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Durham District School Board
Ignite Learning
Specialist High Skills Major
Student Success is about meeting the individual learning needs of each and every student. Schools are providing students with more opportunities to customize their high school experience and build on their strengths and interests through a variety of new and enhanced learning options.

Video: Skills Ontario Secondary Competition – featuring DDSB students, May 2017

A competition that offers a unique opportunity for top students to demonstrate that they are the best of the best in their field. Over the two and a half days, they turn the heads of their educators, family, friends and prospective employers.

Winners are awarded with Gold, Silver or Bronze medals - and some with monetary awards, too - and the opportunity to compete at the Skills Canada National Competition. From there, competitors could be headed to a WorldSkills Competition.

​An Specialist 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 to graduate from secondary school. It also assists in their transition after graduation to apprenticeship training, college, university or the workplace.

The Durham District School Board is proud to announce the expansion of our Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) program from 35 in 2010-11 to 54 programs in 2011-12 to 60 programs in the 2012-13 school year. Schools and students have embraced the sector specific certification and training that comes within the SHSM bundle of credits. Reach ahead experiences at the Apprenticeship, College, University and Workplace level have been a valuable asset for students to make informed decisions about their future pathways.
SHSM programs running in September consist of:
  • Agriculture
  • Arts and Culture
  • Business
  • Construction
  • Energy
  • Environment
  • Health and Wellness
  • Horticulture and Landscaping
  • Hospitality and Tourism, Information and Communications Technology
  • Sports
  • Transportation
With this expansion of SHSM programming students will have the opportunity to explore college through dual credits, linked to their specific SHSM. Dual credits in the areas of Business (Marketing 1), Health and Wellness (Psychology and Psychology of Sport) Hospitality and Tourism (Introduction to Culinary Essentials) and Environmental (Environmental Leadership) are in partnership with Fleming, Durham and Centennial College.
Contact Us
SHSM programs are available in all school boards across the province. For more information about what is available, please contact your school principal or the Student Success Leader at your school board.
More detailed information about SHSMs and how they work can be found at
Ministry of Education:  SHSM Policy and Implementation


Durham District School Board
400 Taunton Road East,
Whitby, ON
L1R 2K6 Canada

Phone: 905-666-5500
Fax: 905-666-6474
Toll Free: 1-800-265-3968
TTY 905-666-6943, 877-868-5575
© Durham District School Board, 2013