Abington School District Announces Record Gift of $25 Million from Alumnus Stephen A. Schwarzman for Transformation of High School
Alumnus Stephen A. Schwarzman, Chairman, CEO and Co-founder of Blackstone, will donate a landmark gift of $25 million to Abington High School to support the addition of a new science and technology center and allow for a full-scale renovation of the 1950s-era high school building. As part of this donation to his alma mater, Abington will revamp its existing curriculum to ensure students are prepared for the nation’s fastest growing industries and motivate the next generation of global leaders for the challenges of the future.
The expanded and innovative curriculum will emphasize the skills needed to compete in the evolving workforce, helping prepare students for jobs of the future. Changes will include required classes in computer science and coding beginning in the seventh grade, with computers provided upon opening of the renovated building for use both in schools and at home. Additionally, the new curriculum will give students more flexibility to choose classes across a range of subjects and specialties, providing greater exposure to a variety of fields. Complementing these changes, Abington High School will also expand school counseling services so that children have the opportunity to explore their career interests earlier in life, with the goal of looking beyond just degree attainment.
With this curriculum shift and building expansion, grade levels will be redistributed across the District. Sixth grade students will move from the District’s seven elementary schools to Abington Junior High School — which will also be updated to become a middle school — and ninth graders currently in that building will move up to the High School.
“This year marks the 130th anniversary of Abington School District, and throughout our history we have dedicated ourselves to preparing more than 8,000 students per year for the future, including Mr. Schwarzman,” said Dr. Amy Sichel, Superintendent of Abington School District. “We appreciate his recognition of our student successes and are grateful that he is supporting Abington High School through this generous donation as we embark on an exciting new chapter for our students,1,000-plus District staff members and the entire School District community.”
“Ninety percent of America’s youth attend public schools, which means investing in public education yields one of the best returns imaginable — a new generation of creative, capable and collaborative future leaders who are prepared to succeed in the evolving workforce,” Schwarzman said. “I owe a debt of gratitude to Abington High School, and passionately believe that the next generations of students are entitled to an education that provides the tools needed to prepare them for future success. I call on others to join me and invest in public schools, in an effort to spark a much needed shift in how we support the more than 50 million students receiving a public education today.”
Schwarzman’s philanthropy has been defined by impactful gifts in support of education, and this donation is considered to be the largest ever given to an individual public school. Other major gifts he has contributed have included $150 million to establish a new student center and performing arts hub at Yale University, $100 million to support the transformation and renovation of the New York Public Library’s main branch and funding for the construction of a new stadium at Abington Senior High School.
The $25 million gift announcement will be made at the National Conference on Education of The School Superintendents Association (AASA) in an effort to kick off the organization’s new campaign, “I Love Public Education,” a yearlong initiative designed to highlight why public schools are essential to developing and educating future generations. Sichel, along with Raymond McGarry, President of the Abington Board of School Directors, will join Schwarzman at the National Conference on Education for the announcement.
For more information about the High School additions and renovations project, please click here.