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Dordt College News

Dordt launches center to support Christian education

November 1, 2013

Dordt College has received a $1.375 million commitment from the Sid and Carol Verdoorn Foundation that will create a new organization to support Christian schools throughout North America. The Center for Advancement of Christian Education (CACE) was announced at the opening session of the 2013 Andreas Center Conference at Dordt College on Thursday evening, October 31. The conference, which runs through Saturday, focuses on the task and impact of Christian education.

The center aims to help innovate, improve, sustain, and promote Christian education at the primary, secondary, and college/university levels.

“CACE is designed to be a difference-maker in the important work of educating the next generation of Christian young people,” said Dordt College President Dr. Erik Hoekstra. “The model is to become an information hub and provider of consulting expertise to Christian schools. The center will serve school boards, school leaders, teacher leaders, parents, and churches as a clearinghouse for Christian education innovation.”

Education Professor Dr. Tim Van Soelen will serve a half-time appointment as director of the center, and five to seven Fellows will work on behalf of the center, visiting and helping Christian schools with their needs.

“It is an exciting time to be involved in Christian education,” Van Soelen says. “We are seeing a new generation of parents choosing Christian education for great reasons—discipleship, formation, academic excellence, and the common good.”

But, he says, there are also challenges: “We are seeing some Christian schools closing for a variety of reasons including declining enrollments, financial crises, and perceived or real academic issues. The Center for the Advancement of Christian Education could not come at a better time—there is much work to do!”

Dordt College is uniquely positioned to host CACE. With a small army of alumni involved in Christian schools as leaders, teachers, and parents, Dordt is well-equipped to serve Christian schools that desire assistance through the center’s mission.

Dordt’s Provost Dr. Eric Forseth sees the launch of the center as a unique opportunity to advance the cause of Christian education.

“Good leaders matter,” Forseth said. “The absolute best investment a school system can make is to recruit, develop, and retain the best school leaders and teacher leaders. One of the branches of the center will focus on sustainable mentoring programs that take advantage of our current educational leaders, partnering them with future educational leaders."

With an exemplary undergraduate teacher education program and master’s programs in School Leadership and Teacher Leadership, Dordt has internal experts available for schools to tap into and understands how Christian schools work.
Dordt’s network of experts continues to expand from coast to coast with Christian school thought leaders and innovators. The center is designed to host such Fellows in meeting the unique needs of Christian schools around the nation.The center will be housed at Dordt College and expects to launch a new website in early 2014. Those with inquiries about its work can contact Tim Van Soelen at Tim.VanSoelen@dordt.edu.

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