Crossroads News

Crossroads Celebrates Founders Day

School marks 50th anniversary of founders signing its Articles of Incorporation.
Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences is more than just a school. But until 50 years ago today, Jan. 25, Crossroads was only just an idea. In the fall of 1970, a group of parents approached Paul Cummins, then headmaster at the elementary school St. Augustine-by-the-Sea in Santa Monica, and Rhoda Makoff, the elementary school’s assistant headmaster: They wanted a secondary school that would offer the same progressive, child-centered education that Paul and Rhoda had developed at St. Augustine. Excited by the idea, Paul, Rhoda and a newly formed Board of Trustees took the first step in making that vision a reality by signing the Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences’ Articles of Incorporation on Jan. 25, 1971—now celebrated as Founders Day.
Certified by then-Secretary of the State of California Edmund G. Brown Jr., the Articles of Incorporation granted Crossroads permission to operate as a school in the state. They were signed by Paul and Rhoda and Trustees J.M. Edelstein, Ed Kaufman, Linda Elstad, Gerry Sherman, Peter Swerling and Barry Rubens.
“People look at the School now, and they say, ‘Paul, what a visionary!’ And, I say, are you kidding me? The vision in those days was to get from Monday to Tuesday!” says Paul, jokingly reflecting on the occasion.
When Crossroads first opened its doors in September of 1971—to three rooms of a Baptist church on Pico Boulevard in Santa Monica—it welcomed just 32 seventh and eighth graders. Rhoda served as its first director and Paul as the School’s educational consultant.
Now, with nearly 1,200 K-12 students on two campuses and almost 5,000 alumni, Crossroads has certainly grown, in ways both anticipated and surprising. Paul never imagined the School housing a world-class music program in the Elizabeth Mandel Music Institute or being an athletics powerhouse. Other signature features of the School were there from the beginning. Paul and his co-founders prioritized developing a diverse student body and included this goal within the School’s five founding commitments. As Paul recalls, “Our dream was to have a truly integrated school from day one.”
“It’s pretty awesome to see how [the School] grew and developed ... and that each of the head people took it in a slightly new but still consistent direction,” remarks Rhoda. “And I have to laugh because it was always quirky. And when I go back and visit now, it still strikes me as just a little bit quirky. … I love that!”
This morning, K-12 Drama Teacher Scott Weintraub paid tribute to this momentous milestone with a surprise song about Founders Day. (Click here to check it out!) And more 50th anniversary celebrations are coming up, from a not-to-be-missed virtual 2021 Parent Association Spring Fundraiser to additional surprises in the 2021-22 school year. Stay tuned for details!