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Cultivate a curious mind. Integrate a biblical worldview.

Illustration: Curriculum Science Training

Christian Schools International (CSI) offers a unique professional development program for K–8 teachers of science. This opportunity is limited to 35 teachers of science.

Cultivate a curious mind.
Integrate a biblical worldview.

Watch a video about past attendees’ experience at CSESA and how what they learned at the academy has enriched their science instruction.

More about CSESA

The Christian School Educators Science Academy (CSESA) is designed to support transformation of Christian science teaching to a practice-based culture. Understanding scientific study in the light of biblical revelation is vital. The Bible tells us who our creator is and explains our relationship to him, each other, and the creation, while science gives us some insight into how God acts in his creation. The Bible and science are complementary, together helping us understand God’s plan and purpose for creation. Throughout the training, attendees will examine a biblical perspective and discuss Christian responses to a revolutionary instructional model created by Van Andel Education Institute (VAEI) with the guidance of two trained biblical worldview facilitators and four lead teachers from CSI member schools.

About our facilitators

Susan Koppendrayer, Nationally Certified STEM Educator

Susan has been a Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) expert and science specialist for CSI since 2012. She worked with a team of educators to create the And It Was Good science resource and has worked onsite with schools to update their science curriculum. Susan is also a CSESA lead teacher mentor, assists with webinar training for science educators, and works with schools as they implement the Next Generation Science Standards from a Christian perspective. In addition to her role at CSI, Susan is a middle school earth, physical, and life science teacher at Avail Academy in Edina, Minnesota.

Ken Bergwerff, Worldview Facilitator

Ken has worked with CSI on various science education aspects since 2011. His work includes reviewing science publications, conducting webinars related to science teaching pedagogy, and developing content. More recently, Ken has participated in the CSESA by providing guidance on developing a distinct Christian perspective in teaching science, both at the training sessions and follow-up webinars.

In addition to his work with CSI, Ken is a professor of Science Education at Calvin College. Prior to teaching future teachers at Calvin, Ken spent 22 fabulous years teaching middle school science in Redlands, California and Grand Rapids, Michigan.

About our lead teachers

Susan Dykshoorn

Susan Dykshoorn teaches grade one at Abbotsford Christian School in Abbotsford, BC. Before attending CSESA she never saw herself as a science teacher but loved teaching reading and writing and integrating themes across the curriculum. Attending CSESA showed her that she was already doing science, and the training gave her additional support to engage and guide her students using the VAEI Inquiry Model. She considers it a great privilege to continue attending CSESA as a Lead Teacher coaching and learning alongside her peers. When not teaching, three wonderful children call her “mom”. She loves coffee in the morning, chocolate throughout the day and taking walks with her husband in the evenings.

Beth Boven

Beth has been a CSESA Lead Teacher for two years. She is in her tenth year of teaching and has been privileged to teach in a few corners of God’s world - Chicago, New York, Germany and India. Beth states that “I am blessed to teach middle schoolers at Calvin Christian School in South Holland, Illinois!” She is especially passionate about helping kids experience and fall in love with God’s incredible creation. When she is not in the lab with middle schoolers, Beth is experimenting on her own three children. Her husband is also a teacher and they spend their summers packing in travel and educational experiences for all!

Eunsub Cho

Eunsub works at the Potter's House School in the middle school building as a science teacher and a 6/7 merge class homeroom teacher for six years. He has a deep passion for teaching science. He likes seeing how our faith intersects and interacts with science and how science can be a faith-deepening activity of the people of God. This passion aligns very well with the intent of CSESA. This will be his third year as a CSESA Lead Teacher.

Amanda Ervin

Amanda Ervin has been a teacher for 16 years and at Phoenix Christian School for 13 years. She teaches many subjects including 7th and 8th grade science. For Amanda, the best parts of teaching are the students and being able to deliver quality lessons from a Biblical perspective. Amanda has been a CSESA Lead Teacher for three years. She enjoys visiting family and friends over the summer months and spending time with her husband and son.

Van Andel Education Institute
Grand Rapids, Michigan

For the last three years, Van Andel Education Institute (VAEI) has partnered with CSI in their goal to train K–8 science teachers on a unique model that transforms how they teach science. This model is known as VAEI's Instructional Model for Inquiry–based science.

VAEI designed their model for science instruction based on research findings that optimal learning of science occurs through a process of inquiry. Created from a mission to promote and strengthen education by providing opportunities for science teachers to more effectively engage their students in thinking and acting like scientists, the NexGen Inquiry model was born.

The NexGen Inquiry model incorporates the tenets advocated by, among others, Project 2061, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Science Education Standards, and the National Research Council (NRC).

To enable students to learn science through scientific practices and a process of inquiry, the instructional model supports the six strands of scientific proficiency as identified by the National Research Council (Taking Science to School, 2007; Learning Science in Informal Environments, 2009; A Framework for K–12 Science Education, 2012).

More About VAEI

Van Andel Education Institute is a Grand Rapids, Michigan based 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to advancing science education to increase the number of students choosing to pursue a career in science-related fields. Based in an 11,000 square foot innovation lab that is a learning center, the institute encourages exploration, testing, and refining practiced-based teaching and learning approaches with students and teachers in the fields of science and engineering.

VAEI is located at 216 N. Division Avenue, Grand Rapids, MI 49503.


CSESA: Frequently Asked Questions

The Christian School Educators Science Academy was formed to support creating a vision for exemplary teaching and learning in science with biblical worldview integration.

The Academy will take place November 14–15, 2019.

Applications are due by Friday, September 20, 2019. Applicants from CSI member schools who are accepted have an opportunity to receive $100 off their tuition costs if they apply by Friday, August 30, 2019.

The Academy will take place at the Van Andel Education Institute (VAEI) in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Holding the Academy at VAEI will add to the experience by allowing teachers to experience an amazing immersive environment.

The application process is open to all K–8 teachers of science who have three or more years of teaching experience. CSESA will accept twenty-five teachers from CSI member schools and ten teachers from non-member schools.

All interested teachers must complete the application form which, in addition to basic information, asks for three references and a completed essay question.

The tuition fee is $450 for CSI member participants selected to attend, unless the application is submitted by August 30, 2019, at which the fee is $350. For non-member schools, the cost for the Academy is $750.

The tuition cost includes the training cost, flight reimbursement (up to $500 USD for CSI members), lodging at Homewood Suites by Hilton Hotel, and most meals. For non-members, please note that this price does not include the reimbursement of traveling to and from Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Questions about CSESA? 

For more information, contact our director of product development, Rachael Heyboer.

Rachael Heyboer

Director of Product Development