Marysville Early College High School is growing every year.

Marysville Early College High School is growing every year.

The school welcomed its second class in the fall and has grown to nearly 300, offering students a science, technology, engineering and math focus with the opportunity to look into one of three pathways: engineering, biomedical and information technology.

"We'll add our third freshman class this year," said Principal Kathy McKinniss, adding the school will host 600 to 700 students when it has four grades.

Along with a STEM environment that focuses on teaching flexibility, collaboration, communication and self-sufficiency, students also have an opportunity to earn college credits before graduating from high school.

"Some kids at the end of their sophomore year will have 21 college credits," McKinniss said.

"What we're learning now will help us in college," said Jade Dusch, a sophomore.

Getting college credits wasn't a big consideration for freshman Trenton Ball when deciding up Early College High School. It was a chance to learn more about a possible future career.

"Really I saw an opportunity for engineering because that's what I want to go into," Ball said.

The IT pathway caught the eye of sophomore Hayden Turk, who is in his second year at the school.

"I really like it," he said. "It's really fast-paced. We're never just sitting around.

"We're always doing something," Turk said.

Along with the opportunity for college credits and a focus on a future profession, students also get to work with professionals in the field through community partnerships with companies including Scotts, Honda and Ohio University's College of Health Sciences and Professions.

Ball said he's enjoyed working with research and development people from Honda.

"Right now we're doing a design challenge," he said. "We're creating a car.

"They gave us a box with wheels on it and we design it. ...

"We have to design for two adults and two children; a design based on a family," Ball said.

Such hands-on activities are what drew Dusch to the biomedical pathway at the Early College High School.

"I just felt like there are more opportunities here and I like the aspects for hands-on learning," she said.

On freshman day in the fall, Sally Saindon said she loved working on a design challenge with others.

"It was a design challenge to build a robot powered by a toothbrush motor," the freshman said.

"It was fun and challenging."

School days typically include general courses high school students would take such as geography, biology and foreign languages. Pathways come into play in classes too, with course offerings such as principals of engineering or health-science and technology.

Grading is done differently at the Early College High School with students rated "not yet," "mastery" and "honors mastery." For the grading, students must demonstrate a mastery of the coursework and have an 80 percent to earn the credit.

Ball said the grading allows students lot of opportunities to pass tests and master subjects.

"It's nice to know you can push yourself and succeed," he said.

Accelerated learning is part of the plan at the Early College High School. A capstone project or internship is expected during a student's senior year.

Sophomore Jesse Boomstra said she hopes to be an intern with Honda.

Students can also get experience at the school as partners visit the school to talk about real world jobs. In the IT pathway, students can also learn with the district's IT staff, housed at Early College High School.

"The district IT offices are here and the kids work with them on the help desk," McKinniss said.

Biomedical students will get experience at the school with a wing nearly ready to open that will have hospital beds and technology.

"It will look like a hospital," McKinniss said.

Engineering students have large robots, machine welders, 3D printers and other tools to use, although some of the larger machinery won't be used until students are older.

"When I bring engineers in they say these are what we have in our factories," McKinniss said. "It reminds me of the Honda training facility."