Creating a student portal for the UN International School

How Softr and Airtable were applied at the United Nations International School to build a portal for students' emotional support.

un international school portal home page


Pascal is a School Principal at the United Nations International School in New York, and for quite a while he had been wondering how to create a student database to effectively provide emotional support to the students and what technologies/platforms should be used. He has years of experience in the field of education and has often participated in implementing internal tools to support efficiency, working closely with developers and using his dual perspective as an education expert and tech specialist to provide valuable feedback. He has also tried to learn from the use cases in the private sector (how technology was applied to solve different problems) and see how these solutions can be applied in the context of education. For his latest project, he was wondering how to create a student database for his division to keep track of incidents at school and the students' need for emotional support. The portal was supposed to support the whole process from identifying the problem to communicating with stakeholders, proposing solutions, and so on. After some extensive research and looking into different solutions, Pascal and his team ended up with Softr for creating the portal. So, let's see how Softr was able to address their needs and what results they've been able to achieve so far.

united nations internationl school portal student directory

Why Softr?

At first, Pascal was considering some custom solutions, most of which were platforms for creating internal tools for schools or universities. However, due to the big number of limitations and an insufficient level of customizability, Pascal and his team started looking for other options that would rather enhance their capabilities than limit them and lower the expectations. So, they started looking for a platform that would serve as a database, and Airtable turned out to be a great option. On top of that, they integrated zzBots and Integromat to add some automations. However, one of the main goals was to effectively share and communicate all the information among the stakeholders (e.g. School Psychologist, Assistant Principal, and others) and to do that, the Airtable database needed to be linked to a user-friendly interface which would also allow to register users and provide different levels of access based on user roles. Thus, Pascal and his team started thinking of ways to create a student portal website that would allow the stakeholders to log in and track all the relevant data.

Therefore, Pascal started looking for a solution that could accomplish all the above-mentioned tasks and could also be integrated with Aritable. After examining a few options, he came across Softr, started reading reviews and playing around with the platform, and realized that he had found what he had been looking for.

"I felt confident that Softr was going to be our solution, Interestingly, the more I am using it, the more I realize that not only the platform allows me to design the solution I had in mind, but it opens unanticipated possibilities, true enhancements of the initial solution."

Pascal Vallet, School Principal, United Nations International School

According to Pascal, some of the biggest advantages of Softr are its user-friendly interface and the possibility to create an appealing design and smooth user experience. He also mentioned that the option of defining different levels of access for any block or page turned out to be extremely useful.

“The fact that I can allow different users to access different information is brilliant. The School Psychologist and Assistant Principal can see all the students’ cases, while the counselors see only the grades they are in charge of. Homeroom teachers track their own students, and specialist teachers access all the students they're working with from all the different homerooms.”

Pascal Vallet, School Principal, United Nations International School

Pascal is also excited with the new editing functionality that allows users to edit Airtable records from the Softr interface. Previously, he had to provide some stakeholders with access to Airtable bases to enable data editing, but now he can just define specific edit permissions for each role, and logged-in users will be able to modify the data directly from Softr.

united nations internationl school portal student directory

Current results and next steps

Pascal and his team are really satisfied with what they've been able to achieve so far and have already gotten some positive feedback from different parties involved. First of all, the head of school has been very supportive of the project and has encouraged Pascal and the team to continue working on the database and platform to perhaps apply it school-wide in the future. The support team, who are the main users of the platform, are really excited to use the platform and appreciate the possibilities of data collection and communication among stakeholders.

As already mentioned, chances are high that the platform will eventually be applied school-wide, so Pascal is really optimistic about it. The team is actively collecting feedback from all the user groups to think of ways to improve and enhance the platform. In addition, the school staff is thinking of developing a similar platform for academic support in the future.

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