Compared to the last time, that's all the time in the world.
In January 2008, Debra Tarver was the principal of Pathways to College charter school in Hesperia, who was fired after a behind-closed-doors power struggle. Public outcry from parents and staff led nowhere.
After a few weeks, Tarver decided to start over, and five months later, opened a new charter school, LaVerne Preparatory Academy - in time for the new school year.
In October, LEPA was chosen by Desert Trails parents to take over their school, where more than 75 percent of students are unable to read or write, according to statewide tests.
"It wasn't cheap," Tarver said. "I used all my savings for (the strip mall in Hesperia where the school first opened), and I called friends of mine for more help."
It helped that she had the support of parents and staff, many of whom followed her from Pathways to College.
"The staff, the parents and students, they knew what kind of program" would be offered.
Five years later, her school received a 911 in the state's Academic Performance Index ratings, the second-best score in the High Desert and one of the top scores in San Bernardino County.
(Scores range from 200 through 1,000, although only a handful of schools ever achieve a perfect score, with 800 as the target number for schools statewide. This year, Desert Trails received a 699.)
Tarver, a former teacher, mentor and assistant principal in the nearby Victor Elementary School District, made the jump to charter schools in 2000.
"So many students start slipping through the cracks and those are the ones I like dealing with," she said, from her office at LEPA's home for the past two years, at a former sixth-grade-only school run by the Hesperia Unified School District.
Enrollment is capped due to space limitations: LEPA currently has an enrollment of about 400 students from kindergarten through eighth grade and expands by about 60 students a year.
Keeping numbers low - kindergarten has a 20 students to 1 teacher ratio, and other grades are about 23:1, an unusually good ratio after years of budget cuts in California's public schools - is key to the school's academic success, she said.
"A lot of kids coming through the doors are at least two years behind," Tarver said. "For the kids, once they see someone cares about them, they work much harder."
LEPA students attend four days a week, eight hours a day (seven hours a day for kindergartners), with Friday available as a half-day makeup day. Students work up to a year ahead of standard academic calendars - on Tuesday, kindergartners were busy with three-digit subtraction problems while older students tackled pre-algebra.
"There's a lot of collaboration here," Tarver said. "It's almost to the point where it's a teacher-led school."
Victorville mother Latrice Brown's son has attended LEPA since the first year it opened, when her son was starting kindergarten.
"I love it," she said. "He's in the fourth grade, but he's at, like, a whole 'nother level."
When Desert Trails Elementary reopens under the management of Tarver and her staff, Brown's son may well change schools and go there instead: She currently drives 30 miles commuting to and from LEPA.
"I would not have my child anywhere else," Hesperia mother Ruth Flores said. "The teachers are very willing to work with you, speak with you. They always want to fill you in what's going on, even if it's just positive."
At a previous school, "I'd hear from parents who heard nothing but negative feedback. But those parents would never hear the positive feedback."
Hesperia mother Sara Morrow was initially concerned about the high academic expectations placed on LEPA students when her son started kindergarten there last year.
"Once I saw that he could handle it, it was a really good feeling, knowing that he could get the most out of his education that he could," she said. She's excited for Adelanto parents, who will be able to get a LEPA-style education next school year, Morrow said.
Tarver hadn't paid close attention to the battle over the future of Desert Trails until a Superior Court judge this summer declared that the Desert Trails Parent Union had gathered enough signatures to invoke the state's parent trigger law. That allowed them to force sweeping changes on the campus - in this case, turning it into a charter school.
"It was interesting: Parents' voices were now being heard."
In Hesperia, parents have a variety of charter schools to choose from, along with Hesperia Unified's three "schools of choice," with focused curricula and high parental involvement. In contrast, Adelanto has only one charter school, serving sixth through eight grades.
Tarver received a certified letter from Desert Trails Parent Union members the day before a proposal had to be submitted.
"It was nothing I intended to do," she said. "I had assumed a lot of people would be throwing their hat in."
She stayed up all night, writing a detailed proposal to replicate her successes with LEPA in Adelanto.
"If anybody should go after this, it should be someone from up here," Tarver said. "People from LA, they do not know this population."
Should the Adelanto Elementary School District approve Tarver's charter application at its meeting tonight - the board has up to 60 days to render a decision - Tarver will be hiring teachers and staff. She expects some of her LEPA staff will want to move closer to home at the Adelanto campus. And beyond just hiring good teachers, Tarver said she'll begin holding community meetings.
"There's a lot of healing that needs to take place."
The charter application sets a goal of 600 students at the new charter school. (There are currently 670 students enrolled at Desert Trails, although some charter school opponents have said they will pull their students out next year.) She's counting on the help of Victorville and Adelanto LEPA families to help promote the new school.
"When you have happy parents, they're your best advertisement."
Tarver expects to spend about 70 percent of her time in Adelanto next year.
"We are in our fifth year right now. One thing I'm confident in is that this school can stand on its own now."
But LEPA will be a key part of the strategy at Desert Trails: In addition to seeding the new campus with teachers, staff and students who understand the LEPA culture, Tarver intends to have new Desert Trails employees shadow LEPA employees and learn how the school works.
Some things will still be familiar to current Desert Trails families: The current campus and furnishings will be used by the same school. But Tarver is aiming for a 25:1 student-to-teacher ratio, in addition to special education and instructional aides.
She's not predicting miracles her first year out, but she does expect to improve on the current situation. LEPA got a 779 API its first year of operation, but grew 132 points over the next three years.
"When kids start believing in themselves and knowing they can do it - they can."
Reach Beau via email, call him at 909-386-3826, or find him on Twitter @InlandEd.