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Count Day At City Year Detroit

At City Year, we know the importance of having kids in school each and every day, which is why our Whole School Whole Child programing focuses on attendance alongside other key elements such as academic support and social-emotional learning support. But we also know that Count Day is extremely important to schools, especially the systemically under-resourced schools that we support in Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD).

“There’s just a hard, truthful reality to making sure that students are there that day,” said Nikolai Vitti, superintendent for DPSCD in a recent Detroit Free Press article. “But we want to try to build that culture so that that’s happening every day, for students in school.”

February 9th was Count Day for the district, a vital day for Detroit and the nearly 900 school districts and charter schools statewide. This is one of two days in the school year in which student attendance helps determine how much state aid schools receive. Every student who is absent equals a loss in the per-pupil grant schools receive, which amounts to $7,670 from the state for each student.

As we work towards building more equitable schools for all, we understand that Count Day is a BIG deal. We are thrilled that our dedicated partners have stepped up this year to help provide incentives for students to be in class on Count Day and every day of the year.

Adam Scanlon, City Year Detroit senior impact manager serving at Durfee Elementary-Middle School and Central High School, says that attendance is one of the biggest challenges of the 2021-22 school year. He came up with a plan to collaborate with his school’s Team Sponsor, Taco Bell, to create a one-of-a-kind incentive. On Count Day, his City Year team distributed 150 free Taco Bell coupons to students who were present for the big count. Taco Bell went a step further and donated 700 additional free taco coupons to use during the remainder of the year, which will be used in a monthly attendance raffle for students who are in school every day.


Bethune Elementary-Middle School also joined forces with their Team Sponsor, the Detroit Lions, to level up the Count Day incentives. The Detroit Lions donated over 500 goodies, including foam fingers, footballs, journals and more! Jonaz Bryd, City Year senior impact manager at Bethune, said, “Daily attendance improves student performance and – especially during the pandemic – allows us to maintain social-emotional connections with classmates and teachers that truly help our students’ mental wellbeing. Learning can be fun every day, especially when showing up and winning great prizes.”

Thank you to our generous partners for participating! If you would like to find out how you can support attendance programs alongside City Year Detroit, please contact

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