I-STEM is an innovative, regional program for secondary students (Grade 9-12) in Halton and beyond. Students in this four-year program develop innovation skills related to engineeri​ng design and design thinking, entrepreneurial thinking skills and global competencies. Students learn to be prepared for technological change and disruption, globalization and shifting demographics.  ​​​

Stay up to date with I-STEM

Community partners in our ISTEM learning:

*TAB I-STEM Open House | Oct. 26, 2023

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What does “I-STEM” stand for?

I-STEM is an acronym where:

I represents “Innovation

HDSB’s current working definition of “innovation” is “the capacity to enhance concepts, ideas, or products to contribute new-to-the-world solutions to complex economic, social, and environmental problems”.

S represents “Science

T represents “Technology

E represents “Engineering

M represents “Mathematics

STEM are the skills to solve these problems. "Doing STEM is a way of thinking and doing - it is following the engineering design process of designing, creating and evaluating solutions to problems and questions and then doing it all again." (Nelson, 2019) 

What does the program look like?

View the program brochure for an outline of the I-STEM program. Grade 9 students work to develop their “Engineer’s Toolkit”. The framework for this toolkit in Grade 9 is the  Year 1 I-STEM Roadmap​. View the  Year 2 “Entrepreneur's Toolkit” Roadmap  and  Year 3 & 4 “Global Innovator’s Toolkit” Roadmap.​

How will students apply to the program?

Annually, application dates and information will be posted on this webpage.

Who is able to apply to the program?

The program will be open to students from the Halton District School Board and beyond who are entering Grade 9.

How will acceptance be determined in the program?

Applicants will also respond to three questions. The responses to these questions will also be considered. As there is a shortage of females pursuing STEM fields in post-secondary education, the panel will also look to ensure equitable representation with respect to gender.​

A random selection process will occur where there are more applications than spots available. If the student meets the application criteria, their application will be entered into a random selection process. In the random selection process, a computer will randomly assign a number to each applicant who has successfully met the application criteria for the number of available spaces. Please note that the random selection process is completed centrally at the board level and not at the school level. 

The process will identify students who will be offered available spaces as well as randomly assign a number to remaining students who will be placed on the I-STEM waitlist. 

My child has been placed on the waitlist, how do I find my child's waitlist number?​ ​

The order of students on the waitlist is random. School staff have no way of seeing any waitlists and, as such, cannot comment on where a student might be placed on a waitlist. ​

Can a student join this program further down the road (e.g. Grade 10 or 11)?

No. The I-STEM program is a four-year program, with entry in Grade 9.

Will there be a cost to apply to the program and/or an annual fee? ​

There will not be an application fee. There will be an annual program fee of $200 per year to support the additional opportunities for students in this program. Please contact the Principal of the I-STEM secondary school where you will be applying, if this fee would be a barrier for your child attending.

Will transportation be provided if my child is coming from outside the area?
No. The location of Aldershot High School is near the Aldershot GO Station and Aldershot is accessible via City of Burlington transit. ​For information about how to access Elsie MacGill Secondary School, visit the Milton Transit website ​for public transit routes. For information about how to access T.A.Blakelock H.S., visit the Oakville Transit​ website for public transit routes.​

Is there a French Immersion I-STEM option?

No. The I-STEM program is an optional program that will be offered in English.  French Immersion is also an optional program. For secondary school French Immersion program locations, visit the Find My Local School webpage on the HDSB website ( www.hdsb.ca).

Is there consideration for making this a STEAM program?

No. This does not mean that the Arts are not valued or that options for Arts courses are limited for students in I-STEM. All students in I-STEM will take an Arts elective in Grade 9. In subsequent years, students will have flexibility within their course options to select Arts courses in their program of study.​

For students entering Grade 9 that live in the Aldershot HS, Elsie MacGill SS or T.A. Blakelock catchment area, what are their program options?

Students will continue to be offered the regular programs available in each secondary school. Students entering Grade 9 are also able to apply for the I-STEM program.​

Still have more questions? Email: ISTEM-burlington@hdsb.ca (Aldershot HS), ISTEM-milton@hdsb.ca (Elsie MacGill SS) or ISTEM-oakville@hdsb.ca (T.A. Blakelock HS)

Year 2 - Grade 10

Year 1 - Grade 9