ST. LOUIS (AP) – A new charter school for girls in St. Louis will focus on math, engineering and technology while trying to close the gender gap in the male-dominated hard sciences.

Organizers hope to open the Hawthorn Leadership School for Girls in August 2015 with sixth- and seventh-grade classes and add one grade level each year. It’s expected eventually to serve 500 girls in grades six through 12. No location has been chosen.

The private Washington University will sponsor the school. Its founder is Mary Danforth Stillman, daughter of former Missouri Sen. John Danforth and niece of former Washington University Chancellor William Danforth. The university also sponsors a charter middle school in St. Louis.

The all-girls academy still requires approval by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

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