BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - There are 182 school days in the 2015-2016 year, and Thursday begins day one in East Baton Rouge Parish.
New superintendent Warren Drake expects great things this year. He met with 6,000 school employees for a sort of pep talk ahead of day one.
"We can do it, I promise. We can do this," he said.
Very simple words used to energize the crowd.
"Every year I get jittery," said Lamar Watson, a teacher at Park Forest. "It's excitement to see the new kids, a lot of new teachers, new faces. I'm looking forward to it."
From bus drivers and cafeteria workers, to teachers and principals, Drake said every person plays a role in molding the lives of the students.
This year, the EBR system has a new motto: One Team. One Mission.
Drake said it means each person is just as important as the next when it comes to educating the 43,000 students in the parish.
"Create an environment in your classrooms, in your schools that is so good our children want to be there," he said to the teachers.
While he admits mistakes are going to happen, he said what's important is staying positive, regrouping and then trying again.
"I want my students to be focused on learning," said a new teacher to the parish. "Just taking their education to the next level."
That, Drake said, can only be done if everyone works together. He used Dr. Martin Luther King's speech on street sweepers to drive that point home. In it King says:
If everyone tries their best everyday, he said there's no stopping the district.
"Can we get better? Absolutely and we will," said Drake.