SHSM Policy and Implementation Guide - Planning
Specialist High Skills Majors

SHSM Policy and Implementation Guide - Planning


The best way for a school to ensure the quality of its SHSM program is through careful planning. Members of the school SHSM team must be familiar with the five program components and the requirements related to each sector so they can make informed decisions. The following section outlines the actions that school teams need to take when planning SHSMs.

B2.1 Selecting Which SHSM to Offer
B2.2 Choosing a Delivery Model
B2.3 Developing a School SHSM Action Plan
B2.4 Establishing a Registration Process

B2.1 Selecting Which SHSM to Offer

When considering which SHSMs to offer, school boards and schools need to determine how to build
the capacity to provide a range of opportunities for students. Existing pathways programs may provide
many of the components that students will need in an SHSM. Review of the local labour market also provides
critical information when identifying a potential SHSM sector. Other factors to consider include:

  • the degree of student interest
  • the level of support at the board and the school
  • the capacity within the economic sector and the community

What key criteria should be addressed?

In exploring SHSM program options, the strategic plan should take into consideration:

  • available resources and facilities at the school and community levels
  • community support
  • current employment trends in the related sector in the region
  • existing pathway programs with potential to expand to all four pathways
  • labour market data
  • opportunities for Aboriginal students
  • opportunities for English language learners
  • opportunities for reach ahead experiences
  • opportunities for sector-specific cooperative education placements
  • opportunities for sector-specific experiential learning and career exploration
  • opportunities for students to complete required certifications and training programs
  • opportunities for students with special needs
  • partnerships with sector business/industry/community
  • partnerships with college, university, and apprenticeship training centres
  • partnerships with other schools and boards
  • student enrolment/interest
  • support by administration
  • teacher expertise and willingness to champion the SHSM
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FIND IT!

Selecting an SHSM will require a thorough understanding of both the general and sector-specific requirements of SHSM programs. Section A: Policy describes the course components and credit requirements common to all SHSM programs. Section A3: Sectors provides detailed information specific to each SHSM program.

B2.2 Choosing a Delivery Model

Once they have decided which SHSMs they will offer, school boards and schools need to consider a variety of delivery models and the resources required to support them.

What resources should be considered?

The availability of the following resources needs to be considered when selecting a delivery model for an SHSM:

  • staff professional development and mentorship opportunities with business and industry, including support staff and supply teachers
  • funding available for student transportation
  • teachers’ certifications as trainers and assessors of sector-recognized certifications and training courses identified in Section A3: Sectors
  • students’ certification and training
  • supplies of consumables for the program
  • hardware and software to meet program needs
  • capital equipment and facilities
  • existence of sustainable partnerships
  • curriculum resources (e.g., CLAs)

What forms of delivery should be considered?

The following table highlights key considerations, advantages, and disadvantages of three
common SHSM delivery models.

Models Considerations Advantages Disadvantages
SHSM offered at one school only to students in that school
  • Teachers who champion the SHSM and provide sector expertise are critical to successful implementation
  • Is easier to deliver, as all components are delivered at one site
  • Challenges may arise if student interest is limited
 
  • Appropriate facilities are required
  • Arrangements must be in place for sufficient and appropriate experiential learning and career exploration placements
  • Partnerships should be in place with postsecondary institutions and local sector partners
   
SHSM offered at one school to students from many schools
The school offering the SHSM is the host school and delivers the major credits. The school sending students is the home school.
  • Planning, cooperation, and communication are required between schools so that all components are delivered and tracked
  • The home school principal must ensure completion of all components not done at the home school (e.g., CLAs, cooperative education, certifications)
  • Is appropriate when student enrolment is insufficient to sustain an SHSM at a school
  • Broadens program choices in many schools
  • Allows boards to implement program choices strategically
  • Enables cross-board participation, thereby expanding students’ choices
  • Broadens cooperative education placements, as they are offered within several communities
  • Generates transportation issues that need to be resolved
  • Affects enrolment in students’ home schools
  • Requires that the host school consider staffing and facilities
  • Requires that the home school offer components not delivered in the host school
  • Requires coordination between the schools to track completion of components and generation of SHSM Records. SHSM “identity” is not as strong in the home school as in the host school
SHSMs delivered in part at learning sites other than a secondary school
(e.g., SHSMs involving dual credits or for which some or all of the requirements are delivered on-site – for instance, on a house build)
  • Partnerships within the community are critical
  • May provide reach ahead experiences for students
  • Is available for students from several boards in the region
  • May offer facilities and equipment that are not available in schools
  • May provide opportunities for team teaching
  • Generates transportation issues

B2.3 Developing a School Action Plan

The SHSM Action Plan is a continually evolving document that drives the implementation and success of the SHSM. Prior to completing the action plan, the school SHSM team needs to consider strengths that can be built upon and gaps that must be addressed when offering the program. This information becomes the basis of the action plan, which includes planning for implementation (e.g., strategies, activities, responsibilities, schedules, and budgets) as well as for measuring the success of the SHSM program.

Once the school SHSM advisory team has completed the SHSM Action Plan, it should be updated and reviewed by the team to assess the progress of the program. This review process should occur a minimum of twice yearly, at mid-year (February) and at the end of the year (June). The school principal may use the checklist for principals to complete his or her own review of the activities and tasks to consider for implementation.

TOOLS AND RESOURCES

See Part B of Section C: Resources for:

  • a sample school SHSM action plan
  • an implementation checklist for school principals
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B2.4 Establishing a Registration Process

The SHSM program is a pathways program for Grade 11 and 12 students. All students within a board or school are eligible for an SHSM program. Boards and schools may consider developing a registration process in which acceptance is based on the student’s career goals and on how well the program aligns with the student’s interests and postsecondary plans.

The student selection process needs to take the following factors into account:

  • student readiness based on:
    • the student’s awareness and interest in the SHSM
    • the student’s career and postsecondary goals
    • the parents’ awareness and approval of the SHSM
    • recommendations from the student’s teachers and guidance counsellors
    • the student’s résumé, application letter, and interview
  • the capacity of existing facilities to offer the SHSM
  • the extent to which enrolment reflects a balanced representation of:
    • programs offered for all four pathways
    • male and female students
    • participants from each school, if the program is offered across a region
    • participants from each board, if the program is coterminous

Many students, whose postsecondary goals and interests are compatible with the SHSM, register for the SHSM when they enter Grade 11. This allows them to meet all the requirements of the SHSM within two years. However, some students who already have acquired recognized credits, certifications, training, and learning experiences that count toward the required components of an SHSM may register for the SHSM in Grade 12 and fulfil the requirements of the SHSM program within one year.

It is important that the school recognize all components completed by students prior to officially registering for the SHSM program, including those completed in Grades 9 and 10. The same requirements apply to all students; therefore, students who register for the SHSM program in Grade 12 may be required to complete certain Grade 11 SHSM components such as contextualized learning activities in French and mathematics.

 

POLICY

A student may complete some of the components of an SHSM before enrolling in or starting the SHSM. However, these components (e.g., a certification) would not be recorded until the student enters the SHSM in his or her senior years and must not expire before the student graduates. Grade 9 and 10 students should be made aware of the SHSM to ensure appropriate course selection in Grades 11 and 12. Section B3.4 provides more information about building awareness of the SHSM.

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