FIRST LOOK: Code Ninjas works to prepare next generation of STEM students

Code Ninjas is hosting a girls-only coding event this Saturday.

Code Ninjas is hosting a girls-only coding event this Saturday.

Image description
Code Ninjas
Image description
Code Ninjas
With four children of their own, Matt and Gina Hyman said they saw the need for better access to science, technology, engineering and math—or STEM—programs for elementary and middle school-aged children in their hometown of The Woodlands.

“We have four children, and two of them are really into gaming, and we noticed a lack of cohesive coding available here,” Gina said. “The high schools have coding programs, but there isn’t anything for the younger kids, and as a parent I wanted to see something that everyone could have access to.”

To fill this gap the couple opened a Code Ninjas franchise in the Cochran’s Crossing Village Center on June 2. At Code Ninjas, children ages 7-14 learn to code—also known as computer programming—through a game-based curriculum. Designed like a karate dojo, the students begin at a white-belt level and move up the ranks to black belt with the end goal of creating an app.

Gina said the curriculum typically takes three to four years for the average student to work through.

“Coding is another language, and just like it would be advantageous for someone to learn Spanish, learning how to code puts you a step above the rest,” Gina said. “By 2020 there are going to be 1 million jobs in the tech industry and only 400,000 qualified applicants. We’re just trying to prepare our kids for the jobs of their future.”

The facility offers drop-in learning, which allows children to attend Code Ninjas for two hours each week. Parents can choose what hours they would like their children to attend and can pay for the classes on a monthly, six-month or annual basis. Hyman said drop-in learning can cost anywhere from $159-$235 depending on which package a family chooses.

The facility also offers an after-school program and summer camps, which follow the Conroe ISD calendar. Within two weeks of their grand opening the Hymans said Code Ninjas already had 86 summer campers as well as 30 founding families in the drop-in learning program.

“We would love to see some more girls in STEM because it is definitely more male-based,” Gina said. “I’m working to get some female speakers to come in to get more female involvement, but we have several girls at camp already, and they’re rocking it.”

The Hymans also said they have free gaming passes for any family who is interested in Code Ninjas to see if the dojo is the right fit for their child.

“We like the ‘try it before you buy it’ model because it allows parents to ask questions and get a tour of the facility, and it allows the kids to see what the dojo is like and if they’re interested in the games,” Matt said.

Matt said, in addition to STEM skills, Code Ninja also teaches children broader proficiencies, which can be applied outside the STEM field.

“When the kids go through each achievement level, they’re building self confidence, working on problem-solving skills and critical thinking, and learning how to collaborate with each other,” he said. “We’re trying to give them skills that can translate to whatever career path they may choose.”

In the future the Hymans said they hope to open a second location in the Magnolia area.

“We’re happy to be here, and we’re just hoping that our service is well received by the community,” Gina said. “I’m excited to see who will be the first student to earn their black belt and what types of apps our kids will create—they’re only limited by their own creativity."

4747 Research Forest Drive, Ste. 195, The Woodlands
936-628-9641
www.codeninjas.com
Center hours: Mon.-Fri. 1-7 p.m.
Student hours: Mon.-Fri. 2-7 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
By Hannah Zedaker
Born and raised in Cypress, Texas, Hannah Zedaker graduated from Sam Houston State University in 2016 with a bachelor's degree in mass communication and a minor in political science. She began as an intern with Community Impact Newspaper in 2015 and was hired upon graduation as a reporter for The Woodlands edition in May 2016. In January 2019, she was promoted to serve as the editor of the Spring/Klein edition where she covers Spring ISD and Harris County Commissioners Court, in addition to business, development and transportation news.


MOST RECENT

The 1,535 new cases is the second largest number of new cases to be reported in a single day in the county, behind only the 1,994 cases reported June 22. (Community Impact Staff)
Harris County coronavirus count: 1,535 new cases, six deaths confirmed July 7

See the latest data on COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Harris County.

Steve Bezner, senior pastor of Houston Northwest Church on Hwy. 249, is one of four pastors who are urging pastors across the region to work together in seeking unity. (Anna Lotz/Community Impact Newspaper)
4 Houston-area pastors take steps urging racial unity across region

"We wanted to unite as many pastors as possible around some basic common denominators that we felt like could make a real impact in our city and move some things forward in the area of racial injustice in our city," said Jason Shepperd, the lead pastor of Church Project in The Woodlands.

The Texas Education Agency released guidelines about on-campus activities, attendance requirements, and health and safety precautions for the 2020-21 school year. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Texas Education Agency issues guidelines for 2020-21 school year

The guidelines address on-campus activities, attendance requirements, and health and safety precautions that should be enforced at Texas schools this year.

Grand Oaks Elementary School will open in August and will accommodate 900 students. (Courtesy LAN)
CONSTRUCTION UPDATE: Tomball ISD elementary school, agricultural science project center to open in August

Two projects from Tomball ISD's bond referendum in 2017 are slated to wrap up in August with additional facilities complete by summer 2021.

Montgomery County health officials are urging residents to wear face masks and practice social distancing. (Community Impact staff)
Montgomery County reports slight decrease in active coronavirus cases July 7

The total number of COVID-19 cases in Montgomery County increased by 104 from 2,550 on July 6 to 2,654 on July 7.

Memorial Hermann Texas Medical Center was rated the No. 1 hospital in Houston by the Massachusetts-based Lown Institute. (Ben Thompson/ Community Impact Newspaper)
Memorial Hermann Health System hospitals rank in top 10 in the nation

Six of the top 10 hospitals in the Houston area are part of the Memorial Hermann Health System.

Shows are scheduled every Thursday through July and early August. (Courtesy The Woodlands Township)
Rock the Row announces summer show series

Free concerts are still scheduled at Hughes Landing for Rock the Row.

(Courtesy Blessings Assisted Living Home)
Blessings Assisted Living Home set to open soon

A new senior living facility is taking residents in The Woodlands.

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller recently backed a movement calling for the reopening of winery and distillery tasting rooms and brewery and brewpub taprooms. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Museum scales back reopening, bar owners react to second shutdown and more: Houston-area business, community news

Read the latest news from the Greater Houston area on Community Impact Newspaper’s website.

In-person appointments for driver license renewal and replacement are now being offered at driver license offices across the state. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
Texas driver license offices reopen for in-person renewal, replacement services

The second phase of reopening announced July 7 expanded services offered at driver license offices.

New guidelines released by ICE require foreign students to take mostly in-person classes to stay in the U.S. on education visas. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
New U.S. guidelines require exchange students to take in-person classes this fall

The guidelines released by ICE require foreign students to take mostly in-person classes to stay in the U.S. on education visas.

The Texas Education Agency and Renaissance have partnered to give students unlimited access to enhanced digital books in English and Spanish. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Texas students given access to thousands of books, news articles for summer reading through TEA partnership

The Texas Education Agency and Renaissance have partnered to give students unlimited access to enhanced digital books in English and Spanish.