Detroit schools offering chance for prizes to students who show up for 'Count Day'

District giving away iPad Minis, bikes, giftcards


DETROIT – Every back pack, every pair of sneakers, every student… counts! Wednesday is count day for public schools across Michigan. Bottom line: the more students in attendance, the more money that district receives from the state. A day that's become critical for Detroit Public Schools. 

"Every day is important, but count day is particularly important," said Steve Wasko, spokesperson for DPS. "We need to make sure we don't leave a single dollar on the table that's why we're taking this very seriously." 

That's why the district is offering special incentives to ensure every student possible shows up to class.

From giving away new bikes, gift certificates, iPad minis, to even hosting a special lunch called "Eat to Win on Count Day" -- it's all to help boost attendance. 


"This a meal you would serve on a special occasion," said Wasko. "The kids will receive BBQ chicken, baked macaroni and cheese, peach cobbler. Still healthy but a little more elaborate then you'd find in our typical cafeteria experience." 

The buses rolled up to McKenzie Elementary and Middle School just after 8 a.m., packed with students. All of the students knew it was a special day. 

"Today is count day and that means everyone has to go to school," said 10-year-old Angel Montgomery. "We need to learn and study everyday so we can understand college." 

Wasko tells Local 4 roughly 8,800 new students enrolled in DPS this year, but the question remains how many left? That's what the district is hoping to determine when the count day results come back in few weeks.

Prizes on count day in Detroit:

High Schools

Each school will have a pre-determined number of prizes available consisting of Ipad minis and $10 Walmart gift cards.

Each student will be given a pre-printed attendance passport card which will have their name and student ID bar code printed on the front and signature lines for teachers to validate attendance for each class on the back. Students will be able to get their passport cards signed and scanned when receiving lunch on Count Day.

Approximately 1 out of every 4 students will win a prize.

Cards must be turned in to the Office of School Nutrition during lunch on Thursday October 3. Office of School Nutrition staff will randomly select the predetermined number of cards to determine prize winners.

By no later than October 10, staff will distribute prizes to each school for delivery to winning students with a sign-off acknowledging receipt by students, which must be returned to the Office of School Nutrition by October 17.


K-8 Schools

Each student who receives lunch on Count Day will have their names entered into a database that will be used to randomly select two names, at each school, to win a bike.


Pre-K classrooms

Students who attend Pre-K will have an opportunity to randomly win $50 Gift cards in all Pre-K Classrooms.


Second Chance Program

Students who attend the Second Chance Programs will have an opportunity to win an iPad Mini.