SkilStak Coding Arts Helps Students Ages 8-18 Learn Computer Programming

SkilStak is a unique private school located near Town Hall in Cornelius, North Carolina (off exit 28), where we believe learning to code Jedi-style is not only a fun, empowering skill but an art form preparing students for life, college, and early job opportunities.

Word of Mouth

Congratulations you found us! Though newspaper articles have been written about SkilStak, we have done very little advertising other than local sponsorships and volunteer work. Most students have been referred by others or found SkilStak themselves. We get downright metaphysical in our belief students are led to SkilStak when the time is right. Is this the right time for you?

Small by Design

We like small. At a maximum we have 300 students per school (70 play/prep, 174 core, 56 pro) classes sizes range from 4 (the minimum) to 14 students. We are designed to stay small to maximize focus and attention. Exceptional students are hired as Gurus (teachers assistants) to ensure a 4-1 attention ratio in every class. Our classrooms are designed with partial separation to help adjust seating as needed for different student learning styles and sensitivities.


You won't find any way to register on this site and you never will. That's because we want to meet you first. There is simply no better way to understand your needs than to discuss them in person. You can read more about this in the Meet Us section.


Every course is carefully selected from current and future technologies that are real and relevant. In fact, special in development courses are regularly offered at a discounted rate to students by invitation as they collaborate with instructors to prepare and test new technologies and new course materials for them. As a result our curriculum and materials change much more quickly and organically than most every other school, almost too quickly some students lament, but this is simply the nature of technology and the pace of change is only increasing. To help keep up, we use the same systems to manage our code that we do to manage our course materials so changes are immediate and on-going. This is the closest thing to a text book SkilStak will ever have. The term "technology text book" is practically an oxymoron today.

Learning to Learn, Just in Time

Anyone who has spent any amount of time in IT knows the most important skill to learn is how to learn, often just in time to make the deadline. When combined with a solid foundation in logical thinking and creative problem solving just-in-time learning allows those in IT to quickly digest any relevant technology, understand it, and apply it productively. This is the most important thing any SkilStak student will learn.

Experienced Instructors

Every Core Block™ course is taught by instructors with more than five years professional programming experience. Code and Play™ and Code and Prep™ courses and camps are lead and taught by trained adults over 18. Most classes have one or more experienced Gurus (teacher assistants) who are selected from our most exceptional students to maintain our 4-to-1 student to mentor ratio.

While we support and assist traditional educational institutions we believe the best way to learn and teach is by using the same workflows and tools professionals and college computer science students do.

What Do You Want to Learn?

This is the hardest question any student ever has to answer at SkilStak. There's just so many fun technologies to learn. Do you want to become a master Minecraft engineer proficient with red stone, command-blocks, WorldEdit and resource packs? Perhaps you have never coded at all and want to start by making interactive text adventures and stories in Python and JavaScript. Maybe you are tired of gluing things on poster board for your school projects and want to ask your teachers to let you submit an interactive quiz game in Python or JavaScript or a web page in HTML and CSS with embedded video you've produced for your homework instead. With time you could learn Java to make your own Minecraft mods and Android apps, or Raspberry Pi and Kali Linux to do white-hat hacking, or even Golang to create commands and microservices for SkilStak for which you can be paid cash.

The best way to help you answer this question is, you guessed it, to talk to us in person so we can get a feel for your interests and aptitude. Then we can suggest something or, if we don't offer it, maybe you can help us develop a course around it. One of the main distinctions between SkilStak and other schools is that students are active owners and developers of the SkilStak course offerings. Here's a link to the current weekly calendar to give you some idea.


At SkilStak we have done a lot to create an extremely fun and intense learning environment and curriculum for a particular kind of learner, which isn't for everyone. SkilStak is a place where the right students want to be, not where they have to be. For this reason, and because of the high demand for SkilStak courses, the application process is selective and often involves a waiting list.

Who Can Apply

Anyone can apply but SkilStak tends to attract students that don't seem to fit in elsewhere or who are very bored with their current school. Most of us who work and attend SkilStak fall proudly on the spectrum between geek and nerd. Though we do sometimes accept adult students the style and course materials are designed with younger students in mind (roughly 8 to 18).

Applications are judged based on maturity, aptitude, dedication, and fit and SkilStak reserves the right to accept only those applicants we feel will benefit and contribute the most.

Meet Us

An application process starts with a conversation. Call 704-310-6778 or email Someone from SkilStak staff will explain things, answer questions, and ensure you understand where to find more information including pricing and expectations.

We take a highly personalized approach to registration and enrollment, no forms to fill out or buttons to click. This surprises some since we are a technology company but we feel the human connection is critical — especially during enrollment. Nothing should get in the way.

Schedule an Audit

If after meeting everyone still agrees SkilStak looks like something the applicant might want to commit to then we set up an audit and interview. This gives students a chance to see what it is like here, what is expected of students, ask questions from other students, and let staff evaluate the student. Sometimes more than one audit is appropriate. The first audit is free. If more are needed, subsequent audits have a $10 fee.


If the applicant is excited about beginning and receives staff approval the student can register in any available classes or put their name on the waiting list. Priority is given to currently enrolled and returning students. The process of registration involves first sending an email confirming the desire to register and for which courses followed by payment in person or by invoice including signed acceptance of the school policies form.

The only information required to register a new student is the following:

  • Name, phone and email of responsible party
  • Full name and birthday of student
  • A Google Gmail/Plus account and password* for the student
  • An email verified GitHub account and password* for the student
  • Optionally a Minecraft account and password* for the student

* Password information is optionally stored encrypted at the school to prevent in-class delays looking up forgotten login information.

Reading Required

In case you haven't noticed we expect students and parents to read, a lot. Reading is the single most important career skill any programmer, technologist, or responsible human will every learn — especially in this 140-character, TL;DR;, video-centric world. Today, those who read accurately and quickly will dominate their domains.

We know everyone is busy. You still need to read, this site, mailing list notifications, and lots of material on the Internet related to what you are learning. Google is your textbook. If you find reading painful or bothersome SkilStak is likely not for you. Start your reading practice today by making sure you read all this page before calling the number below. And yes, we will ask if you did *grin*.