Student Email Sync


May 31, 2016

Project Summary:

Business Objective:

To pull automatically generated student email addresses from our MS SQL data warehouse and push into production PowerSchool instances in multiple states.

What I Built:

A ruby script that connects to our data warehouse using an ActiveRecord adapter for SQL server, dynamically queries student records, and converts them into the expected format with a custom JSON serializer. Then it uses Faraday HTTP client to make a call to the PowerSchool API (one per instance in CA and TN) to request a token for authentication. Once authenticated, it sends the JSON request body to the API and returns a response set of success/error messages which are logged locally. The program is integrated into our SSIS integration job server using a nice little PowerShell script to dynamically call the ruby script for each state’s data.

TL;DR: Wrote a ruby script that syncs 15,000+ student emails between a data warehouse and production PowerSchool servers in mutliple states on a daily basis.

Made With:

Code Samples:

Select methods from the API class demonstrating how the program connects to the PowerSchool API and updates student emails.

# @oauth is a class variable that stores the configuration file secrets
# not exposed here for obvious reasons

  def connect
    # open HTTP connection => @oauth['url'], => { => false}) do |faraday|
      faraday.request                 # form-encode POST params
      faraday.adapter  Faraday.default_adapter    # make requests with Net::HTTP

  def access_token
    result = do |request|
      request.url "/oauth/access_token"
      request.params['client_id'] = @oauth['id']
      request.params['client_secret'] = @oauth['secret']
      request.params['grant_type'] = 'client_credentials'
    # return token from JSON result

  def update_student_emails(body) # takes JSON as the body param
    # POST request body of student emails to PowerSchool API
    result = do |request|
      request.url "/ws/v1/student"
      request.options.timeout = 3000 # open/read timeout in seconds
      request.options.open_timeout = 10 # connection open timeout in seconds
      request.headers['Accept'] = 'application/json'
      request.headers['Content-Type'] = 'application/json'
      request.headers['Authorization'] = "Bearer #{access_token}"
      request.body = body

    # Return human readable JSON result
    parsed = JSON.parse(result.body)
    pretty = JSON.pretty_generate(parsed)

Ruby method for seralizing student emails from SQL to JSON. The PowerSchool Student API expects JSON in a non standard JSON format. That is why custom serialization is needed.

See PowerSchool API Documentation under “Update Students > Request Body Example”

def self.serialize_student_emails(state)
  # client_uid is the PowerSchool ID and id is the DCID
  studentArray = []
  query = sanitize_sql_array(
    ["SELECT * FROM dbo.StudentEmails WHERE State = ?", state]
  connection.select_all(query).each do |record|
    studentArray << {
      'client_uid' => record['client_uid'], 
      'action' => 'UPDATE', 
      'id' => record['id'], 
      'contact_info' => {'email': record['email']}

  studentHash = {'students' => {'student' => studentArray}}
  # return as JSON body

PowerShell script: ssms_job.ps1

# This is run from an SSMS job task step
$erroractionpreference = "Stop"

try {
  Set-Location 'C:\powerSchoolApi\app'
  # Ruby executable location called from Rails Installer
  $RUBY = 'C:\RailsInstaller\Ruby2.2.0\bin\ruby.exe'
  & $RUBY 'application.rb'
catch {
  throw 'The application encountered an error. See logs for further explanation.'
  exit 1