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How Berlin High School Reduced Student Behavior Referrals by 45% with SmartPass

“SmartPass has been one of the most impactful investments we've made in the last five years here at Berlin High School. The biggest difference for us is that we see fewer students where they shouldn't be and more students where they should be—which is in the classroom during class time.”

Berlin High School
Using SmartPass Since 2022-23
Using SmartPass For

Student Accountability, Bathroom and Hallway Passes, Encounter Prevention

Bryant Bednarek
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Berlin High School in Wisconsin needed a better way to manage hall passes while increasing student accountability. Specifically, school administrators wanted to reduce the number of behavior referrals and foster a more positive school environment.

During the first year of implementing SmartPass, Berlin High School issued 45% fewer behavior referrals to students. Curious about the hard numbers? Bryant reported 94 "major behavior referrals" the year prior to implementing SmartPass. After the first full year with SmartPass, that number dropped to 52! And with just two months left to go this school year, they're sitting at only 18. 🤯

Read on to learn how Berlin High School transformed their school with SmartPass.

Before SmartPass

Like many schools, Berlin High School faced typical behavior management challenges and issues monitoring student movement. Bryant Bednarek, Principal at Berlin High School, describes: “We were seeing a lot of problems in our hallways, a lot of problems in our bathrooms—vaping, students loitering in the bathrooms during class time, saying they were going to the bathroom, the same students in the hallways every period.”

Further complicating the issues was that each teacher had their own way of managing passes and bathroom breaks, making it difficult to track student movement and the number of times students left class.

“All of our teachers had their own system. There was no universal system within our school, so we had no way to communicate or track student movement. For example, we would have a student who would go to their first-period class, sign out a pass, and be gone for 15 or 20 minutes. Then the student would sign out again during their second class and that teacher had no idea that the student had already used the pass for 20 minutes."

Implementing SmartPass

One of the main reasons Principal Bednarek selected SmartPass as Berlin’s digital hall pass solution was how easy it was for his teachers to learn and use.

“It was really important to me, at the forefront of all of this, that my teacher's momentum wouldn't be interrupted. The implementation was pretty easy because our teachers didn’t have to do anything extra in the process to make it work.”

Principal Bednarek led the implementation with help from the school secretary and support from his SmartPass customer success manager.

The school sent letters home to inform students and families about the new process. “Most of our students make good decisions at Berlin High School,” Bednarek emphasized. SmartPass wasn’t meant to be punitive and penalize students for coming back to class 30 seconds late. “But when the pass goes from green to red, and now we see you’ve been gone for 15 minutes … that’s a cause for concern and we’ll need to address the issue.”

To get a hall pass, students first get verbal permission from the teacher. Then the student creates and displays the pass on their Chromebook, not their phone—promoting better focus and reducing distractions.

Positive Impact Results

SmartPass now enables Berlin High School educators to monitor and communicate student movements throughout the building.

Within the first full year of using SmartPass, behavior referrals related to hallway and bathroom issues decreased from 94 in the previous year to 52—a 45% reduction. Year-to-date data shows ongoing success with behavior management, with only 18 behavior referrals as of April.

“We don't see the hallway wanderers anymore. If you walk into a bathroom, you don't see a mob of ten kids standing in there and hanging out or vaping or doing other things they shouldn't be doing in a bathroom. The biggest difference for us is that you just see fewer students where they shouldn't be and more students where they should be, which is the classroom during class time,” Bednarek explained. “Our instructional strategies don’t work if they aren’t at their desk! SmartPass has helped us address this problem.”

Notably, SmartPass has helped curb bathroom vandalism in the school building. “Students have learned that when we do have school bathroom vandalism situations with sinks or dividers ripped off the wall, it's really easy to find records of who is out of the classrooms at that time."

The student data in SmartPass also helps prepare for parent meetings and allows us to work together to improve student accountability. “We can go into a parent meeting or an IEP and say, ‘Hey, your child has missed 17 hours of class time instruction within the last two months and that's a problem we need to fix.”


SmartPass has helped foster a more positive environment at Berlin High School. With significantly fewer hallway and bathroom disruptions, students are spending more time in class.

SmartPass’s digital hall pass solution has been instrumental in promoting responsible behavior among students. Overall, SmartPass has not only streamlined record-keeping but has also fostered a culture of accountability and academic engagement at Berlin High School.

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