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 to Camp Ocean Pines strengthens the ties among all the members of the graduating class as they learn during “hands-on” ocean-themed experiences.
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.
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.”
A “Walk Through Ancient History” focuses on Greece, Rome, and Egypt while, closer to home, 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.

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 continues as students journey to Washington, D.C., where they meet with lawmakers, policy experts, NGOs, and journalists to learn more about their chosen causes. The service learning experience culminates in the spring after students return from the D.C. trip, having been empowered by their ability to discuss topics with lawmakers and field experts.  All are motivated and eager to finalize their project ideas.

Class of 2017-18 Service Learning Groups

List of 4 items.

  • Climate Change

    The students in this group learned about how climate change is impacting our environment, here in California and around the globe. They worked to raise awareness and promote the idea that every person has the power to reduce his or her carbon footprint to take action on this issue.
  • Endangered Species

    The pangolin is the world’s most trafficked animal, yet the majority of the world’s population has never heard of this adorable, scaled mammal. This group of students worked to raise awareness about the poaching of the pangolin and its use for (scientifically unsound) medicinal purposes.
  • Child Labor

    From the strawberry fields of California to the garment factories of Bangladesh, children around the world are often forced to work to help provide for their families. The students in this group advocated for increased labor inspections, corporate transparency pledges, and greater adherence to, and enforcement of, child labor prevention legislation and policies.
  • Gender Equality

    This group worked to understand the plight of students across America who encounter discrimination based on their gender identity. By spreading awareness about real people and their stories, the students’ ultimate advocacy goal was to encourage enforcement of the Safe Schools Improvement Act.

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

    This is Polly’s third year teaching at Carlthorp School. 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. In her free time Polly loves to read, spend time on the beach and go on hikes.
  • 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.