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SHSM (Specialist High Skills Majors) 412
SHSM (Specialist High Skills Majors)

APPLY TO SHSM by filling this form (copy and paste the entire link into your URL):

Our students tell about their SHSM experiences - Watch this Video

The Joy of Painting in "Petrikivka Style"

Many students from Ukraine continue to choose Thornlea SS for high-quality education in a safe and welcoming environment. All our Ukrainian students have joined the SHSM program to gain
knowledge and experiences that can effectively inform their choices and help them plan for the future. They participate in many SHSM Arts and Culture workshops to learn new artistic techniques and skills. They especially enjoy this Petrikivka Painting project that relates to their cultural heritage and identity. These types of appreciations and community recognitions can go a long way toward building bonds with Canadian friends and adjusting to the new culture.
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For Our Plays in 2023: "Anne of Green Gables" and "An Absolute True Story as Told by a Bunch of Liars"
Purchases (fabric, sewing machines, paint) for our Thornlea Drama productions have been funded the SHSM program.  Let's see what happened behind the Scenes:
                                            Costume Designs, Set Designs, Lights and Sounds and more...
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You Are Invited: Immerse Yourselves in this SHSM Sponsored Event!
Dear Students and Parents and Guardians,

On Tuesday, May 9th, from 5:30-9:00 pm our Arts, Music and Drama Department will be proudly presenting our Immersive Arts Coffee House/ Talent Show showcasing amazing talents of our Thornlea's students.
The Talent Show will be featuring Vocal, Band and Poetry performances, Repertoire Ensemble performance, and the Immersive Arts and Animation displays of students' artworks with LIVE instrumental music and vocals.
We will be also selling students' artworks and commissioned portrait paintings.
Special Thanks to Mr. R.Wineberg and the SHSM team for making this Community Event possible. We were able to purchase Tech Equipment, Projectors, Lights and Sound equipment, Cameras Camera,Tripods and more, and provide SHSM certifications for our students!
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Exploring Hindu Symbols
We organize field trips to religious institutions and temples, to educate our students about different cultures, spiritual and 
religious values and symbols. Their learning experiences are infused with diversity, equity & inclusion education, and this has been translated into beautiful cultural heritage giant murals that are great examples of visual storytelling combined with DEI education.  Our trip to Shri Swaminarayan provided SHSM students with experiential learning opportunites outside the classroom in a culturally immersive environment.

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 Islamic Heritage Resources for Professional Learning:

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Curriculum Units, Relevant to Cultural Contexts

These resources develop students’ understanding of the
Aga Khan Curricular Strands
 – Ethics, Pluralism, Cultures (with an emphasis on Muslim civilizations),
Governance and Civil Society, and Economics for Development.

Islamic Heritage Resource Guidebook for Educators

Aga Khan Foundation Resources

Aga Khan Museum
  Celebrating Black History and Heritage at Thornlea

Portrait Paintings "Blessed Be the Woman, Blessed Be the Child" - SHSM Arts and Culture Sector

Connecting SHSM students with Discovering Thousands of Artworks, Artifacts, and Stories

Black History Literacy Lessons


Black History OSSLT Literacy Resources

Literacy Lessons with a focus on Canadian Black History. These lessons will allow teachers to incorporate Canadian Black History in their subject area while preparing students for the literacy test. It is a teacher-friendly resource for teachers in all disciplines to use in their classrooms and earn SHSM Experiential Learning Certifications.

28 Canadian Black History Facts You Never Knew

And while we may only make up about 2% of the population, what we lack in numbers, we make up in our diverse cultures and triumphant accomplishments.  

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 Learning about Indigineous Cultural Values.  Thornlea SHSM Students immerse themselves in learning about the diversity of Canada through ART and Technology.

 Our ACAM students blend their curriculum learning with social values and community member participation. Thornlea's SHSM & ACAM program hosts guest speakers who present real-world knowledge so that our students are ready for a changing world community.


Indigenous Literacy Resources for Professional Learning:

abe Art  Video

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 SHSM: Specialist High Skills Major Programs at Thornlea

The Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) is a Ministry-approved program that lets students develop the skills and professional knowledge required in various industries while earning their high school diploma.

Students take a bundle of 7-9 courses, including 2 CO-OP credits in a related job field, during their grade 11 and grade 12 years.  Students can gain experience through course work and special reach-ahead opportunities and are able to customize their high school experience to focus on an academic and career path that interests them.


