Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM)

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A Specialized High Skills Major (SHSM) is a Ministry-approved specialized program that allows students to focus their learning on a specific economic sector while meeting the requirements of the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD). A Specialist High Skills Major program enables students to gain sector-specific skills and knowledge in the context of engaging, career-related learning environments and helps them focus on graduation and on pursuing their postsecondary goals.

St. Mary SHSM Programs

We offer the following SHSM programs at St. Mary Catholic Secondary School:

Arts and Culture Business Non-Profit Transportation
 ACSHSM logo BSHSM logo  NPSHSM logo  TSHSM logo 
Lead Teacher: Ms. McDavid Lead Teacher: Mr. Pisani

Lead Teacher: Mr. Stanesic & Chaplain: Mr. Valookaran

Lead Teachers: Mr. Sorbilli & Mr. Gangl

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What is required for a SHSM?

Every SHSM must include the following five components, which are outlined in detail in individual guides for each sector:

1. a bundle of 8 - 10 Grade 11 and Grade 12 credits that includes:

  • 4 major credits that provide sector-specific knowledge and skills
  • 2 - 4 other required credits from the Ontario curriculum, in which some expectations are met through learning activities contextualized to the sector
  • cooperative education credits that provide authentic learning experiences in a workplace setting, enabling students to refine, extend, and practise sector-specific knowledge and skills

2. sector-recognized certifications and/or training courses

3. experiential learning and career exploration activities within the sector

4. reach ahead" experiences connected with the student's chosen post-secondary pathway

5. development of essential skills and work habits required in the sector and the use of the Ontario Skills Passport (OSP) for purposes of documentation


Advantages of a SHSM

Pursuing a SHSM enables students to:
  • discover the relationship between school and careers
  • customize their secondary school education to suit specific interests and talents
  • hear and see first hand what a career in the sector feels and looks like
  • develop specialized knowledge and skills that are valued by the sector and postsecondary educational institutions
  • earn credits that are recognized by the sector and postsecondary educational institutions
  • gain sector-specific, industry-recognized and career-relevant certifications and training
  • develop Essential Skills and work habits that are valued by the sector and recorded using the tools in the Ontario Skills Passport (OSP)
  • identify, explore and refine career goals and make informed decisions about their postsecondary destination
  • remain flexible, with the option to shift between pathways, should their goals and plans change
  • gain confidence their ability to succeed
  • network with post-secondary institutions, local industries and businesses
  • open doors for summer jobs and future employment opportunities

How is a SHSM Recognized?

Students who successfully complete a SHSM receive:
  • an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) with an embossed red seal indicating "Specialist High Skills Major"
  • a SHSM Record documenting his/her achievement
  • formal recognition on his/her Ontario Student Transcript

For more information

  • Ministry of Education: SHSM (Fact Sheet)

If you are interested in participating in the Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) program, pick up an application form available in the Guidance office or from the respective Lead SHSM Teacher. 

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