An all-girls charter school would immerse students in math, science, and technology to prepare them for careers often dominated by men, under a plan approved by the Chicago school board in December.

The proposal for the Young Women’s Leadership Charter School—to be housed at the Illinois Institute of Technology—is one the most “innovative charter school plans we have ever seen,” school board president Gery Chico said.

The school would open next fall with sixth and ninth graders and expand over three years to accommodate 500 students in sixth through 12th grades. When fully developed, the school would require seven years of math, science, and computer technology.

“The whole idea here is to help close the gap in technology-related careers that exists for women, especially minority women,” said Joan Hall, a lawyer and member of the committee of professional women in Chicago that developed the school concept. “We can get the students, but we have to make it interesting for them and we feel like we can do that.”

Enrollment would be open to girls around the city, but most are expected to be minority students from the surrounding neighborhood on the city’s near South Side, officials said.

The school is expected to work closely with science-related institutions such as the Argonne National Laboratory and the Illinois Math and Science Academy, officials said.