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Building the fourth century of Friends education at Abington Friends School.

Now in its fourth century of operation, Abington Friends School has adapted and innovated to meet the ascendant needs and opportunities of each successive generation—and that is no less true today. We are witnessing a profound transformation in the way teaching and learning take place, led by revolutionary new research in cognitive development regarding our best practices, and a renewed commitment to a shared vision of equity, inclusion and dignity. 

To meet these needs, a forward-thinking approach to teacher development is crucial. This is precisely what The Fourth Century Center at AFS embodies: Support for a full range of faculty learning, study, and innovative initiatives to keep our school at the forefront of meaningful growth in an ever-changing educational landscape.

Serving the AFS community, the landscape of Friends education and the world more broadly.

The Fourth Century Center at AFS is a state-of-the-art center for research, development and professional learning to power innovation, growth, and change. The center is led by a team of directors braiding together the strands of our current strategic plan: experiential learning; equity, justice and engagement; and student support and wellbeing. This team works closely with one another and across divisions to promote cross-curricular learning opportunities; promote the use of educational research in teaching; and develop programmatic offerings for students to broaden the horizon of their experiences.

Programs and Ongoing Work

Research and Design Fellowships

Fourth Century Fellowships provide funding for faculty to develop and fast-track transformative research-informed programs into AFS classrooms.

Inquiry Lab

The Inquiry Lab is a collaborative research group that examines important educational topics in the Quaker tradition of discernment. The group tackles important issues in Friends education over the course of a year.

Faculty Innovation Fund

The Faculty Innovation Fund is available to faculty to apply for trip expenses or supplies intended to pilot practices or experiences before formally introducing them to their classroom or curriculum.

Abington Friends School is well positioned to lead in adapting Friends education for the world our children are growing up in, and that leadership should be centered in a systemically supported spirit of discovery, creativity, collaboration and ongoing learning of an exceptional faculty.

Rich Nourie, former AFS Head of School

If you are interested in collaborating with the Fourth Century Center at Abington Friends School, please reach out to Adena Dershowitz, Director of the Fourth Century Center and Experiential Learning, at

We extend our immense gratitude to the many donors who support the Fourth Century Center through the Fourth Century Fund at Abington Friends School.