Seniors step up with ‘Anchor’ website to aid FHS security

A pair of Farragut High School seniors have stepped up and created a website which, to this point in the 2017-18 school year, is increasing security at FHS according to principal Ryan Siebe.

Tyler Senter and Dennis Ross were team members of the two-time East Tennessee high school champions in CodeTN competition, which challenges students to create a website to solve a community problem.

Building on their success, Senter and Ross took on the task of “hall pass” security by developing a digital process, a website called “Farragut Anchor,” to track students’ movements when excused from class for a few minutes.

The practical reason for this is simple — decrease the number of bomb threats the school had received, especially during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years.

A hall pass was simply filling out a piece of paper until this school year. “We would have no record of where they’d been and when they’d left or anything like that,” Senter said. “With the creation of the website we now can keep those records online securely. … The exact time they signed out and the exact time they signed back in.

“And that’s not information the student enters, it’s done automatically. A student can’t fake that information,” he added. “If something like [a bomb threat] happened again, it would be much easier to figure out who was not in the classroom and where they were — if they were in the area of where the incident occurred.

“It keeps all records. Any administrator at any time could access it. … For example, they can see where anyone is. If they’re not in their classroom, they see where they are or where they’re supposed to be.”

Senter said he and Ross “kind of noticed, considering the issues we had for two [school] years — consecutive bomb threats where we would take hours out of each day and have to go down to the [football] field and evacuate.

“After awhile it got annoying, especially if it got too hot or too cold and you’d sit out there for hours,” Senter added.

Further explaining a key purpose for this new digital tracking system in the presence of Siebe and Curriculum principal Candace Greer, “We could figure out who had done it, or at least a frame of people we knew could have done it,” Senter said.

About the website, which also includes development of a more efficient system from which to assign and monitor lockers, “We had a few teachers who actually requested something like this,” Senter said.

“For security purposes it’s an excellent tool to make sure that we know where students are at all times,” Greer said. “And also being able to find a student if they need assistance.”

Ross “started in the fall of [2016] and I finished up the spring of [2017] developing a website that basically students sign themselves out and get approval from a teacher when they leave the classroom,” Senter said. “It takes about five seconds of the teacher’s time, so it doesn’t really interrupt the flow of class anymore.”

With the former paper system, “Every time someone had to leave the room the teacher had to stop class and fill out and sign [the pass], and it was just a big wasted of time,” Senter said. “And it disrupted class. It was a very inefficient method.”

Looking ahead, Ross said, “Once we graduate we’d like to have people who know how to expand on the website and add stuff.”

“I was approached around the end of the last school year by Ms. [Brenda] McGrath, one of the teachers here, and she asked me about locker assignments … if I’d be interested in making a website for it,” Senter said. “I said ‘yes,’ and over the summer Dennis and I developed a website, which combines the two.”