CTE Teacher Field Trip to RCP Block & Brick

Written by Alyssa Burley.

RCP Block & Brick, a manufacturer of hardscape products and masonry supplies in Southern California, hosted Career Technical Education (CTE) teachers from the Grossmont Union High School District on Wednesday, May 25, 2016.  The field trip was organized by Project Cornerstone who is working with the district's CTE specialist to ensure the construction aggregates and related industries are included in the local CTE programs. 

CTE programs are designed to train high school students to enter the workforce or continue onto college after graduation, with the skills they need to be successful in today's job market.  Through educational paths in manufacturing, transportation, building and construction, engineering and architecture, and others, students graduate with skills that make them ready to enter the workforce.  Project Cornerstone is bridging the gap between high school CTE teachers and the industry in order to ensure there is a skilled workforce interested in the aggregates and related industries in the future.  Currently, most CTE programs do not educate students about the industry.

The field trip began at the RCP Block & Brick corporate offices at the Lemon Grove location.  Kathy Olsen and Craig Finch from RCP Block & Brick introduced the teachers to RCP's history and provided a tour of the offices, retail store, products and displays. 


After the tour at the Lemon Grove location, the group headed down to the Otay manufacturing plant.

The teachers toured the mechanic's shop to learn about the types of transportation jobs available in the construction aggregates and related industries.  The teachers asked questions and learned the skills employers want to see in new hires.

They also met the dispatcher who tracks and coordinates deliveries.


The group toured the building where concrete blocks are manufactured.


At lunch, the group of teachers listened to Matt Pound from Escondido Materials talk about engineering and the industry. 

After lunch, the teachers tested their masonry skills by building a concrete block wall.

Overall, the CTE teachers enjoyed the RCP Block & Brick field trip and each one took something positive away from the tour.

Photos by Alyssa Burley.

To be involved in future CTE teacher field trips, as a guest speaker, or offer internships, contact Crystal Howard at (619) 284-8515 or crystal@project-cornerstone.org.

Avocado Elementary In-Class Activity

Written by Alyssa Burley.

On Tuesday, May 24, 2016, Project Cornerstone's Crystal Howard and Alyssa Burley, along with Hanson Aggregates' Eric Inouye visited Ms. Gillis' fourth grade class at Avocado Elementary School in El Cajon, CA.


The students learned about construction aggregates (i.e., sand, gravel and crushed stone) used to product concrete and asphalt products, and how they are used to build our communities' infrastructure.

In small groups, the students tested two aggregates samples using a sieve.  One sample included river sand and the other had beach sand.  They were able to determine river sand is best for making concrete.

Then, the students made their own small batches of concrete.  Each student choose a mold to pour their concrete into.  Once the concrete was hard, they were able to take them home. 


Photos by Alyssa Burley.

Teacher Workshop: The Science and Economics of Concrete

Written by Alyssa Burley.


On Saturday, May 7, 2016, elementary and middle school teachers gathered at the San Diego County Office of Education in Linda Vista for Project Cornerstone's Teacher Workshop: The Science and Economics of Concrete.

The teachers learned about construction aggregates (i.e., sand, gravel and crushed stone), how the ancient Romans transformed concrete into a revolutionary building material, the economics of trade, and the science behind concrete.

Teachers participated in several activities that they can implement in their classrooms. 


Thanks to the generous support of the workshop sponsors, each teacher was given supplies to help them implement the activities in their classrooms.  Each teacher received:

  • Lunch
  • Sieve Analysis Starter Kit
  • Science of Concrete Kit
  • Access to online background materials
  • Sample history and economic-related activities

Photos by Alyssa Burley.

Career and College Fair at Diego Valley Charter High School

Written by Alyssa Burley.

On April 29, 2016, Project Cornerstone had the pleasure of participating in the Career and College Fair at Diego Valley Charter School in El Cajon, CA.  High school students attended the event to learn about possible career paths and higher education opportunities.

Photo by Alyssa Burley.

Photo by Alyssa Burley.

Project Cornerstone's Construction Aggregates booth was highly popular among the students.  Many of them didn't know what construction aggregates were when they first walked up to the booth.  However, by the time they left, they were saying things like, "wow, I never thought about this as a career."  Others commented how they thought "this industry is really cool!"

Students learned about the various careers from heavy equipment operator, to engineers, geologist, lab technicians and more.

Project Cornerstone looks forward to participating in future career and college fairs at Diego Valley Charter.  

Cajon Valley Middle School Field Trips to Enniss Inc. in Lakeside, CA

Written by Alyssa Burley.

