Academically, the 6th Grade year continues to foster independence, refine study skills, nurture empathy, build leadership and prepare students for secondary school.
The “big kids on campus” enjoy their “Kindergarten Buddies” and share with them many special experiences. Our 6th Graders embrace their duties as role models and student leaders from the first day they put on their student-designed sweatshirts (an exception to the uniform for 6th Graders only!). The September retreat strengthens the ties among all the members of the graduating class as they participate in events focused on leadership skills and team building.
With a social studies curriculum that features both ancient history and international studies, by the end of the year all students learn and can locate on a map the name of every country and capital in the world and have experienced an in-depth study of the country of their choice.

Ancient Civilizations class focuses on the societies of Mesopotamia, Greece, Rome, and Egypt. A photo essay field trip asks student teams to create a visual representation that documents the hallmarks of civilization based on their observations of Los Angeles.
 
 
Big History is another component of the 6th grade experience that is a "big" hit with students. Big History is a program that was launched at Carlthorp by Mr. Williamson in 2017. It takes an interdisciplinary approach to examine history starting from the premise of the Big Bang. 
 
Current Events evolve into Toastmasters, during which students take turns speaking to the class on topics of their choice. These have ranged from “The History of Marvel Comics” to “A Study of M&M’s” or “Magic Tricks.”

Service Learning

Service Learning is a large part of the 6th Grade curriculum which culminates in a focus on student-driven projects. The seniors learn about the value of meaningful service, and teachers emphasize the importance of asking questions instead of making assumptions when it comes to meeting the needs of others.

Washington, D.C. Kid Unity / Service Learning Trip

The research and exploration typically continue as students journey to Washington, D.C., where they meet with lawmakers, policy experts, NGOs, and journalists. Due to COVID, our 6th graders have been unable to travel to Washington, D.C., for a few years, but we hope to continue this experience when it is safe to do so. 

Meet the Team

List of 5 items.

  • Sachi Hillson

    Sachi completed undergraduate studies at the University of Oregon and subsequently earned her Teaching Credential and Master’s in Education from Loyola Marymount University. She joined the Carlthorp School faculty in 2000 and spent a number of years teaching 1st Grade, 2nd Grade and then 5th Grade before becoming Head Librarian in 2009 with a Library Media Teacher Services Credential from California State University, Long Beach. Sachi is a proud member of the selection committee for the Judy Lopez Memorial Award for Children’s Literature. In 2015 she returned to the 5th Grade classroom and then moved to her current position in 6th Grade . In her free time Sachi enjoys going to concerts and exploring Los Angeles with her husband Michael and son Trent.
     
  • Ausra Venckus

    Ausra Venckus is a graduate of UCLA with Bachelor of Arts degrees in International Development Studies and in History, in part studying at the American University of Paris. Ausra began her education career in Seoul, South Korea, as a K-8 English instructor.  She later pursued advanced degrees at Columbia University Teachers College in the City of New York, where she earned her Master’s degree in Curriculum & Teaching of Elementary Inclusive Education along with her multiple subject teaching credential. Sunny California lured Ausra back home to teach middle school math at St. Martin of Tours School in Brentwood, where she served as the Math Department Chair for several years.  Ausra has been a sixth grade teacher at Carlthorp School since 2015.  

    A fun fact about Ausra is that she is a dual Lithuanian-American citizen.   She has an overwhelming TASCHEN art book collection (she worked in the Beverly Hills TASCHEN gallery for a few years). When she isn't surrounded by books, Ausra enjoys surrounding herself with mountains.
  • Brent Vernon

    Brent was born and raised in Harrah, Oklahoma, a small suburb of Oklahoma City. He graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma with a major in Theatre Education. After that, he moved to Toronto, Canada, to work for a leading international children’s education NGO called WE as a lead program facilitator and motivational speaker. Following two years in Toronto he moved to Santa Monica. Mr. Vernon has been a teacher at Carlthorp School since 2008 with experience in Kindergarten, 3rd Grade, 6th Grade and lower grade drama classes. In his spare time, he enjoys writing and directing children’s plays, reading, watching documentaries (Won’t You Be My Neighbor? being his favorite), and journaling while viewing the sunset at Palisades Park.
     
  • Polly Weller

    Polly started at Carlthorp School in 2017.  She was born in Hong Kong and raised in Princeton, New Jersey. She attended Colgate University in upstate New York, where she majored in Latin. Polly then moved to London, where, after completing her teacher training, she taught the equivalent of 1st Grade for three years. After a total of six years in the U.K., Polly moved to Los Angeles and earned a Master of Education in Teaching from Pepperdine University. At CS, Polly has taught 5th grade and 6th grade. Polly spends her free time with her family, including her two sons, Freddie and Hugo.
     
  • Derrick Williamson

    Derrick was born and raised in the Detroit metropolitan area before repairing to Washington, D.C., as a matriculate of Howard University. At Howard, he earned his undergraduate degree in Business Administration. After graduating, he moved to Los Angeles and earned his master’s degree in African-American Studies at UCLA. He’s the proud father of a Carthorp School student and a Carlthorp School graduate. Derrick’s career in education began eight years ago as an assistant in a 1st Grade classroom at Lou Dantzler Elementary, a charter school in the ICEF network. Soon after, he earned his multiple-subject teaching credential and began as an Intervention Teacher at KIPP LA (Knowledge Is Power Program). Following that, Derrick taught in a Kindergarten classroom at KIPP Empower Academy, after which he moved to 1st Grade for three years and finally to 4th Grade for two years. Derrick will continue to teach 6th Grade at Carlthorp School while assisting with admissions.