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Bill Brown

Created By: Ken Pitts
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Bill Brown

Mr BrownBill Brown teaches Intro to Engineering and Architecture, Architectural Design and Green Building Design at Santiago High. Students at Santiago have the opportunity to take the first Green Building class of its kind at the high school level. The course focuses on leveraging Revit Architecture models to analyze and design “Green Buildings” with a goal of certification utilizing LEED or National Green Building Standard criteria. Students use Energy Modeling software to check their building for Title 24 compliance and to learn the effects of design changes on energy consumption of the building they design. Mr. Brown’s students have won 7 of the last 8 California state championships in Architecture through SkillsUSA competitions.

A new, one-year course called “Intro to Sustainable Design” will give students an experience similar to the Green Building Design courses. Intro to Sustainable Design, taught by Bill Brown, will be the second class in Santiago High’s Earth Academy Pathway. Students will experience designing a building with attention to: Sustainable Site Design, Materials and Resources, Energy Efficiency, Water Efficiency and Indoor Air Quality. Students will be introduced to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and the National Green Building Standard’s systems of certifying buildings. Additionally, students will be introduced to a BIM (Building Information Modeling ) software called Revit Architecture. Santiago High was the first high school in California to offer Revit Architecture 8 years ago.

I have a BA in Industrial Arts from San Diego State and an MA in Vocational Education from Cal State San Bernardino. I am currently an adjunct professor at Riverside Community College where I teach an evening advanced architecture course in Revit. I spend my summers working for architecture firms such as Friedmutter Group, HMC Architects, Fiedler Group, and Andresen Architecture to gain industry experience. This summer I will be back at HMC Architects working in their Interiors Department.

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Tim Tuttle

Created By: Ken Pitts
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Tim Tuttle

In the condition of modern life the rule is absolute; the race which does not value trained intelligence is doomed.  Not all of your heroism, not all of your social charm, not all of your wit, can move back the finger of fate.  Today we maintain ourselves. Tomorrow science will have moved forward yet another step, and there will be no appeal from the judgment which will be pronounced on the uninformed and uneducated.  The educated differ from the uneducated as much as the living from the dead. – Alfred North Whitehead

We live in the most rapidly changing environment that man has ever created!  Information we find useful today, rapidly becomes irreverent and useless tomorrow.  The challenge that faces public education today is to prepare students with the necessary information and skills that are required by the demands of the 21st century, 

E.A.R.T.H. Academy is designed to allow the students to explore opportunities fields related to sustainable living and green technologies.  It is important that once students learn a body of knowledge that they have the opportunity to apply this knowledge through simulation, projects, and internships in the community.  This is a basic philosophy behind the curriculum, design, and implementation of the E.A.R.T.H. Academy.

35 years of teaching experience


Ryan Life credential- History
Ryan Life credential – Social Studies


B.A. History
M.A. Education in Curriculum design
Constitutional Right Scholar


Riverside county school – Program of Excellence
N.C.S.S. National Teacher of the Year
Golden Bell Award
Unsung Hero Award
N.E.A.  A+ Award
N.E.A. National Program of Excellence
Dangerous Mind Award
Santiago H.S. Teacher of the Year
Constitutional Rights Foundation Award Program of Excellence

 Programs Designed and implemented:

Skull Island - 1985 to present
Right To Be Informed - 1985 to present
Making of the American Mind – 1993 to present

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Connect (Frequently Asked Questions)

Created By: Ken Pitts
Program Description


Frequently Asked Questions

Q:  Is it an honors program?

A:  Yes, it is.  We didn't start out with that idea, but after listening and responding to where the interest is, we switched over to an honors designation.  We had always designed an honors level curriculum based on depth and connection.  But we hesitated to name it honors per se since we are looking for leaders who want to make a difference and are passionate to make things better--for everyone.  All of the teachers have taught both honors and other course levels.

Q:  Are these AP classes?  Do I have to take those huge tests?

Lab GroupA:  The EARTH Academy courses are not AP classes.  They are designed with the idea of being hands-on and project driven.  Some things to keep in mind regarding AP classes:
  • Not every college/university accepts AP credit.  Check carefully--your dream school may not .
  • You are likely to do best in those courses that you excel it and that is also what you may be inclined to make your career.  Many college/universities only use AP test scores toward elective credit and not toward your major.
  • Many people take AP classes--very few people will have the advantage of an on-line portfolio (via Gambassa) to show the actual work that they have done.  This will set you apart and catch the eyes of college admissions counselors
  • And you can challenge the AP test without taking an AP class.  We can help you do that.  If you are successful, you would the advantages of both--AP credit and an online portfolio.

Q:  Will I still have to take Health, P.E., Arts, and a foreign language?

A:  Health is a state requirement, so yes, you will have to take that.  EARTH Corps 3 meets the visual arts requirement. There is room in your schedule to take a sport, another PE , and a foreign language.  Keep in mind that it is possible for students to take some of their courses on-line or at the local community college. 

Q:  Will I be able to participate in extra curricular activities such as band, theatre, or sports?

A:  Yes, the idea is to give you some room to allow you to be involved in some of the other things Santiago has to offer.  But you may also have to make some choices.  Doing both band and sports may not be an option.

Q:  I don't know what I want to "be when I grow up."  Do I have to decide now?

