Specialist High Skills Major

What is a SHSM?

The Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) is a specialized program approved by the Ministry of Education that allows students to focus their learning on a specific economic sector while meeting the requirements of the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD).

These programs enable students to gain sector-specific skills and knowledge in engaging, career-related learning environments, and prepare in a focused way for graduation and postsecondary education, training or employment.


Together, these requirements provide the curriculum-based and experiential learning experiences for making a successful transition to a student’s chosen pathway.

• Bundle of Gr. 11 & 12 Courses

• Certifications

• Reach Ahead Opportunities

• Cooperative Education

• Sector Specific Partnered Experiences in Math, Coding or ICE (Innovation, Creativity & Entrepreneurship)

Benefits for SHSM Students

• Pursuing a SHSM enables students to:

• Customize their secondary school education to suit their interests and talents

• Develop specialized knowledge and skills that are valued by the sector and postsecondary education institutions

• Earn credits that are recognized by the sector and postsecondary education institutions

• Acquire sector-specific and career-relevant certification and training

• Gain confidence in their knowledge of the SHSM Sector

• Identify, explore and refine their career goals and make informed decisions about their postsecondary destination

• Remain flexible, with the option to shift between pathways

All students who complete a SHSM will graduate with a Red seal on their OSSD (Ontario Secondary School Diploma)

SHSM @ York Memorial

At York Memorial we offer two SHSM programs; Arts & Culture and Health & Wellness. Our program began during the 2016-17 school year and in less than FIVE years, grown to include close to 150 students!

One of the best parts of being a York Memorial SHSM student is the numerous opportunities to go on field trips and participate in events being held in the school. A few examples of these events over the last year have been;

  • Make-up & cosmetology certification @ The Sony Centre

  • Infection control @ Toronto General Hospital

  • Video game coding & Problem solving @ Microsoft

  • Various dance workshops

  • Workshops on; Portfolio development, leadership, communication, conflict resolution, group dynamics, ethical considerations, fundraising & proposal writing, and project management

  • CPR/First Aid Training

  • SHSM Student Breakfast

SHSM during remote learning:

A global pandemic will change the ways that our SHSM students complete their workshops and certifications but it will NOT limit these opportunities!!!!

With things moving online for the 2020-21 school year, there have already been dozens of amazing virtual opportunities for SHSM students and there are lots still to come! These workshops and certifications are all free for both our hybrid and virtual school students. Some examples of things going on right now are;

  • UofT Enactus is offering an Entrepreneurial Conference

  • UofT Black Medical Student Association (BMSA) "Thriving in University" Workshop

  • Music in Care - Music Therapy Workshop hosted by TSO

  • Cancer 360 - Princess Margaret Hospital

  • InspireHer 2020: Virtual Panel & Experiential Learning Workshop with a Silicon Valley-based Tech Company