On April 15th and 26th, 2016, Project Cornerstone coordinated two field trips to Enniss Inc. for about 70 students and 12 teachers and parents, from Cajon Valley Middle School in El Cajon, CA.

Enniss Inc. is a unique construction company that has a variety of divisions that include sand and material sales, and construction material recycling.  Students toured the Lakeside facility where they learned about the quarry, processing and recycling plant.

The students broke into small groups and visited various stations.       

Students learn about the heavy equipment used at the facility.

Heavy Equipment.

Heavy Equipment.

They learned about asphalt and broke open geodes.

They blended their own amended soil and planted a flower, which they were able to take home.

Amended Soil.

Amended Soil.

Students also made their own small batches of concrete and formed them into various shapes using silicone molds.

Broken Geodes.

Broken Geodes.

Concrete Projects.

Concrete Projects.

All the students, teachers and parents enjoyed the hands-on field trip.

Thank you to Enniss Inc. for opening your facility to these students.

Photos by Alyssa Burley.

TEDx Event at Greenfield Middle School

Written by Alyssa Burley.

Project Cornerstone hosted two workshops called "The Science and Economics of our Earth's Resources" at the TEDx event hosted by Greenfield Middle School in El Cajon, CA on Saturday, April 16, 2016.

The workshops included a brief history about how the ancient Romans revolutionized the use of concrete to build their cities' infrastructure.  The attendees participated in a trade activity where they learned about the value of a commodity and it increases with trade.  They also made their own concrete projects to take home.

Photos by Alyssa Burley.

Photos by Alyssa Burley.


Career Day at Mountain Empire High School

Written by Alyssa Burley.

On March 11, 2016, the Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce hosted Career Day at Mountain Empire High School in Pine Valley, CA.  Along with the high school students, sixth, seventh, and eight grade students from Campo, Descanso, Jacumba, Pine Valley and Potrero also attended the event.

After an inspirational speech from former National Football League middle linebacker Chris Washington, students visited booths presented by 22 companies in a wide-range of industries.  Students were encouraged to ask questions about the industries and possible careers options.

Visitors to the Project Cornerstone booth learned about the local construction aggregates industry, various careers, education and training requirements, and the science behind concrete.  Plus, students made their own concrete stars to take home.  Project Cornerstone's Alyssa Burley and Jamie Metivier were there to answer questions and lead the students through the concrete activity.

Photos by Alyssa Burley.

Photos by Alyssa Burley.


Pit & Quarry Magazine Features Project Cornerstone

Written by Alyssa Burley.

In its March 2016 issue, the 100 year-old Pit & Quarry magazine features Project Cornerstone's construction aggregates-focused educational programs and community outreach efforts.

The article explains how Project Cornerstone serves "as a bridge between the community and the industry it knows little about," writes Allison Barwacz.

Barwacz covers the Project Cornerstone field trips that take students on tours of local rock quarries, and the educational activities that are designed to meet their science curriculum.

Through Project Cornerstone, students are enlightened about various careers within the aggregates industry.  The potential shortage of future industry employees is mentioned by Barwacz and backed up with data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Barawcz highlights how Project Cornerstone's teacher workshop is designed to equip "teachers with the tools necessary to teach their students about the aggregates industry."

“It’s very clear that the general public does not understand the construction aggregate industry and how it impacts them,” Barwacz quotes Crystal Howard, executive director of Project Cornerstone.  “Mining, in general, is a scary word to the public when you first bring it up. This program has really opened the eyes of students, their teachers and the general public that sand and gravel is really the cornerstone of their community.”

Read the full article.

About Pit & Quarry
Launched in 1916, Pit & Quarry magazine serves the multi-billion-dollar aggregates mining industry.  It serves as the leading equipment and technology media source for the crushed stone and sand-and-gravel industries, offering readers relevant information about the latest industry news.

Pit & Quarry offers a monthly magazine, as well as a weekly newsletter and online platform that provide a constant stream of equipment and technology information and news.

Presentation at the San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce Business and Education Committee Meeting

Written by Alyssa Burley.

On Friday, March 18, 2016, Alyssa Burley from Project Cornerstone spoke at the San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce Business and Education Committee meeting. 

Alyssa introduced the group to Project Cornerstone's mission, the organization's recent and upcoming activities, and discussed the May 7, 2016 Teacher Workshop.  The group was receptive to her message and the organization's educational programs as they are in-line with the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) emphasis in East County schools.

The Business and Education Committee is designed to allow business leaders, educators and administrators to collaborate.