A:  Actually, that is sort of the old way of thinking.  It used to be that people worked for one company (or at one kind of job) for almost their entire working life.  The current thinking is that you will probably have five to seven different careers--not just jobs--but very different and distinct careers as you go through your life.  That means that your ability to learn quickly, become adaptable, and apply new knowledge as you go is crucial to how successful (or not) you will be.  We will help you learn the skills you will need to be effective.

Q:  Santiago is really big.  I don't know much about it yet and I'm not sure how to find out.

A:  Yes, Santiago is big and that makes it kind of overwhelming at first.  Although there are different kinds of groups on campus to connect with, it does take time to make the connections that are the right ones for you.  We are hoping that you will find what we offer to be a good fit for you and that you will make EARTH your home.

Q:  Who are the EARTH Academy teachers for my freshman year?

A:  Mr. Ken Pitts for EA Biology Honors, Ms. Diana Twiss for EA Language Arts Honors, and Ms. Katherine Kononchuck for EARTH Corps 1.  You can see their pictures and read about them on our "meet the teachers" page.

Q:  Can I start after the year has started?

A:  Unlikely.  It depends on if there is still space available to add another student.  If we are full, you could get shut out.  If there are lots of people who are interested, we can add more sections (classes) to cover the interest, but we need to know that right away.  We can't expand once the school year has started, so it would be better to sign up now.

Q:  Can I quit if I don't like it?

A:  Yes.  But be aware that the EARTH Academy is not a revolving door--if you find that you need to take a different path, you probably won't be able to change your mind and come back later on.

Q:  Can I start my sophomore/junior/senior year?

A:  Probably not.   While we would be willing to look at each individual case, we designed the courses to build one on the other.  Starting in the middle, without the foundation, makes it harder on everyone.

Q:  What if I am not a leader?

A:  People tend to think that the person standing up and making a speech is the only way to lead, but there are many ways to make a difference.   Finding your personal strengths and how to best use them are ways in which everyone can create and lead the way into a sustainable future.

Q:  What will we be doing in our classes?

A:  We are designed to be as paperless as possible; project and discussion based.  The curriculum emphasis is on critical thinking, making connections between discipline and ideas, and working toward a sustainable society--what that means, and ways to start the journey.  We do not have all the answers--no one does.  But we are willing to explore the questions and learn with you since this is a rapidly changing and growing topic.

We are working hard to connect to the community for field trips, hands-on experience, internships, and connections to the world outside the school walls--by going beyond the gates, and by bringing the outside world into the classroom.  

Q:  Will there be a big project like in Skull Island?

A:  While some of your projects will be integrated similarly to Skull Island, there are multiple smaller projects, events, and activities as you progress through the E.A.R.T.H. Academy.  The Academy has a focus on sustainability and green collar careers, a part of the economy that is currently growing and expanding.  Our "big project" is to help our community and the world move toward a diverse, safe, healthy, and just world with clean water, air, and soil, powered sustainably, that is economically, equitably, and ecologically enjoyable for everyone.

And that is just for starters...!

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Connect (Get Involved)

Created By: Ken Pitts
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Get Involved

It is our hope to build a community of students, parents, educators at all levels, community members, and business working together toward the common goal of sustainable living.  We have a variety of methods to do that.  These include:
  • being a guest speaker
  • attending events and meetings
  • working with us on projects
  • donating your time and expertise
  • referring others who are on the same journey
  • growing a vegetable garden
  • reusing, recycling, reducing waste, and repurposing
  • overcoming NDD (Nature Deficit Disorder)
  • joining our ning
  • and things we have not even thought of yet...

Corona Water Treatment

Please email Katherine Zook (kzook@cnusd.k12.ca.us) or Ken Pitts (cnusd.k12.ca.us), contact any of the E.A.R.T.H. Academy teachers, or call the school at (951) 739-5600 x2301.  We will add you to our contact list (which we will never, ever sell--that is a promise).

To join our ning (currently by invitation only), contact Katherine Zook (kzook@cnusd.k12.ca.us)  Don't know what a ning is?  Contact her anyway and find out.

Come join the journey!  An adventure awaits!

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Connect (How to Join)

Created By: Ken Pitts
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How to Join

If you are interested in becoming a student with us, you will need to make sure that your counselor knows that you wish to sign up for the EARTH Academy.  This may involve marking the correct box at the top of your schedule request form as well as telling your counselor.  In any event, you need to double check your schedule when you receive it during freshman orientation.  If it is not correct (or if you are not sure it is right), you need to have your parent(s)/guardian contact your counselor right away.

If you (or your parents) still have questions to help you decide or need some additional help, feel free to email Katherine Zook (kzook@cnusd.k12.ca.us)  or Ken Pitts (kpitts@cnusd.k12.ca.us).  You can also call the school and leave a message (915) 739-5600 x2301. During the summer break, you are better off using email since we can check that from our homes and smart phones. We can not access the school voice mail unless we are at school.

Hope to see you in class!!!

Join EARTH Academy

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What is Coming?

Created By: Ken Pitts
News and What's Coming?


What's Coming?

PARENT/STUDENT Informational Meeting

We will be having a student/parent information meeting on May 16, 2011 at 7:00 pm in room F-202 at Santiago High School.  There will be a brief presentation and then your teachers will be there to answer any questions you may have.  Hope to see you then!

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