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Specialist High Skills Major @HCSS

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Students holding Specialist High Skills Majors Diploma ​​​Customize your education with SHSM

Through the Ministry of Education's "Student Success" Initiative, Ontario secondary schools offer expanded programs to help meet students' individual learning styles and interests. Programs like SHSM allow students to customize their high school experience through a variety of enhanced learning options. SHSM helps meet the needs, interests and strengths of all students, engaging them in learning and better preparing them for graduation and beyond.

(Photo left: Holy Cross SHSM Information and Communications Technology graduates proudly display their special Red Seal diplomas.)

What is SHSM?

SHSM Red Seal Diploma Sample

Specialist High Skills Majors let students focus on a career path that matches their skills and interests while meeting the requirements of the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD). At their graduation, students receive a special embossed SHSM Red Seal on their diploma upon completion of SHSM requirements:

  • Complete a specific bundle of 8-10 courses in the student's selected field
  • Earn 6 valuable industry certifications including First Aid and CPR qualifications
  • Gain important skills on the job through cooperative education placements

(Photo right: A sample SHSM Red Seal diploma.)

Enviro group with canoes.jpgWho is SHSM for?

Grade 11 and 12 students who:

  • Plan to pursue apprenticeship training, college, university or the workplace destinations.

  • Want to identify, explore and refine their career goals and make informed choices about their next steps after secondary school.
(Photo left: Holy Cross Environment SHSM students participate on a multiple day canoe camping trip in Algonquin Park.)

A Com Tech SHSM student operates a professional television camera.jpgBenefits of SHSM!

Students have the opportunity to:

  • Customize their secondary school education to suit their interests and talents
  • Develop specialized knowledge and skills
  • Earn credits that postsecondary educational institutions and the sector recognize
  • Gain sector-recognized certification and career-relevant training
  • Identify, explore and refine career goals and make informed decisions about their future
  • Remain flexible, with the option to shift between pathways, should their goals and plans change
(Photo right: An HC Information and Communications Technology SHSM
student receives training to operate a professional television camera.)

SHSM Environment students learn map reading skills.jpgFive SHSM components

  1. Bundle of credits
    A defined bundle of credits consisting of eight to ten Grade 11 and Grade 12 credits, including cooperative education credits
  2. Certification and training experiences
    Sector-recognized certifications and/or training courses
  3. Experiential learning and career exploration activities
    Experiential learning and career exploration activities within the sector
  4. Reach ahead experiences
    Learning experiences connected with the student's postsecondary plans
  5. Sector-partnered experiences
    Experiences in which students engage with a sector partner to explore sector-related content, skills, and knowledge involving either ICE (innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship), coding, or mathematical literacy
(Photo above: HC Environment SHSM students receive certification in map reading and orienteering.)​

Holy Cross SHSM Technological Education program information 

Holy Cross SHSM Info and Comm Tech logo.jpg

Click on the text link below for specific information on the Holy Cross

Information and Communications Technology SHSM program​


SHSM logoAdditional SHSM information

Ministry of Education SHSM page