On October 20, 1913, the year before Beverly Hills was incorporated as a city, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors heard a petition of the parents of school children residing in the Beverly Hills area to provide better facilities than those offered under the Los Angeles school system. The petition further requested that a new school district be formed, to be known as the Beverly Hills School District. The Supervisors granted the petition and created the district.

Mark Keppel, the county superintendent of Schools appointed Mrs. Alice Hunnewell, Henry J. Stevens, and Charles B. Anderson as school trustees. The Board immediately took over the support and supervision of the Canyon School. The Rodeo Land and Water Company agreed to advance the funds for personnel and supplies to furnish a portable building and to provide a 4-acre school site farther south in Beverly Hills, upon which a permanent school was to be erected.

The Canyon School was a one-room portable school bungalow, topped by a belfry like a church, and it stood in a bean field north of Sunset, at the entrance to Coldwater Canyon. On June 23, 1914, the electors of Beverly Hills met formally to exchange school sites, when Rodeo Land and Water Company deeded to the school district a 3.98-acre tract of land at the corner of Elevado and Gwendolyn Drive ( later renamed Rexford), in exchange for the school lot north of sunset.

On June 29, 1914, bids were opened for the construction of the new building, and designed by Architect W. J. Dodd, and in the fall of that year Mrs. Wood, three teachers, and the handful of students moved to the new school, called Beverly Hills Grammar School, but later to be named Hawthorne School.