DUNLAP, TN (WRCB) - We've been seeing all the back to school ads, but for some local students, Thursday was the day.

Sequatchie County is the first school system in our area to return to school, although students just went a half day. Some parents weren't happy about the early return, but school officials say it's necessary.

Sequatchie County Superintendent Johnny Cordell says returning a few days earlier than other local school systems comes down to allowing time for a fall and spring break, plus up to 12 snow days since a lot of their students live on mountain roads.

"So we have to work all that into our schedule because we've got to have 150 days plus before we can take TCAP test," Sequatchie County Superintendent Johnny Cordell said.

Students were required to come for half the day Thursday to get any first-day-of-school issues worked out.

"When they come back to school Monday, they won't have to do any of that, they'll be ready to go to work Monday," Cordell said.

Last year, the district was named among 21 exemplary schools in the state for most improved.This year, the K-8 TCAP scores were down, mostly in reading and science.

"We got some areas we need to work on. We did well in some areas, and some areas we got to work on so we'll concentrate on that," Cordell said.

Parents have mixed reactions on sending their children to school the first day of August.

"I prefer the buses not be on the road when the yard sale is going on. They could wait a little longer, at least until the middle of August," parent JoAnn Rich said.

"It's nice having all the children at home during the summer but I'm a stay at home mom so it's nice for me to get a little break for myself," parent Michelle Barker said.

Sequatchie County students do not go to school Friday, only teachers. Monday will be their first full day of classes.