-graders at KIPP Harbor Academy, the Annapolis public charter school serving mainly low-income students that she's been preparing to open for the new school year. The classes were held at the Annapolis Area Christian School while Jallon searched for a long-term home for her middle school. After months of frustration, it appears that KIPP Harbor's principal has found what she's been looking for. Her lawyer is busy reviewing the lease for a building owned by Sojourner-Douglass College in Edgewater.
Jallon shuts down her computer, grabs her briefcase and dashes out of the house. She has a school board meeting to attend, but first she wants to swing by Kinko's to FedEx a dress to one of her bridesmaids. She and Phil are getting married in a week. Jallon's friends wanted to throw her a bachelorette party, she says, but she told them that her summer was too hectic for a big celebration.
She drives to the Anne Arundel County Board of Education meeting and settles into a chair. Last year the school board nixed her plan to open KIPP Harbor, then reversed itself after learning about the nationwide success of the nonprofit Knowledge Is Power Program. But it's still not a given that Jallon's school will open. A school system official tells the board that Jallon must obtain a certificate of occupancy from the county showing that her facility meets a strict building code for schools. The doors must be wide enough; there can't be any asbestos; the sprinklers have to work. None of this is news to Jallon, who says that she's got an architect "working 24 hours a day" to make sure the Sojourner-Douglass building is up to code. It turns out that board members don't have any questions for Jallon, which she says is a big relief.
Back on the road, it's almost 5 p.m. when Jallon's phone rings. It's Phil making sure she can pick up Malachi. Jallon heads to the babysitter's house and takes her sleepy son into her arms. Malachi rests his head on her shoulder and rubs her back. He doesn't seem fully alert until she buckles him into the car seat. Then he smiles and giggles at his mom, showing mostly gums, except for two tiny bottom teeth.
-- Tyler Currie