ML Muster: I have something exciting to share!

ML Muster: I have something exciting to share!

By Chad Walsh / January 12, 2024 / Middle Loop Muster

Let's go 2024!

Happy New Year! Hoping you all had a restful and enjoyable December holiday. Holidays are a time for reflection and celebration of what we have achieved and a time for us to set our sights on the goals we aspire to in the future. 

Celebrating 30 Universities Offers!
Congratulations to our Class of 2024! Over the winter break, 30 universities have extended offers to our learners.
At this exciting juncture in VERSO's history, we are thrilled to share the fruits of our labor with universities eagerly seeking students who are curious to explore, inspired to connect, driven to contribute, and equipped to transition. Many of our learners have applied for art and design, music, psychology, marine biology, and business. We could not be more proud of our seniors, as they choose to pursue higher education or a higher calling as change makers.

These are just some of the initial offers received as of 9 January 2024. Stay tuned for more updates as our learners continue to receive offers, leading up to their final decisions in May 2024.

Keep an eye for our HoS Highlights newsletter next week where Ryan Persaud will share more details! 

Universities Offer

We are excited to share a highlight from our recent professional learning activities held during 11-12 December 2023. Colleen Ackford, a renowned expert in literacy education, facilitated school-wide professional learning sessions that delved into the scientific underpinnings of literacy. These sessions were focused on understanding how word recognition and language comprehension are crucial components in constructing robust literacy programs. Colleen also led demonstration lessons where the Learning Designers were the students and observed the literacy strategies Colleen implemented in the live demo lessons.

Colleen's session illuminated how literacy is not just a simple skill, but a complex interplay of various cognitive processes. She emphasized that word recognition and language comprehension are two necessary pillars of reading proficiency. Word recognition involves the ability to decode written words into their spoken forms, a skill that is foundational for fluent reading. Language comprehension, on the other hand, refers to the ability to understand spoken and written language, which involves vocabulary, background knowledge, and inferential skills.

During the session, Colleen presented compelling research underscoring why a balanced approach to literacy is essential. She highlighted that while word recognition is a skill that can be taught relatively systematically, language comprehension requires a broad and rich curriculum that exposes students to a variety of texts and ideas. Colleen's insights were particularly valuable for our context as an international school, where students often navigate multiple languages and diverse cultural texts.

Colleen's workshop also included practical strategies for educators. She shared effective techniques for teaching phonics and phonemic awareness, crucial for word recognition skills. Additionally, she offered ideas for enhancing language comprehension, such as using complex texts, promoting critical thinking, and encouraging connections with students' prior knowledge and experiences.

This professional learning session aligns with VERSO's commitment to evidence-based teaching practices and our dedication to fostering strong, inclusive, and dynamic literacy programs. We believe that understanding the science behind reading will empower our educators to better support our diverse student population in developing their literacy skills.

As we continue to evolve our literacy curriculum, we are grateful for the insights and expertise shared by Colleen Ackford. This session has not only enriched our Learning Designers' professional knowledge but also reinforced our commitment to providing a holistic and comprehensive education to every student at VERSO. Colleen will also visit us again later in the year to continue our professional learning journey.

Below are photos of our Professional Learning Day and  information on Word Recognition and Language Comprehension in Scarborough's Reading Rope Model.

The below 2 areas are key features that we consider when explicitly teaching literacy or integrating it within a project. It is simply best practice.

Below captures Colleen leading a literacy lesson as part of the C7-8 Learning Lab project. This demo lesson provided LDs with a demonstration and model lesson on how to integrate literacy within a project. These professional learning opportunities provide a solid base to validate what we do and consider ways to further enhance our practice and approach.

Through the Window I Passion for Music

Atom is constantly playing, making, or listening to music. It is a very clear and obvious passion for him. We saw him practicing for the WinterFest and just had to take a quick photo to capture the joy music brings to Atom. What a shot!

Sarah, one of our Lower Loop LDs has been working with a group of students to raise the performing arts profile at VERSO. Performing arts is a powerful way to promote and develop speaking, listening, viewing, presenting, reading, and writing skills. It develops confidence and shows how to work together in a team. We are very proud of this group!

Screenshot 2566-12-11 at 13.10.26

Thank you for joining us for the Middle Loop ShowTime for the Explore (process) projects on Friday 8 December 2023. We hope it provided parents and guests an opportunity to see, hear, and learn where each learner is in their Explore process. 

 What stood out to me (and I hope to many of you) was the way learners presented their ideas and processes to the parents, as seen below in the photo. Learners were articulate, spontaneous, and naturally confident in sharing and connecting with the audience. Public speaking has been a focal point for us and we are very proud of the progress we have made in building confidence to share and connect in front of a live audience.

We have such a vibrant and caring community and it is made possible because of the wonderful parents supporting events and experiences such as these.

