Introducing 5th-8th graders to computer science and coding, with an eye towards equity, access, and excellence.
The Youth Coding League is the only fully packaged program built for schools that introduces 5th-8th graders to computer science and coding, with an eye towards equity, access, and excellence.
The Youth Coding League is an extracurricular program that brings critically important, future-ready skills to the students who need them - presented in an approachable, fully supported format for schools that runs each fall and spring semester.
A structured regular season introduces key computer science principles in a project-based learning environment, with students learning new computer science concepts each week and applying them in a project. Students showcase their new skill set in a competitive postseason with big prizes on the line.
The Youth Coding League runs within a wide variety of public and private schools across the U.S.
The Competitive Element
During the 9-week regular season of the Youth Coding League, coders work through a structured, progressive curriculum that teaches key computer science principles like events, arrays, variables, if/then statements, loops, and more, completing a project each week. Youth Coding League staff score those projects and upload the coders’ progress to their player profile at YouthCodingLeague.com, where coders can showcase their hard work, track their progress, and see how they stack up both individually and as part of a team across the league, bringing national-level competition to all of the participating schools.
After a regular season full of skill-building, coders group up and build a project that includes everything they learned that season. This project is entered into a bracket-style virtual competition at YouthCodingLeague.com in the Community Favorite and Technical Merit categories. In the Community Favorite category, one project is selected by each school to represent that school as their champion. That project goes head-to-head against other school champions, with the projects with the most votes advancing from round to round, with school communities supporting their YCL teams by encouraging parents, teachers, and students to vote. Technical Merit-track projects advance to the next round based on scores received from professional software developers who anonymously evaluate projects for code proficiency and skill. Winning teams are shipped prizes like Go Pros, drones, laptops, cash, and more, to reward them for their hard work.
Benefits of the
Youth Coding League
The Youth Coding League addresses computer science and programming education needs for students and schools alike.
- The computer science knowledge students learn in the Youth Coding League instill logical thinking and problem-solving skills, empowering students to take part in the digital workplace of the future.
- Computer science helps students improve across all academic disciplines, imparting resiliency, persistence, and systematic thinking.
- Computer science skills are widely applicable, 21st-century skills that contribute to a well-rounded, academically comprehensive student.
- The Youth Coding League addresses the lack of teachers on staff at schools with coding knowledge.
- The fully-packaged program resolves the lack of time and resources schools have to develop a STEM program for their students.
- The Youth Coding League provides an opportunity for students to participate in project-based learning while honing their STEM skills.
Don't Just Take
Our Word For It
“I knew that if given a chance, my students could be successful not just at basketball but with keeping up with the 21st century skills they so desperately need. I also knew that THIS opportunity could open doors for my students. It could inspire, motivate, challenge, and change students.
“I wanted to take a moment to try and explain the changes I have seen in my students who were in YCL. I have students that I’ve barely heard their voices. Faces who just float in and out of school, doing well, but just going to the motions day to day. I have seen students with severe behavior and anger issues try and make good choices so they can stay in YCL. I’ve seen students who have had attendance issues WANT to come to school. I’ve seen students who barely smile burst into laughter! I’ve seen students who did not fit in find their niche. Students who were shy are more open and outgoing. Students who have had issues with their grades or keeping up with their work be proud of themselves because their grades have improved. Those are just some of the changes. Changes directly related to being in YCL.”
- Cristy Crites
teacher and Youth Coding League facilitator, Scott County Central Schools
The YCL Difference
Preparing for the future.
While only 18 percent of computer science majors are women and 25 percent of IT jobs are held by women, about 50% of Youth Coding League coders are female.
25% of Youth Coding League coders are non-white/minorities. We’re committed to making sure that Youth Coding League teams look like the schools they’re in, and determined to make sure that minorities are equally represented in one of the fastest growing, highest paying industries.
70% of our Youth Coding League teams are located in rural communities with no other access to computer science than our program.
2/3s of the students on Youth Coding League teams are on free and reduced lunch programs. We are driven to serve students who need this opportunity the most.
Impact Statements from Students
"I learned that I can do hard things."
"I learned that sometimes computer science can help people with problem-solving in school. I learned that I am smarter than I thought I was during YCL."
"I learned that computer science doesn't have to be hard or complicated if you take it in small steps."
"Some things I learned about myself, by coding, was that I am really smart and can do things I thought I would never do."
"The most important thing I learned was to not give up."