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.

  • Erin Murphy

    Erin graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with degrees in International Relations and Journalism andMass Communication. A spunky, travel-loving human rights activist with a passion for education, she met her husband (5th Grade Teacher Dylan Porter) while studying in Moldova as a Fulbright Scholar. She has extensive experience helping students to prepare for standardized tests, including the ISEE. In the past Erin has also worked to help students complete their university applications.  Together, these experiences give Erin a strong frame of reference for working with 6th Grade students at Carlthorp School and for helping families navigate the secondary school application process. She enjoys sharing with students the experience she has acquired in her years working with government agencies and managing operations for non-government organizations in places such as India, the Czech Republic and Nepal.
  • Nadia Shields

    Nadia grew up in a military family and lived in Europe, Asiaand throughout the United States.  This fueled her interest in geography and other cultures. Teetering between science and pre-law, she graduated from the University of California with majors in History and Russian Literature and a minor in Science. Harkening back to her days in elementary school when she set up a classroom in the garage and paid her sisters and their friends out of her allowance to sit through her Saturday lectures about why “ph” actually makes an “f” sound and the myriad ways to begin a composition, she realized that the classroom is what she loved. She taught for 13 years in Northern California.  She also found time to earn a Master’s of Science in Counseling and an Administrative Credential at California State University, Sacramento. A few years after moving to Southern California with her husband, the Reverend Dr. Charles Shields, and two young daughters, Sarah and Elizabeth, she earned her PhD in Administrative Policy from UCLA. Dr. Shields has been a teacher at Carlthorp School since 1991. Her passion for the classroom remains unabated. In her spare time, she teaches Sunday school, sings in her church choir, jogs, travels, reads, writes, dances, and bakes. She also loves going to movies.
  • Ausra Venckus

    A native of Los Angeles, Ausra was born and raised in the foothills of the Angeles National Forest.  She attended Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy in La Canada Flintridge and matriculated, not far, to UCLA where she double majored in International Development Studies and in History.  While in college, Ausra enjoyed the opportunity to study in France at the American University of Paris. Ausra’s first professional classroom experience was in a private K-8 school in Seoul, South Korea, teaching both in-person and remote English classes.  Ausra later studied 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 and her teacher certification. Sunny California lured her back home to teach in Brentwood at St. Martin of Tours School.  Ausra became the Math Department Chair and taught grades 5-8 advanced math.

    Ausra has been a teacher at Carlthorp School since 2015.  She is delighted to funnel her past towards Service Learning, math, ELA, and the expansive global studies curriculum that is a hallmark of the Carlthorp School 6th grade experience.

    A fun fact about Ausra is that she is a dual American-Lithuanian citizen and frequently travels to her other motherland.  She has an overwhelming TASCHEN art book collection (she worked in the Beverly Hills TASCHEN gallery for a few years). Ausra loves the challenge of hiking Mt. Whitney, San Gorgonio, and around Denali.  She named the six hummingbirds who swirl around her balcony and has a baby foster orangutan in Borneo named Trudeau.
  • 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.
  • 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 two Carthorp School students. Derrick’s career in education began seven 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.