It's not every day you learn from a Professor with a Ph.D! Last month, Khun Aracha from Kasetsart University gave the C5-6 learners a presentation on the relationship between time, art, and culture and then was able to lead them in a historical art activity. The teachings and techniques learned were invaluable as our learners prepared for our final historical art creations at the end of our current Learning Lab.

 We hope to have Khun Aracha back for our Learning Lab Showtime next week on 16 January 2024!

Starting Monday 15 Jan 2024, pH7 will be a Device-Free Zone from 2:45pm to 4:00pm

We believe this time should be a time to develop and promote face-to-face social interactions, read a book, and play board games. Learners have ample opportunities to be on their devices; therefore, this time should be focused on developing relationships with one another.

We have either an LD or LA on duty from 2:45pm to 4:00pm who will monitor and reinforce that this space is now device-free. Over the next days and weeks, we will arrange social games to promote healthy interactions. It would be wonderful for our parents who share this space during this time to also model to learners that pH7 is a space to enjoy without technology use. Thank you for your support as we make the positive transition to a device-free zone after school.


Get ready to witness the triumph of athleticism and team camaraderie as VERSO proudly presents the Middle Loop VERSO Olympics.


Date: Thursday, January 18 2024

Time: 9:00am - 11:30am

Location: VERSO Track


This exciting event is not just a showcase of physical prowess but a celebration of our students' dedication and resilience in well-being. The VERSO Olympics, is a "show time" from our Well-Being Lab, it will highlight the incredible progress made in our new skills of shot put, long jump, javelin, discus, and track events.

Join us as the four houses compete for glory, each showcasing their unique strengths and skills. It promises to be a morning filled with energy, enthusiasm, and a sense of community pride. As our students vie for victory, they will also demonstrate the importance of holistic well-being and the positive impact it has on both academic and personal growth.

We encourage parents to attend and cheer for our athletes, fostering a supportive environment that will undoubtedly leave lasting memories for both participants and spectators alike.



In Well-Being for Quarter 3, the Middle Loop will be focusing on water confidence with our specially crafted program designed to empower individuals to embrace aquatic environments with skill and assurance. In our Water Confidence Unit, learners will have fun, collaborate, and learn to be at ease in the water.

This lab is not your traditional swimming lessons, it is focusing on building a strong foundation of water confidence through a series of engaging activities and skill-based exercises; with the aim of the learners being comfortable and confident in and around water.

Why is water confidence important? In addition to the obvious safety benefits, mastering water confidence opens up a gateway to a lifetime of aquatic enjoyment and physical well-being. Participants not only learn to navigate water with ease but also gain essential life skills such as resilience, focus, and discipline.

Learners will need to bring a swimsuit and towel starting from 22 January 2024. Learners who are not able to swim for any reason will still be required to attend the lesson and watch from the sideline. It is important that they are still involved and can see and learn from the side of the pool.

ASHLEY DURDLE I Farewell and Thank You

Ashley has been offered an exciting job opportunity as Head of School in Canada which starts in February 2024. We want to thank Ashley for her contributions over the past three and a half years in building our ML program. Ashley was responsible for teaching Math Lab 8 and C7-8 Learning Lab. Dan will now teach Math Lab 8 and Dex will co-teach with Dan for the C7-8 learning lab. We are currently seeking a dynamic and suitable candidate to fill this role. The ML team is excited for Q3 and ready to continue the high-quality learning experiences. 


Our signature event, VERSO HACK 2024 takes place 3-4 February 2024, with a half day Pre-HACK Day on 27 January 2024.

Please visit or

and check out all the updates including a list of instructors for workshops, mentors, and judges. There is also a parent session on 27 Jan.

A handful of VERSO HACK tickets are left for sale. If your child is interested, please visit for what is set to be an exciting season 4 of VERSO HACK 2024!

Our LDs are busy concluding assessments and crafting VERSO 360 progress reports. These will be going out to families on Friday, 2 Feb.

Hope you enjoyed the ML Muster!

Best regards,

Middle Loop Team

Save The Dates

  • 16 January: C5-6 Learning Lab ShowTime (8:30am-9:30am)
  • 17 January: Head of School Coffee Morning (8:00am-9:00am)
  • 17 January: Middle Loop Photo Day
  • 18 January: All School Photo Day
  • 22 January: Q3 starts
  • 27 January: Pre-HACK Day
  • 31 January: Coffee Morning: "Elevate, Innovate, Educate: Unveiling the Evolution of Our High School Academic Program for 2024-2025" by Greg and J (8:00am-9:00am)
  • 2 February: Q2 VERSO 360 go out to families
  • 3-4 February: VERSO HACK Days; Final round on 4 Feb,1:30pm is open to public to attend. Please register for your tickets at
  • 5 February: Special School Holiday for Hackathon
  • 9 February: VERSO Lunar New Year Celebrations