WATCH: Philly School Kids Built These Legit Websites

Ever hear a middle schooler talk about HTML and JavaScript? Coded by Kids students do. And with much fervor.

Coded by Kids students. Photos by Fabiola Cineas.

This fall, Coded by Kids is doubling down on its high school coding program, Pathways into Tech. After celebrating its fourth anniversary last month,Coded by Kids, which is becoming Philly’s signature tech education program, says its current priority is expanding the high school offering to 20 schools by the end of the year.

So how are things looking so far? Due to contributions from local companies, individuals and organizations, the program has raised enough money to fund programs at 15 high schools. Here’s who’s chipped in and the schools they’ve got covered: 

  • Councilman Allan Domb, the program’s biggest supporter, contributed enough funds to support four schools: Thomas Edison, Bartram, YesPhilly, and Roxborough.
  • Paoli-based e-commerce company Turn5 is funding the program at both Kensington Health Sciences Academy and Dobbins.
  • Digital marketing company EliteSEM has covered both Penn Treaty High School and South Philadelphia High School.
  • Stitch Data, Michael Byrnes and Message Agency have teamed up to fund Strawberry Mansion’s program.
  • Real estate agency Quad Philly is funding the program at Parkway Northwest.
  • The Kopelman Foundation has the program at the Workshop School covered.
  • Uber has jumped in to cover the Academy @ Palumbo.
  • Funds from Alan Lindy, Chris Wink and Jeff Bogle will fund another school that’s to be determined.
  • Plus, it’s rumored that actor Will Smith and brother Harry Smith will fund three schools, including the former’s alma mater, Overbrook High School.

With this list, Coded by Kids would need to fund the program at four other high schools to meet its goal. That means they need $60,000 per year for three years, Coded by Kids COO Maggie Deptola told Philadelphia magazine. If the organization reaches its goal, 300 high school students in Philly will be in a Coded by Kids Pathways into Tech program.

Recently, Coded by Kids raised more than $10,000 toward that $60,000 goal through a $20 for 20 schools campaign the program launched in September. The organization urged the community to donate just $20, and tech leaders and community members jumped in to match funds.

Report after report suggests that finding the right talent for tech jobs is a growing problem. Coded by Kids founder Sylvester Mobley says the 3-year coding program addresses the tech skills gap because it equips students with all the development skills, programming languages and project experience they need to obtain entry-level positions in the tech industry.

At a recent Coded by Kids fundraising event, I sat down with a few students and their families to see what they’ve built through the program. And while showing off their projects, they explain exactly why they think the program matters. If you’ve never seen a middle schooler talk code, prepare to be wowed.

Tenth-grade student Ravi explains why he joined Coded by Kids.

Ravi shows us a few of his projects.

Seventh-grader Devin Cramer breaks down HTML.

The Cramers explain why they like Coded by Kids, and Devin tells us what he plans to do with his coding skills.

Devin has a special message for his peers.

Student Colin Ryan tells us why she chooses to code.

Eighth-grader Zion Morgan-Taylor shows us his website.

Zion tells us why he likes the idea of a career in tech.

Zion has a message for other kids and for adults.

Follow @fabiolacineas on Twitter.