The courses associated with these programs cover the skills and knowledge that are required to succeed in the workplace and in post-secondary environments which lead to careers in these three sectors.

How to get started in Grade 11:

​When choosing your courses for Grade 11 on My Pathway Planner​, check off the SHSM box.  This will indicate your intent to join the program.  Also, choose the right mix of courses based on the charts above.  Remember that you have to take 2 major credits at the Grade 11 level and 2 major credits at the Grade 12 level.  You also have to take Coop in either Grade 11 or Grade 12.

Who to Contact:
For general questions about SHSM or for specific questions about your sector or progress, please see your Guidance counselor or visit the school's Guidance Department. 

SHSM Teachers:
  • ms (SHSM Business Sector)
  • rn (SHSM Arts and Culture Sector)
  • Ms. Jacqueline Ross (SHSM Health and Wellness Sector)
​Note:  Because Thornlea's SHSM Program provides students with multiple subjects requisites and options from across the curriculum (including English, Math, Business, and Art), many of our teachers are involved in this program.


Students who complete the program are awarded a special Ontario Secondary School Diploma, with a red seal, that shows they have successfully completed an approved Specialist High Skills Major program. Colleges and universities are acknowledging the extra work and understanding that comes with these programs and are now awarding scholarships in some cases.

Students also receive a record of their achievements, including certificates affirming their completion of training courses.  This can be used by the student, when seeking employment, as a record of skills and knowledge beyond the high school program.

Benefits of SHSM
  • builds both a student's theoretical and practical experience to give him or her an advantage heading into some of the most competitive and lucrative job sectors and post-secondary destinations
  • shows the student which careers are available in a specific sector, and teachers the student what he or she needs to do to be successful in that sector
  • allows the student to become aware of and/or experience post-secondary and apprenticeship opportunities
  • helps the student see concrete connections between school and work
  • helps the student get a head-start on summer job opportunities and future employment
  • helps the student make useful real-world contacts
  • allows the student to earn a specialized degree--a Red Seal Diploma--in recognition of his or her participation in specialized career-focused programming

Who can enter the SHSM Program?

The program is for all high school students who want to focus their studies in the Media, Art, Health & Wellness, Business, or Transportation sectors.  Whether your pathway leads to university, college, or directly to the workplace, the program is arranged so that you will get the educational and practical experience required to set you on your way.  You will get to try out many of the careers associated with these job sectors while in class and during special field trips. The overall experience will help you to make the right choices for your post-secondary pathway.

Certificates by Program:

Arts and Culture (Choose 6):
​Mandatory Optional​
Standard First Aid

​Stage Combat
Portfolio Development
Customer Service
Lighting and Sound Equipment
Recording Equipment
Training in Art Technique

Business (Choose 6):​
​​Mandatory ​Optional
Standard First Aid
Customer Service
Counterfeit Detection
Health & Wellness (Choose 6):
​Mandatory ​Optional
Standard First Aid
Infection Control
​​Conflict Resolution
Personality Inventory
Automated External Defibrillation (AED)
Customer Service
First Aid and CPR Training (Mandatory Training)

"Did you know" fact: In the chain of survival, early CPR and the use of an automatic external defibrillator can increase the chance of surviving a sudden cardiac arrest up to 75 percent.

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    Our Co-Op and SHSM students received training in First Aid, Cardiopulmonary
Resuscitation (CPR) and learned how easy it can be to save a life by using an Automated External Defibrillator (AED). They were taught by certified instructors. All students are now certified at the Canadian Red Cross Standard First Aid and CPR.
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Speed Painting Workshop with Mme Bern
Advanced Training in Art Technique: SHSM Arts and Culture students from Thornlea SS and Westmount CI participated in this workshop to learn painting techniques.

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SHSM Learning and Leadership Opportunities - Experiential Learning

"Turning Your Passion Into Purpose"

Here is how we are helping to address Socio-Economic Challenges in our Community...

Our SHSM students create a Clothing Line and promote their Fashion Brands online. 

Please see below their "Flowers" Design projects, inspired by Boho and Coachella designs.

Our dresses are giving you stylish, on-trend looks at very affordable pricing.

Monies raised will be used to supporour community’s most vulnerable including children, those living with a mental illness, victims of violence, and the homeless.​​​

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