Origin Story: No limits to Integral

Helena Zhou, Staff Writer

With an entirely new schedule paired with a full return to campus, chances are you don’t know the bell schedule, most club meeting times or when the next sports event will be. Fortunately, Integral—a digital backpack mobile application—places all of this information at your fingertips.

Integral is currently run by Derivative, a software development startup founded by Patrick Cui, Matthew Kwon and Brian Hawkins, three Portola High School alumni and current students at UC Berkeley and UC Irvine. What started as their summer project in 2018 has since transformed into a full-scale application used by Portola and Northwood. Their goals have also shifted since then; though their initial purpose was to address Portola’s past lack of bells, Integral now aims to provide a one-stop place for all student activities. With educational technology dominated by applications like Canvas and Aeries, the Derivative team hopes to fill the void for non-academic activities that are equally crucial to a high school experience. 

“When I moved to Irvine in middle school, I was eager to get involved, but I didn’t know how to,” Cui said. “I wish I had an easy way to discover and navigate school events, so that experience inspired my vision for Integral.” 

The app has had its shares of triumphs and challenges. The original app, Portolapp, was specialized for Portola and competed in the 2018 Congressional App Challenge, winning first place in California’s​ 45th Congressional District. The next year, however, was marked by the team’s disagreements in vision, leading to the departure of a founding team member and the creation of a duplicate app under the name Status. Ultimately, this incident as well as issues with bugs strengthened the team’s resilience, allowing them to expand to Northwood and positively impact the lives of thousands of high school students.

“I like that Integral keeps everything in one place,” senior David Xing said. “I wish I had this as a freshman so I could get a better sense of what opportunities there are at Northwood and interact more with the school community.” 

Among Integral’s features are a display of the day’s bell schedule with a schedule dial counting down to the next schedule item, a calendar with school events and sports games, a digital ID card holder, a bulletin with announcements from school administrators and a list of clubs and their descriptions. 

Around November, a sports feature is planned to launch on Integral, where students can view all athletic games, set reminders to attend games and view information on athletes. The team is also working to incorporate school news directly onto the app, including displaying articles from The Howler, as well as barcodes to check into events requiring an RSVP. 

If you encounter a bug while using the app, the Derivative team encourages you to report it on the settings page. Additionally, if you’re interested in contributing to the app, reach out to the team at [email protected]